Hy-Vee eyes land at Hwy. 36 and Manning

Hy-Vee is considering building store at the southeast corner of Manning Avenue and Highway 36.

Phil Hoey, director of real estate for the West Des Moines-based grocery chain, told the Oak Park Heights City Council Sept. 12 that the company is under contract to purchase a number of parcels at the location.

He showed the council concept drawings that included a 98,000-square-foot Hy-Vee store, a 13,000 square-foot multi-retail building and a 10,000 square-foot convenience store with gas pumps. All the drawings were preliminary.

Currently the parcels in question are part of Stillwater Township, not Oak Park Heights, but there has long been discussion of the city annexing those parcels.

Hoey said Hy-Vee has been in contact with the township and is “confident” there would be an orderly annexation.

The design of a planned bridge over Highway 36 at Manning would be “critical to the development of this parcel,” and Hoey said the company has reached out to Washington County, which is currently studying options for an interchange. Property tax records show the county also owns one of the parcels in question.

Hy-Vee has also contacted Xcel regarding the significant power lines running through the site.

Many issues remain to be resolved, and Hoey said the
approach in this case is unusual because of a tight timeline for purchasing the property in question.

“Normally we’d have close to a year of time between getting a property under contract and closing on it, and in that time we would work with all the consultants, work with your staff, design something that staff can support, that works for the development, and we would come in with an application,” he said. “Because of the tight timeframes on this closing we don’t have that luxury that we normally would.”

While Hy-Vee would intend to go through the full application process in the future, Hoey said he hoped to get some level of feedback from the elected officials ahead of closing on the property.

“This is a little bit different and unique for us to be in front of you like this, but we’re hoping to get some level of feedback from you to make sure this is potentially something you could see as a fit in your community,” he said.

The council didn’t give much feedback, however.

“It sounds like you’re making the right steps, you know, to talk to the other people,” Mayor Mary McComber said. “But until all the ducks are in a row, I don’t know that we can do anything.”

City attorney Mark Vierling said the council wasn’t in a position to make any commitments at this time.

Hoey said he hoped to see if the council saw this type of use fitting with its vision for this site if the parcels became part of the city in the future.

“It’s more of a bigger picture, type-of-use question,” Hoey said.

“I’d suggest probably just continue working with the staff, and go through the bullet points that were laid out for you [in a city letter],” McComber said.

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]