New Hope City Council has dreamt about the former Kmart site for years. While a grocery store has been a popular request from residents, a fueling station and car wash has not.
It was evident that changes needed to be made to the site plan created for Hy-Vee’s grocery store in order to continue the planning process.
Hy-Vee, a unique grocer, and its developer, Anderson Companies, recently presented new site plans to the New Hope City Council.
After discussing some of Council’s concerns with the initial proposal, the grocer and developer returned to the drawing board to make adjustments.
The City Council favored retail space over a car wash. Council members were also skeptical about the fueling station until they learned it played a major role in creating a successful business model for Hy-Vee.
“(The fueling station) is a critical component for our business,” said Phil Hoey, director of real estate for Hy-Vee.
Roughly one year ago, Hy-Vee introduced the “fuel saver program.” Each week a new ad is released with featured items throughout the store. Each item has a correlating cost savings per gallon at the fueling station. The more items you buy in the ad, the more money per gallon you save on fuel.
“Almost half our sales come from gas sales,” Hoey said. “It’s our marketing strategy.”
Having learned about the fuel saver program, the council seemed to accept the fueling station but continued to want changes to the amenities located in the south end of the parking lot.
On April 7, representatives of Hy-Vee and Anderson Companies met with the council to discuss the new site plan. All parties wanted to be sure the plan was as refined as possible before sharing it with the public at an open house April 17. The plan is still in the conceptual phase, and there will plenty of opportunity for more feedback and revisions before any final decisions are made.
The 90,000 square-foot building remains the same – housing groceries, a liquor store, pharmacy and bar and restaurant with an outdoor patio.
The developer has added driving and pedestrian access from Winnetka Avenue North as well as pedestrian access from the store to the amenities located on the south end of the parking lot. Those amenities now include the fueling station and convenience store, a coffee shop and building designed for office or retail complete with its own patio.
According to New Hope’s Community Development Specialist Jeff Sargent, the council was pleased with the changes.
“The city’s feedback was very positive,” he said. “All council members approved of the proposed site plan with the understanding that it is still very conceptual in nature. They feel that the proposed site plan is a good start and a good way to begin getting feedback from the residents.”
In addition to the Hy-Vee site, Anderson Companies also shared with the Council a conceptual plan of the potential phase two and three of the overall City Center project.
Phase two of the plan consists of redeveloping the retail that sits to the east of the former Kmart site with phase three including the lot northeast of the site. Those plans will not be shared with the public immediately as it is uncertain if and when phase two and three will occur.
It is council’s desire to make all three lots a cohesive layout – one that is pedestrian friendly and draws residents and visitors alike. Council and city staff are pleased with the direction it is taking thus far.
“I can’t speak for the entire staff, but generally I think that we are happy with the progress that we have seen with the site plan,” Sargent said. “There are still a couple of small changes that will most likely need to be made, but the general concept is good.”
According to Sargent, staff believes that Hy-Vee and the developer have done a good job at meeting the city’s expectations and requests.
“Overall, I think that the council was impressed with the site plan and are looking forward to the open house,” Sargent said.
Hy-Vee’s open house is 4:30-8 p.m., Thursday, April 17 at City Hall, 4401 Xylon Ave. N.
Contact Gina Purcell at [email protected]