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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 1:00 am

Ex-Kroger building on Anthony to be razed

In weeks, owner confirms; area says grocery needed

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

The building that for many years housed a Scott's supermarket on North Anthony Boulevard will be coming down shortly.

William A. “Bill” Rogers, owner of Rogers Family Properties, Fort Wayne, confirmed Monday that demolition is to take place as soon as proper permits can be obtained – likely within weeks.

“It was supposed to start a month ago and it didn't,” Rogers said.

Only the former supermarket is being torn down, Rogers said. The rest of the shopping center, which has a different owner, will remain, he said.

The pending demolition will mean the property will be marketed as about 6.5 acres of vacant land instead of with the existing building, he said. 

Nearby residents and the North Anthony Corridor Association, a neighborhood group, have campaigned for a replacement grocery in the building, which was found in 2012 to have structural problems.

Neighbors haven't given up on that idea, said Mo Palmer, a North Anthony Boulevard resident active in the North Anthony Association.

“I was just thinking that if this means there's a better chance for a grocery store to come in, then it's a good thing,” she said Monday of the pending demolition.

“At this point, this building needs to come down, It cannot be rehabbed,” Palmer added. “If you're a grocery store, or anybody who wants to come in here, you would need to pay the cost of getting it demolished, so maybe this gives us a better chance.”

For the neighborhood, she said, demolition seems better than have a building decay.

“It makes it look like there's some activity,” she said.

Rogers said asbestos already has been removed from the structure. Demolition was delayed because of “a lot of technicalities” about paperwork, he said.

Hopes for a new supermarket at the North Anthony and Crescent Avenue location rose in 2016 when the Fort Wayne Plan Commission approved rezoning the property and a development plan that showed a 44,000-square-foot building labeled “Neighborhood Market.”

Although the prospective tenant was never identified, neighbors said the market was a Marsh.

Neighbors were told last year that the plan had been dropped.

The building, first shuttered in 2012, suffered an explosion and fire in 2016.

Last April, neighbors organized an event with a group selfie and produced a video to promote their desire for a new market.

rsalter@jg.net