Kroger may relocate store to Sisters of Notre Dame landWritten by Tom Konecny | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Retail food chain Kroger has secured an option to purchase 18.8 acres from the Sisters of Notre Dame at its West Toledo campus along Monroe Street near I-475 and Secor Road.
A Kroger official said the intent is to replace the current Monroe Street location immediately east of Notre Dame, but when this will happen is still up in the air.
“It is a very successful store, but it’s very early in the process,” said Jennifer Jarrell, media and government relations manager. “The process takes a long time. It could take months, it could take years.”
The Sisters of Notre Dame spent the past two years consulting many of its friends and associates about selling a portion of its campus after seeing changes in its group and ministry over time.
“It’s too large for our current needs,” said Teri Bockstahler, communications director. “[The land has] been for sale, and Kroger expressed an interest.”
The campus is home to the Sisters of Notre Dame, Toledo Province — one of four national provinces — which provides educational, pastoral and social ministries. Its Monroe Street location includes the educational childcare Maria Early Learning Center and Notre Dame Academy, both of which will remain on site and unaffected by the land sale.
The only structure likely to be removed for a new Kroger store would be the Provincial Center, current residence for about 50 of its congregation’s 189 sisters. Those 50 will relocate to a yet-to-be-constructed residence at its Whitehouse campus, already home to the Lial Catholic School and Lial Renewal Center.
While the Sisters would lose some office space from the elimination of the Provincial Center, it intends to lease offices somewhere nearby while it awaits possible consolidation of its four provinces into one national headquarters.
“The original [Provincial Center] was built in 1924, and it’s just a huge building — 110,000 square feet — and it’s not energy efficient,” Bockstahler said. “Therefore, it just doesn’t make sense, because when it was built, a lot of the sisters lived here. Now, they live in the neighborhoods they serve.”
Bockstahler indicated that religious life has changed, as has the trend for women to join religious orders. The average age of its congregation is 70, which is young compared to some communities across the United States, Bockstahler said. Even their day-to-day work has shifted due to availability of fewer Catholic priests, where some serve in roles as parish administrators.
“Our work has changed, their work has changed, the world has changed,” Bockstahler said. “It’s just a building that was built for a different time.”
This is not the first time the Sisters have sold part of their property. An earlier sale occurred in the 1970s, according to Bockstahler, when part of their land to the south was sold to eventually become I-475.
An 11-foot security fence would separate the eventual Kroger from the Sisters’ campus, so both parties will have the privacy they need.
“We don’t feel like it’s going to impact Notre Dame Academy,” Bockstahler said.
Neither Kroger, nor the Sisters of Notre Dame, would reveal a sale price.
“I can tell you we are in our process that we are conducting our due diligence,” Jarrell said. “We are continuing our opportunities to grow in the Toledo market.”
Jarrell said Kroger owns the property upon which its current store operates, and it hasn’t been officially decided as to what will become of it, but that it would likely look at selling or leasing it to another tenant.