Iowa-based grocery chain Hy-Vee is moving forward with plans to build a grocery store on the site of a former Clairemont Avenue Kmart store.
The Eau Claire Plan Commission is slated Monday to discuss a proposed site plan for the building, 2424 E. Clairemont Ave., which would turn the shuttered big box store into a full-service grocery store.
Hy-Vee is proposing demolishing the store, which faces south, and its parking lot, according to city documents. The store was built in 1963.
A one-story, 96,000-square-foot Hy-Vee grocery store would replace it, facing west toward Memorial High School, with a parking lot between the store and Fairfax Street.
Hy-Vee operates more than 240 retail stores throughout the Midwest, including one in Madison and two in Fitchburg. Some of its stores offer catering, flowers and photo and pharmacy services in addition to food.
The company said in April 2019 it had signed a purchase agreement for the vacant Kmart store, which sits on about 10 acres.
Hy-Vee in July conducted surveys and environmental testing at the site, “going through some due diligence items that we have to do prior to purchasing the site,” said Christina Gayman, Hy-Vee director of public relations.
According to city tax records, the property’s current owner is Clairemont Properties, and property records list an address for real estate developer Commonweal Development.
Hy-Vee hasn’t set a construction start date for the proposed Eau Claire store, Gayman told the Leader-Telegram Wednesday.
The store would hire about 400 employees, including about 100 full-time employees, said John Brehm, Hy-Vee site planning director, in an Aug. 2 letter to Eau Claire community development director Scott Allen.
The company doesn’t plan to release the cost of the project, Gayman said.
The property was last sold in August 2009 for $3.8 million, according to city property records.
The Hy-Vee store may include a floral shop, wine and spirits section, Market Grille restaurant, pharmacy, dietitian services, coffee shop, apparel section, food court and electric vehicle charging, Brehm said in the letter.
Gayman said Wednesday the company hasn’t confirmed which amenities the Eau Claire store will offer.
The parking lot would span 552 parking stalls, including 20 stalls for a business next door.
A Hy-Vee seasonal display would cover 50 to 60 stalls, and snow storage would cover another 50 to 60 stalls depending on the year, according to the site plan.
The building’s west side, facing a Holiday gas station, would be the store’s main entrance. The south side of the building facing Clairemont Avenue would become a pharmacy and online pickup area.
Hy-Vee is proposing three entryways to the store: Ridge Road from the north, Fairfax Street from the west and a new south entrance to the store from Clairemont Avenue.
The site plan noted: “We are proposing the addition of a right-in, right-out access point off Clairemont to open up access to the site, relieve traffic pressure off Pleasant Street and make getting to the store more intuitive.”
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will conduct an analysis to decide if a Clairemont Avenue entrance is needed, and a new entrance would need DOT approval, according to the city Community Development division.
The store would likely recycle much of the demolished building and re-use the pavement, Brehm said.
Hy-Vee is also requesting four stalls of bicycle parking in its site plan, instead of a required 45 stalls.
Kmart closed the store in February 2015, according to Leader-Telegram records.
The Plan Commission is slated to meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Eau Claire County Courthouse, 721 Oxford Ave., Room 1277.