DES MOINES, Iowa - A proposed Hy-Vee grocery store along Court Avenue in Des Moines is one step closer to approval after the Urban Design Review Board gave developers a thumbs up on preliminary design plans Tuesday.
The project, set to be constructed on a city-owned parking lot at 420 Court Avenue, had some businesses in the district upset after a parking garage was removed from the design in the fall of 2014. One business owner, Scott Carlson, of Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co., called it a "one-two punch" to district businesses after the city revealed plans to demolish a nearby parking garage on Fifth Street and Court Avenue.
Carlson and several others created an online petition in November of 2014 - getting just over 1,000 signatures - urging city officials to reconsider the location of the project. After the Urban Design Review Board's preliminary approval, Carlson expects the project to go through, but still believes the concerns voiced in the petition were heard.
"At this point, we believe the project is probably going through," he said. "So now, we're trying to get them to be more thoughtful on eliminating more of the parking, which was also their intent, to take away the Fifth and Walnut/Fifth and Court garage at the same time. And the city seems like they're at least willing to delay that garage from coming down."
Carlson says he believes the city may wait two or more years after the Hy-Vee project is completed before demolishing the city-owned garage on Fifth and Court, but long-term, they'll still lose that parking resource. He says he and other business owners in the district will advocate for city officials to look at ways to restore some of that lost parking in the meantime.