FORT WAYNE – Chances of the Scott's Food & Pharmacy reopening on North Anthony Boulevard appear slim.
The retailer's landlord Monday said he hasn't given up hope of hammering out an agreement to erect a new building for the retailer, but it would take a much longer lease to revive the store, 3109 N. Anthony Blvd.
It has remained closed for a month.
First of all, repairing the grocery store would require a complete overhaul costing well over $1 million, said Bill Rogers, president of Rogers Family Properties, 521 W. Washington Blvd.
Secondly, no bank is going to agree to finance such a project without a long-term lease by Kroger Co., Scott's parent, he said. The company has a four-year deal, but Rogers said he'd need at least a 15-year lease to get a loan.
Bob Moeder, Kroger's central division president, said the Cincinnati business continues to negotiate with the Rogers family but that "we now know that the building may be beyond repair."
"Engineers and other professionals have investigated and are evaluating options with the current landlord," he said Monday in a written statement.
"We need to conclude our negotiations with the Rogers family so that we know whether to plan toward a new building on North Anthony or modifying one or more nearby Kroger stores, including North Clinton Street, to accommodate customers from the North Anthony store," he said.
"Either way, we will work with neighborhood groups, elected officials and the city administration to be fully operational as quickly as possible."
Last week, city and state government leaders joined neighbors in a letter to Kroger officials, imploring them to rebuild the Scott's grocery store at North Anthony Boulevard and Crescent Avenue.
Businessman Ben Plikerd owns a separate building that occupies the same lot as the Scott's. His tenants include a frame shop, Christian bookstore and financial planner.
He said Rogers called more than a week ago, to update him.
"The buildings are not attached," Plikerd said. "We don't have any (structural) problems."
But tenants near Scott's said its departure would pose a problem for them because the store drives traffic for their operations.
Rogers regrets that neighboring business owners and customers are in limbo.
"The core of the building has given way," he said. "It's a real bad situation, and I just don't have the final answer for it right now."