Kmart bought; new retailer not announced

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The long-empty Kmart building on West Main Street in Salem has been sold to another as-yet unannounced retailer.

The only thing known for sure is that it will not be a Costco, Target or a handful of other rumors people have been tossing around since the Salem Kmart closed in March 2017.

The announcement of the sale was made Monday night at the work session before the Salem City Council meeting. Economic Development and Planning Director Melinda Payne said the sale closed the end of July. Although she asked the retailer at the request of the Salem Times-Register if she could reveal the new company, there was no answer by this week’s press time.

The four existing businesses in what is locally referred to as the “Kmart Shopping Plaza” will all stay, Payne said, and the shopping center’s new owner intends to extend out the building toward Spartan Square, “to house another new retailer,” Payne said.

The former Kmart space is at 1329 W. Main Street, next to a nail salon, Sally Beauty, The UPS Store and West Main Hair Salon. The City of Salem had been actively seeking a new retailer for the shopping area since shortly after Kmart closed in 2017.

In earlier conversations, Payne said the space was not large enough for some of the big box stores people in this area had been asking for.

In her Economic Update Aug. 12, Payne briefed Salem City Council on other new businesses, expansion plans, and relocations around town. They included:

  • Downtown Grocery Store – planned to open in mid-September at 29 East Main Street across from the Salem Public Library. Owner Patrick O’Donnell said earlier it will carry specialty groceries similar to Tinnell’s in the Crystal Spring area of Roanoke and Greenway Market in Troutville. It will have a hot dog station and Hershey’s ice cream, Payne said.
  • The Sharp Flats are due to open in the former Ridenhour Music building at West Main and South Broad Street, with 14 apartments. FedStar Credit Union will be located on the ground floor on the Main Street side, and owner Faisel Khan is looking for another retailer for the rear portion, Payne said. In June 2018, Salem City council OK’d an incentive package for Khah who must invest at least $2 million in the project. Payne said there will be five two-bedroom apartments and the rest one-bedroom units.
  • Former Salem Theater Building at the corner of East Main and South College is shaping up as a boutique hotel and Frankie’s Grille. Payne said she talked with the contractor that day who said he was not sure when the hotel will open.
  • City-owned property on Fourth Street is still being marketed, Payne said, and there is an offer on the table
  • Little Caesar’s is moving from its Fourth and Union Street location to 1,440 square foot-building at 1122 West Main Street, and will share a space with another retailer.