Hy-Vee planning 'banner year' of Corridor, Iowa projects

New store, expansion totaling $270 million worth of construction in the works

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Hy-Vee, one of Iowa's largest employers, is planning a "banner year" with $270 million worth of construction, including expansions and a new store in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor.

The West Des Moines-based supermarket and drugstore chain will begin construction this spring on a 10,000-square-foot expansion of its 21-year-old store at 4035 Mount Vernon Rd. SE.

"That will bring the store up to 71,400 square feet," said Ruth Comer, Hy-Vee assistant vice president of media relations. "We will be building on land that we already own east of the store.

"We will be adding a wine and spirits area, updating the whole store and changing the dining area to a new type of restaurant concept that we've been developing."

The Mount Vernon Road SE Hy-Vee opened in March 1992 with 59,600 square feet, replacing a smaller store at 2711 Mount Vernon Road SE.

Comer said construction of a 20,000-square-foot addition to the Hy-Vee at 1914 Eighth St. in Coralville also will begin this spring, bringing that store to 87,000 square feet.

"We will be enlarging all the departments in the store as well as changing the dining area to the new restaurant concept that we will bring to the Mount Vernon Road SE store," Comer said.

This past summer Hy-Vee announced a full-service, sit-down restaurant concept for a new Urbandale store, according to Supermarket News.

Hy-Vee previously announced plans to replace its existing store at 1201 N. Dodge St. in Iowa City with a new 50,000-square-foot supermarket on the site of the former Roberts Dairy at 1109 and 1123 N. Dodge St. Comer said a lot of work preparatory work needs to be done clearing the former dairy before construction can begin in the fall on the new Hy-Vee store.

Comer said demolition of the former Novak Sinclair at 2300 Bowling St. SW in Cedar Rapids is scheduled for the spring. The station closed in early December and the fuel pumps were removed in recent weeks.

"We will be constructing a new Hy-Vee Convenience store, which we expect to open this summer," Comer said. "It's going to be a banner year for us as we undertake a number of expansion projects along with adding new stores."

The Cedar Rapids Hy-Vee construction projects follow on the heels of a major expansion at the chain's supermarket at 3235 Oakland Rd. NE. The 17,000-square-foot addition increased the size of the store, which opened in May 1995, to 66,000 square feet.

Hy-Vee closed its Hy-Vee Drug Store across the street at 1440 32nd St. NE and added pharmacy services, a large food court and a HealthMarket offering a large selection of natural and organic products and foods for special dietary needs. The company replaced the drug store, built in the early 1970s and expanded in 1991, with a new Hy-Vee Convenience store.

Comer said Hy-Vee/Weitz Construction will be the general contractor for all of this year's expansion projects. The 17-year-old joint venture also will be the general contractor for a 92,000-square-foot store in Ankeny and a store of similar size in Waukee.

Comer said Hy-Vee's capital improvement plan includes developing stores in new markets and renovating stores in existing locations, including three in metropolitan Des Moines. She said new larger-size stores cost about $15 million.

Hy-Vee, an employee-owned company with about 63,000 associates, operates 233 stores in eight Midwestern states. The company recorded sales of $7.7 billion in 2012, ranking it among the top 25 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the nation.

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