Kroger store that received controversial tax breaks opens in east Cobb

Views of the new Kroger store that opened this week in east Cobb off of Powers Ferry Road, as seen Thursday, August 3, 2023. (Taylor Croft/

Credit: Taylor Croft

Credit: Taylor Croft

Views of the new Kroger store that opened this week in east Cobb off of Powers Ferry Road, as seen Thursday, August 3, 2023. (Taylor Croft/

A long-awaited Kroger grocery store that once landed the Development Authority of Cobb County in the Georgia Supreme Court back in 2019 over the issuance of tax breaks opened with fanfare this week in east Cobb.

The 90,0000-square-foot Kroger anchors a new mixed-use development called MarketPlace Terrell Mill that also features 300 luxury apartments, a few restaurants including Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread, a nail salon and a barber shop.

The development authority awarded the grocery store chain tax incentives in 2018 to build a new, larger store at Powers Ferry Road and Terrell Mill Road, less than half a mile away from the Delk Road location that is now closed. Kroger spent $38 million on the new location.

Cobb resident Larry Savage filed a lawsuit challenging the development board’s authority to award incentives to Kroger, arguing at the time that relocating the grocery store was not a project deserving tax breaks, and that it violated the state constitution. A lower court agreed, but that decision was later overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court in favor of the development authority.

Despite the controversy over tax breaks, the project received public support through the Powers Ferry Corridor Alliance, a civic organization of residents in the area that advocate for improvements along Powers Ferry Road. Patti Rice, the organization’s president, worked with the developers and the community to get the project off the ground from the beginning.

This mural inside the new Kroger store in Marietta depicts Cobb County imagery including the courthouse, the Marietta Square fountain, baseball players and the Atlanta skyline in the background, as seen on Thursday, August 3, 2023. (Taylor Croft/

Credit: Taylor Croft

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Credit: Taylor Croft

The addition of Kroger and the MarketPlace Terrell Mill development has helped revitalize the Powers Ferry corridor, which was once lined with outdated buildings and abandoned storefronts, Rice said.

“It sets the bar a little higher, you know? It looks like an area worth coming to,” she said.

The issuance of tax incentives is a contentious topic across metro Atlanta, with some arguing that they should be reserved for projects that bring public benefit and would not have been built without tax breaks.

Earlier this year, the Development Authority of Fulton County drew criticism when it approved incentives worth $5.7 million for a mixed-use development with a grocery store near the Beltline. One official argued the area was a food desert lacking access to fresh produce despite the close proximity of several high-end grocers.

Rice said when the Kroger case was challenged in court, people in the community were worried that Kroger might pull out of the project if they did not receive tax incentives.

“I don’t really have a strong opinion one way or the other, whether a tax incentive is worth it or not,” Rice said. “If somebody’s willing to apply for it, and the people with the power to grant it think it’s worthy, then I guess it should move forward.”

The Georgia Legislature took steps earlier this year to evaluate the effectiveness of tax credits after an audit of a state-level tax incentive program found it cost more to operate than it generates in extra tax revenue.