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Take a few steps down Court Ave and you’ll find yourselves at the doorstep of any restaurant or bar. One thing you can't walk to...

“If you live within a ten block radius of here you have to drive out to the suburbs just to get groceries,” says downtown resident, Jack Veers.

On Monday, the Des Moines city council is expected to approve a proposed Hy – Vee grocery store and apartment complex between 4th and 5th street downtown.
Restaurant owners question if the grocery store will fit into the Court Avenue culture.

“I think the greater question is, if people are coming down to entertainment district their number one priority isn`t to come for a grocery store.”

Carl Wertzberger, manages Court Avenue Brewing Company. He's in favor of building an urban grocery store but not in the parking lot where his customers park.

“That would be a 100 less cars downtown which might be 4 people per car which is 400 people maybe so that obviously for our district that would be a negative,” says Wertzberger.

Aware of the concern, city manager, Rick Clark, says a grocery store in downtown is long overdue.

“It’s going to really ignite the avenue district.”

The site has struggled to be successful for the last decade but with Knapp Properties and Hy - Vee hoping to move into the vacant lot, the city says the proposal makes sense.

“Much of the housing downtown is centered within a few blocks of where we are standing. This is in a sense is the center of the residential area in our downtown.”

The city says their goal is to add substance to an area that continues to develop.

The city considered two other proposals by different developers: an indoor farmer’s market and movie theater. Clark says he is urging city council members to develop ideas to other parts of downtown in the future.


  • Kyra

    You have to drive all the way out to the suburbs just to get groceries? And, how far away is that? It’s not like Des Moines is this gigantic metropolis. There is a Dahls just as close to downtown as the nearest grocery store is to my house in my same suburb-ian town.

  • Emi

    There’s a way higher demand for parking than for a grocery store downtown. Even if there was a demand for a grocery store there, where are people going to park if they want to go there? Who wants to have to park at a meter just to get groceries? The Dahl’s on Ingersoll is close enough and you won’t have trouble finding a parking spot. This is a bad idea, plain and simple.

  • Sue

    What a bunch of horse sh*t. Court avenue is one of the highest crime areas of Des Moines. It is populated with mostly bars and young males drinking into the wee hours of the morning……a bad combination.

    If Hy-Vee builds, they will be robbed blind by shoplifters and actual armed robberies.

  • Nathan B

    Personally, I like the idea. That way if I take the bus home from work, I can stop by there, and the hop on the bus home. Yes, I also drive, but I would rather go downtown to shop for groceries than to go out to WDM. I personally like the idea of a City Target with Pfresh groceries…I’d rather have THAT than a Hy-Vee. Heck, I’d settle for a CVS Pharmacy on the west part of downtown…but if that happens, we will have the trendy vegan do gooders complain just like they did about the Subway opening across from Gateway park…

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