More than 2 1/2 years after the city of Columbus approved a plan for Hy-Vee to enter the city, there is still no word on when the “Fast and Fresh” facility might be constructed. 

The city of Columbus started discussions with the West Des Moines, Iowa-based national grocer in the fall of 2018 to build a store on the northeast corner of Interstate 35 and Highway 97, off of Hornsby Street, and the Columbus City Council approved the grocer’s conditional use permit and planned unit permit in April 2019. Since then, plans have been submitted, but the timing of the construction of the store is still uncertain as the location is awaiting placement on Hy-Vee’s construction schedule. 

Even though it has been a few years since the approval process was finalized for the project, the city is still anticipating the store’s construction soon, although the date is unknown. 

“Nothing has changed with the status of the land, with the plan for the project. … It’s just a matter of when they can get us on their construction calendar,” the Public Communications Coordinator Jessica Hughes said.  

Janelle Grunwald, Hy-Vee communication specialist, said there are no new updates to the Columbus project at this time. 

“Maybe a couple months down the road, get through the holidays. ... At this time we really don’t have an update,” Grunwald told the Times in an earlier interview. 

“We are just in a holding pattern right now,” Hughes said. 

Hughes added that the City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko is regularly contacting Hy-Vee regarding the status of Columbus’ location. 

The Columbus Fast and Fresh Hy-Vee location is anticipated to be a scaled-down store that will be around 8,000 to 10,000 square feet.

Mayor Jesse Preiner addressed residents’ interest about the Hy-Vee project in his March 12 mayor’s message, saying at that point the plan for the store had not changed, including access to a full-service Hy-Vee through a locker pickup service in which mobile orders will be held in lockers at the store. 

“There will be a set of lockers in the parking lot, where you can go online, order your groceries from a full-service Hy-Vee grocery store. And then your groceries will be delivered to that locker at the Fast and Fresh location off of Hornsby,” Hughes explained. 

She said the closest full-service store will likely be the Blaine location. However, construction at the Blaine location has not started yet. Construction of the Blaine location was to begin in 2020. In April 2021, the Blaine City Council approved a one-year extension to its full-service Hy-Vee location’s conditional use permit due to lack of action throughout the first year it was approved. The initial permit was approved in October 2019. Another conditional use permit extension will be necessary for Blaine if construction is not started by April 19, 2022, according to the Blaine City Planner Lori Johnson. 

The Blaine Hy-Vee is set to be an 84,000-square-foot store that will offer full grocery options, a liquor store, restaurant, pharmacy, clinic, and Starbucks. 

The opening of Spring Lake Park’s new Hy-Vee was delayed multiple times. Initially it was to open in late 2019, but was pushed back to the spring of 2020 and was further delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening didn’t occur until May 2021, though the Fast and Fresh Express convenience store and gas station in front of the main Spring Lake Park store opened late 2019.

Hughes echoed Preiner and the information Mursko has received that there are no changes to any initial plans from the agreement and partnership with Hy-Vee, as of Sept. 30, 2021. More updates could come as early as the beginning of 2022 on the timing of the project. 

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