XENIA — Easier access and a Kroger Fuel Center are coming to the West Park Square Shopping Center.
Work began this week on a new driveway from US Route 35 West into the shopping center that will make for a swift entrance, and possibly make the shopping center a destination for more businesses.
The driveway will be right in, right out only west of the Progress Road stoplight and enter into the part of the parking lot near Kroger. Once that is completed, Kroger will be constructing a fuel center.
“It’ll just be an additional driveway to improves access to the shopping center,” said Xenia City Planner Brian Forschner. “The owner (BC Wood Properties, LLC.,) proposed it to just improve the marketability of their shopping center.”
It’s apparently working.
Forschner said new tenants have already approached the owner, which is based in Lexington, Ken. While several businesses are firmly planted in the center, there are still several empty store fronts.
“It’s going to be a shot in the arm for that shopping center,” he said. “Real game changer.”
The fuel center is on the fast-track to completion. Kroger’s plan is to begin construction in mid-August and conclude in October, according to Rachael Betzler, company spokesperson.
“We’re trying to get as many fuel centers at our stores as we can,” she said. “It really is a great option for the customer because we have so many ways to earn fuel points. It really is for the customers’ benefit.”
Betzler added that there are currently no plans to upgrade the current store into a Kroger Marketplace.
The new access point was approved in 2012 but was updated and approved last year, Forschner said.
In addition to better visibility for the shopping center, Forschner said the new road will help with minor traffic jams on Progress Drive, especially during the evening rush hour.
“The primary congestion … is the south driveway out of West Park Square,” Forschner said. “This driveway will slightly improve the function of that south driveway.”
Representatives from BC Wood were unavailable as of deadline Thursday.