The latest twist in the Columbia Heights Hy-Vee saga might result in a grocery store after all. According to the staff narrative submitted to the city’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) May 3, Hy-Vee decided not to follow through on building a store at 4300 Central Ave. NE and plans to sell the property.
Alatus, which is working with the city on the new city hall and apartment building at 40th and Central, contacted the city with interest in purchasing the property with the city’s help. Two scenarios for public assistance were floated, either of which would require a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to be established. Alatus is also interested in acquiring some adjacent city-owned land. Though subject to change, the initial proposal includes:
• Between 20-60,000 square-feet of retail space anchored by a grocery store on the east side.
• 400-600 market-rate apartments on the east side above the retail space
• A substantial City park/public open space amenity at the center of the development
• Significant upgrades to area infrastructure for storm water and sanitary sewer utilities
• A low density, single family housing development on the west side of the property
• Underground parking
• Environmentally sustainable amenities, such as solar panels, rain gardens, and high efficiency heat/cooling
Timeline: Alatus would close on the property in July 2021, seek land use approvals in late 2021 or early 2022 with groundbreaking soon after. Alatus would pay the city for its staff time invested in the deal, and was to put down a $10,000 deposit. Tax increment financing means the increased taxes of the finished development go first to pay back the public cost of doing the deal, which would not take place but for the public investment.
According to a post on the city’s website, “the City will seek public feedback on the project as plans move forward. The City is particularly interested in public input on the park portion of the project, which will constitute a new City park in an area that otherwise doesn’t have one. The project has the potential to grow the City’s tax base considerably,” said community development director Aaron Chirpich, “and continue the City’s goal of revitalizing Central Ave into a thriving business district. It could also attract future investments from other developers.” Keep an eye on www.columbiaheightsmn.gov/development for updates.
Sources: EDA May 3 Agenda packet and columbiaheightsmn.gov post.