Spalding aims to fill area’s grocery need

Spalding University buildings are visible through this view of the former Kroger at 924 S. Second St. in downtown Louisville. Spalding is purchasing the property and aims to bring in a new grocer. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

Spalding University buildings are visible through this view of the former Kroger at 924 S. Second St. in downtown Louisville. Spalding is purchasing the property and aims to bring in a new grocer. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

Record Staff Report

Spalding University in downtown Louisville announced last week that it will purchase the former Kroger property at 924 S. Second St. with the aim of bringing a grocery back to the area.

The closure of the Second Street Kroger early this year left residents of Old Louisville and nearby areas of downtown without a convenient corporate-size grocery store.

University leaders said in a press release May 24 that the school’s mission seeks to meet “the needs of the times” and, for that reason, the school will look for a grocer to fill the space.

“Our mission statement is embedded in service and includes ‘meeting the needs of the times’ which is a ‘close second’ to our core of educating students and preparing them for leadership and service,” university President Tori Murden McClure said in the release. “Therefore, we will first seek to play a role in filling the void created by the departure of Kroger before embarking on potential future plans.”

The release adds, “No immediate plans exist should the Trustees find themselves unable to secure a grocery option for the expanded food desert created by Kroger’s departure.”

Spalding plans to close on the property this month, paying $1,075,000.

The purchase is the latest in Spalding’s ongoing expansion. The school purchased property near 9th and Kentucky Streets more than two years ago for about $1 million to create fields for baseball, soccer and lacrosse teams.

In 2015, Spalding opened its Republic Bank Academic Center, 981 S. Third Street, expanding the southeast border of the campus from Third and Breckinridge streets to Third and Kentucky streets.

The school, which is in the midst of a $30 million fundraising campaign, also has plans to create more green space around its campus.

The latest purchase is a “dramatic statement as we look to the future of this community and our role within it” said Rush Sherman, Spalding chief financial officer.

Angela Leet, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, said in the release, “We are watching this historic university once again come of age. President McClure’s first notion is to see if a corporate grocer solution is feasible that will serve those who relied on the former tenant — it’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to our mission.”

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