The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities acknowledged Thursday that grocery chain Hy-Vee wants to buy its West St. Paul property.
In an email to members of its West St. Paul branch, the YMCA said the Iowa-based grocer was the one that signed a purchase agreement in December for the 10-acre site just east of the retail-heavy South Robert Street.
The Y’s announcement confirmed what many in the community had suspected. For more than a year, rumors have swirled about Hy-Vee’s interest in the property. However, the grocer, the Y and city officials were not willing to speak publicly about it.
That changed Thursday.
City Manager Ryan Schroeder said the city council will consider a development agreement with Hy-Vee at its Monday meeting. The agreement includes the size of the proposed store and any investment the city will make, he said. It also specifies who will pay for infrastructure enhancements.
Adjacent to the YMCA, the city owns 23 acres that used to be Thompson Oaks Golf Course. In February, the council voted to close the course.
For nearly a year, the council has been discussing selling the land to a developer that would build townhomes and senior housing. No deal has been finalized, Schroeder said, but in a Monday closed meeting, the staff expects to get more direction from the council.
“We have parties that we’re in discussions with,” he said. “It seems like we’re getting close to bringing something specific to the city council. But whether that means a month or two months or six months, I don’t know.”
In August, the YMCA said it would keep its West St. Paul location open through mid-2019 as it nails down a new site.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Hy-Vee, based in West Des Moines, confirmed the company is exploring the Y site as a future location. She said nothing has been finalized.
Hy-Vee entered the Twin Cities market in 2015 with a New Hope store. It has since opened eight others, and has plans for four more.
The West St. Paul YMCA branch serves about 7,000 members. A Y study concluded that, compared with other suburban sites, the building was outdated and not big enough to serve the community’s long-term needs.