By Anna Skinner
After much debate, the Zionsville Plan Commission on Sept. 21 unanimously approved development plans for the Fresh Fare by Kroger grocery store to be built on the southwest corner of Michigan Road and Sycamore Street.
Nick Churchill of Pittman Partners presented plans for the store, but commissioners expressed concern that the development had strayed from the original plan for the area, known as The Farm.
“When The Farm was brought to us back in 2013, it was described as a gateway project for the town of Zionsville,” commissioner Larry Jones said. “But when you start to compare this to the conceptual site plan provided in 2013, this has just moved to being a conventional suburban strip center.”
Jones said the original plan included buildings close to the street with lots of activity in front of them and a promenade in the front of the property. He said that none of this showed up in the new plan.
Commissioners also hesitated to approve the development plan because other than the 61,000-square-foot Fresh Fare, no other tenants have agreed to be part of the project. Churchill countered that many tenants were waiting to see if the grocery store was approved before jumping onboard.
“The grocery is a positive traffic generator that helps retail tenants. It’s a huge amenity for the community and residential areas,” Churchill said. “The grocery is a catalyst that gets the whole project going.”
Churchill assured the commission that he and his team were working on interconnectivity, pathways and greenways to help create a successful project. He also encouraged the commission to continue to hold him and his team to high standards.
The cost of construction for Fresh Fare is approximately $20 million, with the store expected to open in about two years.