"This is very exciting for Ashton Place," Davis said Thursday of Kroger's purchase of the shopping center. "This will help improve the whole complex and shopping center immensely."
Davis said she hasn't heard anything about any facility-wide upgrades. Davis believes Kroger was interested in purchasing the entire shopping facility in order to make sure it would not fall into disrepair, especially after the company announced plans to invest millions of dollars into the store.
Ashton Place is the second area shopping center to change hands within the past year.
Kimco Realty Corp. sold Riverwalk Plaza and four other shopping centers to Zamias Services Inc. and Bon Aviv Investment LLC for a grand total of $68 million in April 2012. Zamias also owns the Dunbar Village Plaza in Dunbar.
First Continental Development of Knoxville, Tenn., carved the Ashton Place Shopping Center out of a hollow in 1988 at a cost of $8 million. Some local residents opposed construction of the center, arguing that it would increase traffic. Several road-widening projects were subsequently undertaken to improve traffic flow in the area.
With 52,337-square-feet of space and 240 employees, Ashton Place was Kroger's third so-called "superstore" in the Kanawha Valley. Kroger opened large stores in Kanawha City and at South Charleston prior to the Ashton Place store's opening in 1989.
During construction of the Ashton Place store, Kroger billed it as "the gourmet of our stores." It replaced a store Kroger had been operating on Oakwood Road.
Ashton Place is in South Hills, one of the wealthiest areas in West Virginia.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger has 38 stores in the Mountain State, including 12 stores and 6 fuel centers in the Kanawha Valley.
The company has about 3,980 employees in West Virginia. It is the fourth-largest private employer in the state, behind Walmart, West Virginia United Health System and Charleston Area Medical Center, according to WorkForce West Virginia.
Kroger is the sixth-largest employer in Kanawha County.Reporter Paul Fallon contributed to this story.