Government

Cedar Rapids council gives first OK vote to Kwik Trip location on 33rd Avenue

The Cedar Rapids City Council chamber at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapi
The Cedar Rapids City Council chamber at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Convenience store competition on 33rd Avenue should pick up as the Cedar Rapids City Council gave initial clearance for a new Kwik Trip location.

The city approved the rezoning of 2.5 acres at 251 33rd Ave. SW — the southwest corner of 33rd Avenue SW and J Street SW just east of the Interstate 380 interchange — from light industrial to commercial during a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Kwik Trip plans a 9,022 square foot convenience store there along car wash along with a fueling station. The station will distinguish itself from other gas stations in the area because it will only carry diesel terminals.

“It set up so the larger trucks can just go around the outside of the site,” said Dave Houg, a city zoning coordinator.

He said the site is expected to attract smaller trucks not semis.

The rezoning passed unanimously, but will need two more votes, likely at the next meeting, to become official.

This is the third convenience store right off the interchange.

Kwik Shop has a gas station with a convenience store located immediately across the street from the proposed Kwik trip, and a Casey’s gas station and store is located about a half mile away just west on the I-380 interchange.

Kwik Trip, a family-owned company, has a few locations in the market. The company opened a Kwik Star travel plaza late in 2015 at 8835 Runway Ct. SW, near the McDonald’s at Wright Brothers Boulevard and Interstate 380, and a gas station with convenience store near Westdale Mall at 3730 Williams Blvd. SW in September.

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Kwik Trip operates about 400 stores in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The company re-branded its Iowa locations as Kwik Star stores to cut down on confusion with QuikTrip, the Tulsa, Okla., convenience store chain that operates locations in central Iowa.

In other city business:

The City Council authorized the city to partner with the Iowa City Area Development Group, University of Iowa, Linn and Johnson Counties, North Liberty, Iowa City and Coralville on a partnership to apply to become designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as an autonomous vehicle training grounds.

Jasmine Almoayed, an economic development manager for the city said, the DOT is expected to select five to 15 communities nationwide for the designation, which could help in securing grants or attracting businesses tied to the field.

Iowa City Area Development Group has been championing the area as a destination for autonomous vehicle testing. The effort is bolstered by having the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator based in Coralville, and the Iowa DOT contracted a company called HERE to map a corridor along Interstate 380 from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City down to 20 centimeters in spring 2017, as an preliminary step for autonomous vehicles.

All that combined, “makes us a good fit for this proposal,” Almoayed said. “And, if we can get the designation that would opportunities for us.”

Cedar Rapids police voice no objections in the plan, although any company testing autonomous vehicles would have to have sufficient liability insurance, and would be subject to state law as well as possibly other evaluations of their software before road testing, according to memos supporting the resolution.

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