Hy-Vee store in Austin to expand

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, July 10, 2013

By Trey Mewes and Adam Harringa

AUSTIN — Officials from Hy-Vee Inc. took the first steps toward a long-rumored expansion of its Austin store Tuesday.

The Austin Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit at its monthly meeting for a 22,000-square-foot expansion of the Hy-Vee Austin store, at 1001 18th Ave. NW. The expansion would add space to the east and southeast, rearrange the store, add a restaurant and other amenities, and bring Hy-Vee’s Austin location to about 82,000 square feet.

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“You’re getting all the good stuff that we’ve been working on for the last few years that we’re putting in all our new stores,” Jeff Stein, a Hy-Vee official, told the planning commission. “This will be the best and greatest of everything that we’re doing.”

The Austin Hy-Vee would be rearranged and look completely new, according to Stein. The store’s Chinese and Italian sections would expand and customers could purchase more goods like gelato and calzones. In addition, the store would add chef stations and demonstration areas. There would also be a pharmacy drive-through and an expanded grocery pick-up area.

Perhaps the biggest change is a full-service restaurant, which would seat more than 150 people and would add wait staff to Hy-Vee’s employees.

Stein said Hy-Vee could add an estimated 20 percent to its staffing. The store had 373 employees as of January 2013.

Hy-Vee officials have planned an expansion at the Austin location for several years. Stein said the expansion could start this fall and will last about 11 or 12 months.