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Downtown Hy-Vee Project Closer to Approval

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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.

6 comments

  • John Smith

    I still can’t imagine anyone wanting to buy many groceries or live in an apartment where there isn’t plentiful parking VERY convenient to those things. This project certainly does NOT seem to follow the model which HyVee has been successful with over the decades.

    • None

      I agree, I think they are making a huge mistake with parking. I just don’t see how this is going to work well without an attached parking ramp.

    • John Smith

      I am under the impression that there is a real estate developer involved here. If that is correct, I would think that HyVee would be leasing the space after it was built, not developing the project on their own dime.

      Having said that, this is the second set of architectural drawings I have seen depicted for this project. And, the facades, at least, look to be very different from one drawing to the other. Which “plan” is the “plan” that is the subject of this report? Can anyone at WHO-TV answer that question? Also, this drawing would seem to indicate a restaurant in the new grocery store. HyVee also has a few stores with bars in them. Will this HyVee include a restaurant and a bar? I ask because, in my estimation, that puts this project in a different light with regard to other businesses on Court Avenue. Does anyone know?

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