At least two grocery stores are looking at moving into the site of the former O’Malia food market at 126thStreet and Gray Road according to Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.
Brainard said at least one of the companies is from out of state but declined to name either one. He said the city has been providing demographic information to the two chains, and he hopes to have an answer on their intentions in the next 60 to 90 days.
The site has been vacant since July 2017, when Marsh – which operated the O’Malia store – went out of business. Since then, city leaders have been working to attract another grocery store to the area.
“A grocery store is really important for that area. That’s the only area on the east side of Keystone south of 146th Street that is zoned appropriately for a grocery store and has enough space,” Brainard said. “The only other commercial zoning is Main Street and Hazel Dell, and that area isn’t large enough.”
Brainard said he didn’t know if the companies considering the site would develop a store about the size of O’Malia or something bigger, but he said that “it seems to be a trend in the grocery business today to have smaller stores.”
Brainard said the city could look at partnering with the private sector to redevelop the area, but he doesn’t expect that to happen anytime soon. It’s likely that a private developer will step in, he said. For now, the city is making sure grocery store chains that could be a good fit in the shopping center know that the site is available.
“I’m very determined we’re going to do everything we can to get a good grocery store,” said Brainard, who lives near the site.
A larger Marsh store that closed nearby at 116th Street and Keystone Parkway is not likely to redevelop as a grocery store, Brainard said, as it’s near the Kroger on Range Line Road.