LAKEVILLE, Minn. - Two years after its bold entrance into the Twin Cities grocery marketplace, Hy-Vee is now looking to nudge its way into the local convenience store scene - in a big way.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based grocery chain is planning a super-sized convenience store and gas station in Lakeville, promising to offer time-strapped, on-the-go customers plenty of prepared meals and scaled-down versions of its typical produce, dairy and meat departments and Market Grill restaurant. A Starbucks coffee shop will be tucked in one corner of the store.
"What we're trying to do with this concept is meet the needs of those folks who live busy lives," Phil Hoey, the company's real-estate director, told the Lakeville City Council this week.
The council gave Hy-Vee the green light to build the store, which at 8,880 square feet will be the first of its kind for the big-box retailer. By comparison, the size of a typical convenience store is 1,500 to 5,000 square feet, Hoey said.
"So this quite a bit larger than the largest convenience store you've been in," he said.
The convenience store - and a medical office building to be built next door - will take up two lots of a 16-acre 'D'-shaped lot east of Cedar Avenue, west of Dodd Boulevard and south of Glacier Way.
The store will be three miles from Hy-Vee's 91,000-square-foot Lakeville supermarket, which opened in June 2016 at the intersection of County Road 42 and Pilot Knob Road. At the time, five new concepts, including a fashion line, were firsts for Hy-Vee.
"So, Lakeville, we're in front of you again with a new concept," Hoey said.
Hy-Vee already operates 142 smaller convenience stores, including 16 in Minnesota, throughout its eight-state business region. Most of the stores are adjacent to the chain's supermarket stores or in a nearby lot.
Hy-Vee spokeswoman Tara Deering-Hansen said Friday that the company is scouting other Twin Cities sites for the super-sized convenience store concept. The local market long has been dominated by chains Super America and Holiday Stationstores, with Kwik Trip recently making a bigger presence.
Hy-Vee submitted similar plans to Eden Prairie officials in September, but the project was scrapped because of site access issues.
Hy-Vee has 23 grocery stores in Minnesota, including six that have opened in the Twin Cities - in Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Lakeville, New Hope, Oakdale and Savage - since the company entered the market in the fall of 2015.
A Cottage Grove store is projected for a summer debut, while one in Shakopee is slated to open in fall.
Other stores are planned for Chaska, Columbia Heights, Farmington, Maple Grove and Robbinsdale.
Eagan-based developer MSP Commercial is teaming up with Hy-Vee on the medical office building. The two are also partnering on a similar project in Chaska.
Alex Young, president of MSP Commercial, told the Lakeville City Council that they are working closely with a likely tenant for the two-story, 44,000-square-foot office building.
"At some point we'll be in a position to announce who that tenant is," he said.
Council Member Colleen LaBeau said a development on the vacant site "is long overdue."
"I appreciate you guys working toward getting something that gives many multiple uses all in one spot," she said.