AUSTIN, Minn., 2014-10-8— /EPR Retail News/ — Hy-Vee, Inc. officials announced today that it would return to its roots in Austin with plans to build a new 60,000 – 90,000-square-foot grocery store at Oak Park Mall — the location of Hy-Vee’s original Austin store.
“We’ve been a part of this community for almost 40 years, and it’s been hard to witness how Oak Park Mall has struggled. I wanted to see if there was something we could do to move the needle like never before,” said Todd Hepler, Austin Hy-Vee store director. “Luckily, Hy-Vee provides me the autonomy to impact change. I took this idea to our leadership, and now a new store will be built at the mall.”
Hy-Vee has signed a letter of intent with the Austin Port Authority, and over the next 30 days the two entities will work to execute a formal developer’s agreement and purchase agreement.
As part of the arrangement, a large portion of the mall at 1301 18th Ave. NW will be demolished and the site will undergo several major improvements, including the addition of a storm detention system; upgraded building facades and fire protection for remaining buildings; new exterior walls for Younkers and the movie theater; and a new parking lot and public restrooms.
“We couldn’t be happier with the agreement. This is the type of major investment from a respected retailer that Oak Park Mall needed,” said Jerry McCarthy, president of the Austin Port Authority. “We’ve worked hard over the years to spur new life in the mall. We never gave up hope that one day an opportunity would present itself, enabling the mall to live up to its full potential.”
Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm agreed, commending the Port Authority and Hy-Vee for working together to come up with a solution. “This is a win-win for everyone, but especially for the citizens of Austin,” he said. “It won’t be long now that we’ll be able to drive by the mall and look upon it with pride.”
The new Austin Hy-Vee store will feature the amenities Hy-Vee has become known for, such as a Market Grille, a full-service restaurant and bar concept; pharmacies with drive-up windows; in-store dietitians and a wellness department; floral design and shop; certified wine, beer and spirit specialists; specialty cheese and artisan bread; in-store chefs and cooking demonstration stations; a made-to-order sushi bar; a large HealthMarket and bulk foods section; thousands of produce and specialty items; and dry cleaning and postal services.
According to the agreement, the current Hy-Vee store at 1001 18th Ave. NW will be demolished within 90 days of its new Oak Park Mall store opening, and the location will be donated to the Port Authority. Hy-Vee has been at its location on 18th Avenue since 1985; the store was previously located at the mall from 1975 – 1985.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 237 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of more than $8 billion annually. Hy-Vee ranks among the top 25 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the United States. Supermarket News, the authoritative voice of the food industry, has honored the company with a Whole Health Enterprise Award for its leadership in providing services and programs that promote a healthy lifestyle.