New price approved for former Hy-Vee building; Slaby and Associates to acquire building for $400,000 on Aug. 1

Published 8:27 am Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Austin Port Authority approved a proposal from Verona, Wisconsin, based firm Slaby and Associates to purchase the former Hy-Vee building and Farmer’s Market lot for $400,000 during a special meeting on Wednesday.

The vote was 5 to 1, with Port Authority member Michaell Bednar casting the dissenting vote.

The original contract, approved in July 2017, set the sale price at $800,000. Under the contract, Slaby and Associates would have to either successfully market the 52,000-square-foot building for five tenants – including an anchor store – or it would withdraw from the agreement.

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According to City Administrator and Port Authority Executive Director Craig Clark, Slaby and Associates received letters of intent from three of five prospective tenants. That, along with rising construction costs, lending requirements and appraisals, prompted Slaby and Associates request to lower the price.

The three tenants, according to Slaby and Associates Vice President Victor Baeten, are Marshalls, Five Below and Pet Supplies Plus.

“One of the number one concerns from residents is that Austin doesn’t have enough shopping,” said Mayor Tom Stiehm, who expressed his support during the public hearing section of the meeting. “I think that it would be a boost for our economy.”

“Retail replaces retail; when these three come to town, there will be three that will go out of business that have been here for years.” said Councilman David Hagen, who opposed the deal. He said he felt the Younkers building would be more appropriate and that the land where the former Hy-Vee currently sits should be used for housing development.

The deal will close on Aug. 1.

Under Minnesota statute, the Port Authority is required to publish notice of the sale no more than 20 days and no less than 10 days out.

Baeten said that Slaby and Associates will begin construction as soon as possible in the hopes of getting the new tenants open before the 2019 holiday season.

Should Slaby and Associates pull out of the deal, the Port Authority has the option to buy back the property. Should that happen, Hy-Vee will be responsible for demolishing the building.

The agreement also says Slaby and Associates need to establish a new building at the Farmer’s Market lot, located between O’Reilly Auto Parts and the Hy-Vee gas station, which will have a “fast casual” or “sit-down” restaurant along with three other tenants.

Prospective tenants

Slaby and Associates have received letters of intent from three prospective tenants to occupy the old Hy-Vee building once construction work is complete. Baeten said Slaby and Associates have spoken to 180 possible tenants in an effort to find the right tenant mix.


A chain of department stores owned by TJX Companies, Marshalls is the second largest off-price family apparel and home fashion retailer in the United States.

Five Below

A chain of discount stores that sells products that cost up to $5, Five Below is aimed at kids, teens and pre-teens, though it also offers products for adults.

Pet Supplies Plus

A privately held pet supply retailing outlet, Pet Supplies Plus in the third largest specialty pet food retailer in the United States.