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Planned North Killeen grocery store development falls through

North Killeen residents will need to wait even longer for a grocery store option in their area. 6 News is asking why.

KILLEEN, Texas — The City of Killeen has been working to bring a grocery store option to the intersection of North 38th Street and East Rancier Avenue since before October of last year, but those plans fell through.

The Killeen Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) and Killeen Chamber of Commerce had been in communication with the owner and developer of the land southwest of that intersection. The city had hoped the developer would be able to work out a deal with a grocery-related company to bring in the store. 

KEDC Vice President Tad Dorroh last addressed the city council about the development in October.

"We have been told to expect an official determination from the developer in mid-October," he said. "Once that determination has been received we will be in a position to make an incentive-offer we hope will make this project a reality." 

The project did not become a reality, though it became close. 

City Councilman Jose Segarra and former City Councilwoman Mellisa Brown both told 6 News the grocery company, which has not been named, had been hopeful to break ground in early 2022 around March. Both said the developer was unable to sign a deal in time and the grocery company withdrew. 

Killeen Chamber of Commerce President John Crutchfield confirmed to 6 News Friday the deal was no longer happening. 

"We have been told that negotiations on a build to suit lease have are no longer occurring," Crutchfield said via email. 

When 6 News asked why the deal fell apart, Crutchfield said he was given a variety of explanations:

"We were told a number of things that may, or may not, be accurate from "the process took too long", "we have other priorities for the capital", etc. In the end, investors do not have to explain their decisions to us," Crutchfield said.

The Killeen Economic Development Corporation has not addressed the council about the issue since October of last year. 

Killeen District 1 Councilmember Jessica Gonzales told 6 News she is still waiting for the KEDC to return to the council and explain the situation. Gonzales also said she is looking into other options. 

"Cities all around the United States right now have moved to the boutique style grocery stores. They are smaller scale but they still offer affordable fresh fruits," Gonzales said. "There's alternatives. Creative alternatives, that are working in a lot of other places all around us. So my hope is that we can tap into those." 

    

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