Hy-Vee: ‘No Austin distribution center’

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Hy-Vee, Inc. has decided it will not be moving forward with a proposed Austin distribution center project at this time, according to a Tuesday press release from City Administrator Craig Clark.

Citing changing initiatives for the company, Hy-Vee, Inc. Assistant Vice President Pete Hosch stated, “We are stepping away from the project at this time, but not saying that we won’t ever revisit the facility in Austin.”

Hy-Vee confirmed in September 2017 that it was in the exploratory phase of making plans to build a distribution center in Austin. The project would have constructed a facility that spanned over 1 million square-feet and run along the north side of Interstate 90 and west of County Road 46.  This distribution center would have brought good paying jobs to the community and been a touchstone for Hy-Vee moving more fully into the Minnesota marketplace.

City Administrator Craig Clark

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Hy-Vee announced on Nov. 1, 2017, that the project would be delayed as it was re-evaluating the need for the distribution center due to an adjustment in its growth strategy; however, the company had not made a final decision on the matter at that time.

“This has been a long process which started in 2016, and we would have loved to see Hy-Vee build a new distribution center in Austin,” said Mayor Tom Stiehm. “They have been a great partner. These facts only make the news that much harder to take.”

“Austin was considered amongst several other site locations and we can stand confidently that Austin was the finalist in a highly competitive environment for the distribution center,” Stiehm added. “We’ll still be ready should Hy-Vee reconsider, but we know other companies will take note and I feel strongly there will be other projects that come our way because of the solid ground we put forward as a community. We’ve shown businesses that we’re ready to partner with them on economic development ventures.”

“The grocery sector is going through a lot of changes and it’s understandable that Hy-Vee needed to adjust its plans,” said John Garry, President and CEO of the Development Corporation of Austin. “Austin left a favorable impression on the company and with the state of Minnesota.”

Building on targeted efforts of a shovel ready business park, positioning land for development and standing as a strong financial partner with businesses, Austin will continue to advance other economic development projects to diversify its employment sector, grow its tax base and create good paying jobs, according to Clark.