Kwik Trip likely to close on Watts deal April 15Published 10:30am Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Company eyes fourth location
Kwik Trip is weeks away from closing on a deal to bring its third gas station to Austin, but the La Crosse, Wis-based company is already eying a fourth Austin location.
Hans Zietlow, director of real estate at Kwik Trip, confirmed the company plans to close on a deal to buy the Watts Cookin’ and Austin Auto Truck Plaza on April 15.
He also confirmed the company wants to one day build another Kwik Trip in northwest Austin, but no plans are imminent and it won’t necessarily be at the Gymocha property at 1300 14 St NW, which Kwik Trip bought for $365,000 last month.
“We just bought it to keep potential options open,” Zietlow said, adding he wished the company would have bought it sooner and describing it as a strategic land purchase.
But first, Kwik Trip will get to work on its third Austin location later this month. After closing on the property, the store will close for a few days to be converted and rebranded as a Kwik Trip.
“We will do our best to keep fuel open,” Zietlow said.
Kwik Trip plans to start construction on a $5-million, 6,000- to 7,000-square-foot truck stop in July. The current truck stop will remain open during construction, as the new truck stop would be in a different location on the property.
The new store will be a little larger and nicer than the new Albert Lea location finished last year, and Zietlow expects it will open this fall.
The site appealed to Kwik Trip because it offered a location with diesel right along Interstate 90. The new station will sell compressed natural gas, or CNG, which the company sees as the fuel of the future, Zietlow said. While CNG can be used as an alternative to gasoline or diesel, only a small percentage of vehicles on the U.S. market run on CNG. The Austin truck stop would be one of only 19 Kwik Trips that sell CNG, according to its website, although that includes one in Rochester, Owatonna and Mankato, and the new Kwik Trip in Albert Lea will sell it this spring.
Kwik Trip, which would own about five additional acres, hopes to lease space to build a sit-down restaurant and a hotel. A restaurant could occupy two acres and a hotel could take three acres, but there are no deals in the works right now, according to Zietlow.
If Kwik Trip eventually moves forward on a location in Northwest Austin, Zietlow expects the current sites — 1401 Fourth St. NW and 1201 W. Oakland Ave. — to remain open.
Zietlow praised city of Austin staff as being proactive and great to work with during this process.
Kwik Trip, founded in 1965 in Eau Claire, Wis., has more than 10,000 employees and about 450 locations in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, including about 110 in Minnesota, according to its website.