Hy-Vee issued permit for Northwest Peoria

More than three years after first being approved, Hy-Vee is coming to Northwest Peoria near The Shoppes at Grand Prairie.

A foundation permit was issued Friday for the grocery store, senior city planner Leah Allison said. That effectively enables the Iowa-based chain to begin preliminary work on the site off Orange Prairie Road, near the company’s gas station and convenience store that opened Aug. 14.

Construction is expected to begin next month on the 90,000-square-foot store, Hy-Vee spokeswoman Tara Deering-Hansen said by email Friday afternoon, with a tentative opening slated for “early summer” next year.

As recently as last month, company officials were saying that it could be a year to 18 months before ground was broken on the grocery store, for which zoning changes were first approved by the City Council in August 2011.

Since that approval, Hy-Vee officials have said they did not have a specific timetable in mind for construction or opening of the store, and property in other communities — notably in Springfield — was similarly in limbo awaiting a decision on when to begin work.

But City Council members have been continuing to work with the company over the past few years to smooth the process and work toward the start of construction.

“I feel like one of the things we’ve worked on is customer satisfaction,” 5th District Councilman Casey Johnson said. “We wanted to make sure this was as good of a process as we could.”

Once complete and open, the new store is expected to be slightly larger than its Central Peoria cousin located in the Sheridan Village shopping center, and Deering-Hansen said the store will be responsible for 450 full- and part-time jobs in the area.

In addition to amenities similar to the existing Peoria store, the second location also will boast a full-service restaurant and bar called the Market Grille inside the store.

When council members initially approved the zoning change to allow the new store, the expectation was that it would not only pull customers from Peoria, but also from points both northwest and southwest, including Farmington, Trivoli, Kickapoo and Princeville.

Hy-Vee operates about 230 stores in eight Midwestern states. About 140 of those have adjacent convenience stores.