Union Avenue Kroger continues to develop, bringing vision to fruition.
Pickering helped Kroger realize a decade’s long goal of developing in a dense area of Midtown Memphis with a contemporary supermarket unique to the area. This functional urban-style concept has been warmly received by local neighborhood groups, the Memphis Office of Planning and Development, and Kroger’s corporate headquarters.
The site was too constrained to both build to the desired square footage, and to provide adequate parking. Because the site also sloped steeply, a basement area was feasible. The below-grade area was designed to include all of the store’s support functions such as food preparation, allowing the entire ground floor to be used for as retail and resulting in more retail space than most green field suburban supermarkets.
Neighborhood groups and Office of Planning and Development were energetically opposed to standard big-box development and the associated parking in this historic part of town. In response, the building was moved close to the street and incorporated a wide pedestrian boulevard. Generous glazing and highly articulated façade details connect the store interior to the surrounding neighborhood. Truck docks and much of the parking are hidden below grade. The proximity to the street also further increased retail square footage.
A historic and much beloved church stands directly across the street, and the community was very concerned that a supermarket in such close proximity would detract from its appeal. To address this concern, the facility was designed to be dignified but inconspicuous. Its earth tones and modest features allow the church to dominate the area. Further, a large viewing window and outdoor dining patio were added directly across from the sanctuary. Views of the church tower from inside the store enhance the shopping experience, and the patio further enlivens the street.