Murder Kroger is the name by which the Kroger supermarket at 725 Ponce de Leon Avenue in Poncey-Highland, Atlanta has been known for decades, a name which remains common as of 2020. Despite ongoing development in the area, it has been described as a nickname "that just won't die".
Kroger reopened a new store on October 16, 2019 at the same location, as part of the 725 Ponce development. Despite hopes from Kroger officials that the nickname "Murder Kroger" will not be applied to the new store, the name has already been adopted to refer to the new structure as well. A headline from 11 Alive called it a former nickname while a headline from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked "'Murder Kroger' no more?". Decaturish, meanwhile, stated that "locals have a name for [the store] that just won't die". Attempts to re-brand the location as "Beltline Kroger" proved unsuccessful, with the nickname instead being ascribed to another Kroger located several miles away, also on the Beltline.
The store opened in the 1980s. The store's parking lot has been the scene of two fatal shootings and the discovery of a corpse. In 1991, a 25-year-old woman named Cynthia Prioleau was shot and killed. In 2002, the malodorous corpse of a man was found inside a car. In 2015, an Alabama man, Joshua R. Richey, was shot and killed. The 2015 murder occurred after the store had been renovated and promoted by the company as "Beltline Kroger". On January 15, 2016, Kroger announced that the location would be demolished to make way for 725 Ponce, a mixed-use development incorporating office space, a new Kroger store, and expanded parking. The original Kroger building was demolished shortly after it was closed in October 2016.
The store opened shortly after 1986, when low-interest government loans were used to convert the adjacent and former Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant into lofts and commercial spaces. From the 1990s, and until at least 2002, the store had drivers license renewal services. In 2002 the store tested scan-it-yourself checkout devices. After two Publix supermarkets opened nearby, the store was refurbished around 2002. The closest neighboring Kroger, near Little Five Points, was the area's top performing one, as of 2006[update].
In October 1999, a man robbed the Bank of America inside the store. A song titled "Murder Kroger" by the group Attractive Eighties Women, which incorporates a mention of the nearby Clermont Lounge into the lyrics, is dedicated to shoppers who frequent the store. Renovations were scheduled for completion in November 2014 at the market, including a bike/pedestrian ramp to the Atlanta BeltLine's Eastside Trail, a bike repair station, new curbs and sidewalks (including paved sidewalk access to Ponce de Leon Avenue), new trees and landscaping, a "water quality pond" in the parking lot to filter runoff, new LED parking lot lighting and repaving the front and back parking lots.
Murders and corpse
- In 1991, a 25-year-old woman, Cynthia Prioleau, was fatally shot in the parking lot. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution attributed the nickname "Scary Kroger" to the store because of the event. The murder was unsolved as of 2015[update].
- In August 2002, a strong odor raised the suspicions of a woman who reported her findings to police: a dead man was in a car in the parking lot.
- In 2012, a 20-year-old male junior at Georgia State University, Lee Lowery, was murdered just inside the Ford Factory Lofts, which shares a parking lot with Murder Kroger.
- On March 10, 2015, Joshua R. Richey, a father of four from Alabama who was working on a construction project was fatally shot in the chest in the parking lot beside the Kroger building.
- "Store Details". Kroger. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Braverman, Jason (October 14, 2019). "Formerly known as 'Murder' Kroger, brand new '725 Ponce' Kroger set to open this week". WXIA-TV. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
Company officials are highlighting the many new features of the store, hoping to leave the old nickname in the rear view mirror.
- Wheatley, Thomas (April 6, 2011). "Murder Kroger to get a makeover? Grocer says 'no'". Creative Loafing. Archived from the original on April 10, 2011.
...one of the city's quirky charms that Atlantans seem to both love and hate at the same time.
- Turner, Kimberly (April 11, 2017). "How 'Murder Kroger' got Its nickname and why it won't change". Curbed Atlanta. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Whisenhunt, Dan (October 15, 2019). "With second reboot, Kroger on Beltline looks to shed 'murder' from store's moniker". Decaturish. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Habersham, Raisa (October 15, 2019). "'Murder Kroger' no more? New site opens near Atlanta Beltline". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- Sirb, Julia (January 15, 2016). "'Murder Kroger' To Morph Into Mixed-Use Project 725 Ponce (Renderings)". What Now Atlanta. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- "The Business of the City: Kroger Spreads Wings Downtown." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. August 29, 1996. p. D4.
- Bessonette, Colin (January 1, 1997). "Q & A on the News." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. A2.
- "2002 Ultimate Guide: South Metro: Your Government." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. July 25, 2002. GD.24.
- DeGross, Renee (July 14, 2001). "Ready to check out? Do it yourself." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. A1.
- DeGross, Renee (May 12, 2002). "Grocery Gladiators: Kroger, Publix raise the stakes No. 1, No. 2 go all out as new rivals invade." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Woods, Walter; Bond, Patti (November 12, 2006) "Unusual firm opens 'big boxes' in town: Persistence, flexibility and money are key." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. D1.
- "Law and Order." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. October 9, 1999. p. F6.
- "Murder Kroger" Attractive Eighties Women (live). Accessed September 14, 2013.
- Kelley, Collin (August 13, 2014). "'BeltLine Kroger' to get ramp connection to Eastside Trail". Atlanta INtown Paper. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Green, Josh (August 13, 2014). "Behold, the new Look of 'Beltline Kroger'!". Curbed Atlanta. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- "'Beltline Kroger'? Atlanta grocery store could get new nickname". 11 Alive (NBC Atlanta). August 15, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2018.[permanent dead link]
- "Kroger store tries to shake off 'murder' moniker". Marketplace. Retrieved March 9, 2018.[dead link]
- "Murder at Atlanta Kroger highlights perception, reality of crime". WXIA 11Alive. March 11, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2018.[dead link]
- "CityLights." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. August 24, 2000. JD; 1.
- "Law & Order." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. August 4, 2002. p. F8.
- Taft, Isabelle (December 13, 2012). "Lee Lowery remembered for bright smile, big heart". The Southerner Online. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- "Officials ID construction worker killed confronting man in Kroger lot". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. March 10, 2015.
- "Police investigate shooting at Northeast Atlanta Kroger". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. March 10, 2015. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Blau, Max (March 10, 2015). "Man killed outside Kroger on Ponce (Update)". Creative Loafing. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015.