ALDI, Big Lots, Harbor Freight to take place of demolished Kmart

Demolition crews work Thursday to tear down the building that formerly housed the Kmart, 1300 U.S. 127, to make way for a new building that is expected to house an ALDI, Big Lots and Harbor Freight.

As demolition continues at the previous site of Kmart, a real estate company has revealed the businesses expected to populate the area in a new development.

Michigan-based Agree Realty Corp.’s fourth-quarter reports detailed the businesses expected at 1300 U.S. 127, where demolition crews are tearing down the old Kmart building in order to do a complete rebuild for three commercial spaces. Slated to go in those spots are an ALDI grocery store, a Big Lots homeware retailer and a Harbor Freight discount tool and equipment retailer, the company reported.

Agree Realty reported that the structure will be built to suit the businesses, which will be under 10-year lease agreements anticipated to commence in the first quarter of 2020.

ALDI will be new to the community, as will Harbor Freight. Big Lots already has a Frankfort location a few miles away. With many “big box” retailers closing their brick-and-mortar locations due to the rise of online shopping, Frankfort Planning and Community Development Director Eric Cockley said the investment bodes well for the city.

“It shows we have a market worthy of investment,” he said. “It’s a good thing — much better than seeing a big-box retailer stay empty.”

In response to Agree Realty’s publicizing of the development, Kentucky Capital Development Corp. Director Terri Bradshaw commended the company for taking the initiative to make the property enticing.

“These owners were proactive on how they would keep their property occupied,” Bradshaw said. “They made the effort to tear it down and make it viable and attractive for other businesses to want to move in there. And we applaud their efforts.”

Located off U.S. 127 on Frankfort’s west side, the property is located in a shopping center and is directly adjacent to China Buffet, which has not been affected by the demolition. The area is surrounded by subdivisions, and recent installation of sewage services extending south down U.S. 127 is sending the signal that more development could be in store for the area.

Dozers have most of the building razed after the Frankfort Kmart closed in late January 2018, along with the store in Versailles. The retailer tacked on these stores to a long list of closures nationwide in an effort to adjust its business model as the popularity of online shopping grows. Other Kentucky cities that had Kmart stores close last year include Lexington, Georgetown, London, Corbin, Owensboro, Hopkinsville and Bowling Green, leaving many vacant structures in their wake.

However, Agree Realty saw enough promise of a return at the site to invest in demolition and reconstruction costs.

“We never want to see an empty building,” Bradshaw said. “It’s always good to see owners make the effort to update their property to make it attractive to new renters. For Frankfort, that’s a win.”

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