Bacon maker targets former Dayton Kroger store site for redevelopment

Food manufacturer SugarCreek has received city approval to turn a well-known West Dayton eyesore into a warehouse, offices and training facility.

SugarCreek is one of West Dayton’s larger private employers, with nearly 500 workers there now. It plans to renovate and reuse the abandoned Kroger store at 900 N. Gettysburg Ave., which adds to the company’s already considerable investment in the area.

“This is a neighborhood worthy of quality development, and I think that’s what (owner John Richardson) wants to do,” said Peter Tamborski, general counsel for SugarCreek.

SugarCreek is a shining example of a Dayton business that is dedicated to employing the local workforce, said Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph.

“Thank you for hiring so many local people,” he said. “They really do concentrate on it.”

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Kroger closed the West Dayton grocery store in 2008, and the building been empty and deteriorating ever since.

After failed redevelopment efforts, the owner sold the 52,000-square-foot building to SugarCreek last year, and right away, the company started cleaning up the property and repairing the facility.

Dayton City Commissioners this week approved removing a planned development for the Kroger store and replacing it with a new planned development for SugarCreek.

The move paves the way for SugarCreek to reuse the building for storage and warehousing, offices and a training facility, according to Abigail Free, a city of Dayton planner.

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The planned development includes complementary warehouses uses, such as wholesale sales and light manufacturing, in case they are needed in the future, she said.

SugarCreek purchased millions of dollars worth of machinery from an out-of-state plant and needs a place to store it, said Tamborski.

Equipment will be repaired by mechanics and maintenance workers in Dayton and then will be shipped out to the company’s’ other facilities, he said.

The Kroger site redevelopment is just one of a variety of projects SugarCreek’s owner has along that part of the North Gettysburg Avenue corridor, near the North James H. McGee Boulevard intersection, Tamborski said.

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SugarCreek in recent years has purchased multiple properties around its plant on North Gettysburg Avenue, including about 20 acres of the old Summit Towing property on Gardendale Avenue, Tamborski said.

SugarCreek last year bought an old automotive service station property on the 1400 block of North Gettysburg Avenue, as well as a 2.2-acre site that was formerly used for manufacturing and light assembly at 1352 Gettysburg Ave., real estate records show.

The company also has scooped up some nearby commercial and residential lots and properties.

SugarCreek has about 475 employees at its facility at 1241 N. Gettysburg Ave. The company also has a facility on James H. McGee Boulevard.

The company has about 1,350 employees at its three manufacturing facilities and three corporate offices in Ohio. Dayton’s facility opened in 1975, but it was added onto in 2002.

Dayton’s facility is the only place where SugarCreek produces fully cooked bacon. The company started off in 1966 as a manufacturer of raw bacon.

The company has grown dramatically since then, and now produces a variety of raw and fully-cooked meats and products.

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