Hy-Vee meeting in Leawood takes unexpected turn

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LEAWOOD, Kan. -- More than 100 people showed up at a Leawood City Council meeting Monday night, hoping it might help keep a Hy-Vee grocery store at 122nd and State Line open. But during the first meeting between Hy-Vee and the city council, the grocer had other things in mind.

The scene was set for negotiations. Hy-Vee executives, city council and Leawood Plaza's property owner were all at the table. Most residents expected to hear various options that would keep the Hy-Vee open.

But, Hy-Vee made it clear:

“Our comments to the city that we would entertain and come discuss our project with them, really our project on file at this point in time is really at 135th and Roe,” said Peter Hosch, Hy-Vee’s Assistant Vice President of Store Development.

Referring to a new, bigger store the company would rather build elsewhere. The shift in focus caught Mayor Peggy Dunn and some residents off guard.

“I was a little surprised how much they`re just focusing on the 135th street and Roe site,” Mayor Dunn said.

“Hy-Vee is in my mind, is the villain in this thing because they really misled the public that it could ever happen that they could be saved,” said Hy-Vee customer Julie Fountain.

Hy-Vee executives say over the past year, their vision has changed. Now, they don't think the current location can accommodate their growing needs, like more parking spaces. The executives said it would take a full redevelopment of the shopping center to change their mind, and even that seems too risky.

Still, Mayor Dunn isn`t giving up hope.

“I’m hoping that maybe they’ll figure out a way to work with the shopping center owner to gain some acreage to do what they need to do, because the current location is still the best location for them,” she said.

One thing everyone could agree on Monday night was the need to redevelop the Leawood Plaza Shopping Center. The timeline and financing of that project are unclear right now, but city council seems ready and willing to figure it out.

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    • The Cybernetic Entomologist

      Dillon’s/Kroger isn’t likely to come back to the KC market anytime soon. Hy-Vee and Price Chopper/HenHouse gave them way too much competition and have the distinct market benefit of being locally (or at least regionally) owned. The space or property at 122nd isn’t anywhere near large enough to accomodate Hy-Vee’s new hypermarket concept (that they’ve rolled out at 151/Black Bob and 95/Antioch), whereas 135th/Roe has a large open space to develop into a store, and lots of apartment dwellers nearby.

      • mess27

        Wal-mart is building neighborhood markets every where……I bet they would build one there.

  • Connie Pop

    I believe HyVee acted similarly when they closed the 91st & Metcalf and 95th & Quivira stores and opened the larger store at 95th & Antioch. They want less locations, but bigger stores with more amenities.

    Perhaps a Walmart Neighborhood Market can occupy the space?

  • WhySoSerious

    Hy-Vee is right a better, bigger, location would accommodate more customers, the real issue is from the whiny residents that don’t want to drive 14 blocks to the south and 2 blocks to the west from the current location!

    • The Cybernetic Entomologist

      The new location is also in close proximity to a large number of high-density residential developments (most of which are on the OP side of the line, but still within walking distance). The current 122nd location is in moderate proximity to some low-density housing and a few senior facilities, but the vast majority of the area surrounding it is either commercial (town center and surrounding shopping), office (Sprint, AMC, City of Leawood, etc.), and green space. I don’t blame Hy-Vee in the least for wanting a better location.

      • The Cybernetic Entomologist

        Whoops, was thinking of the Hen House at 119th and Roe for a second. Even so, the residential areas around 122/state line are low-density, and still a lot of green and public space in the immediate vicinity. Much larger potential market at 135/roe, and an underserved one at that (Target and Walmart at 135/SL, and PC at 135/Mission)

  • Scott

    The other issue that Leawood will deal with if the new store opens, Hy Vee will keep the lease at the state line store so no other grocery store could have the opportunity to open in the vacant space. I think it’s called “Grocery Store Blackout”. And when the anchor store closes the rest of the stores most likely will move or go out of business then you’re stuck with a blighted property for years.

    • Tired of my taxes being stolen

      The city offered tax incentives to renovate the current store. Those taxes go towards the outside of the building and HyVee requested that the city also pay for the inside as well as the outside. The city has no choice in using taxes for purposes they were never intended. There would be fraud and theft of taxes if HyVee misused tax incentives for their own gain and spent it on whatever they wanted. When the city said we can’t give tax money intended for one thing and use it for something else, HyVee simply said “We’re forced to close the store” and implicated that the City was forcing them to close or at least refused to help remodel.

      • Our taxes force small businesses to close, pays for big business to remodel

        We now know the real reason HyVee is not remodeling the current store.(they would if they didn’t have to pay for it) The city met again with hopes of providing new offers to keep the store open(Tax incentives). If you were to know the details of the new location, HyVee likely had plans to build there a year ago when they threatened to close if they didn’t get more taxes than the city was providing. When that didn’t happen they say “the city is making us close” but now say “We can’t stay in this location anyways, we need more room”…….WHAT IF they got their way a year ago and misused taxes to pretty up the current store??? As long as it was not their money….who cares? The new location would happen either way, it’s a good thing they refused the offer from the city to use taxes for a short term project in a small location. Scratching my head as to why the city pays for businesses to remodel in the first place while the roads are in horrible shape. Lots of small businesses close due to big companies like this receiving free tax money paid by the small business owners in the area and the people that shop/live near the small business.<<<Chew on that idea awhile.

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