March 6, 2014 | 11:13 pmNew Pioneer Food Co-op will once again attempt to relocate its Iowa City store after members approved the measure.
The yes vote gives the board approval to move forward with negotiations to secure a downtown location as the new home for its flagship store or open a second store elsewhere in Iowa City.
The board of directors announced Monday that out of the 2,193 ballots cast, 2,039 members voted yes to the move — which is about a 93 percent approval rate.
The grocery store said in early December that it hoped to relocate the store from 22 S. Van Buren St. to a multiple-story development built above the parking lot of Robert A. Lee Recreation Center.
The project would give New Pioneer 10,000 square feet of retail space that would include deli seating, classroom space and 60 to 80 parking spaces. The development could be at most six stories tall, with New Pioneer located on the first floor and potential residential space above.
A letter to members said it could take two to three years to complete.
This is not the first time New Pioneer has attempted to relocate its Iowa City store.
New Pioneer leaders asked the Iowa City Council to relocate its 5,000-square-foot store to the central business district in January, but the city council awarded the property to developer Marc Moen, who plans to build a 20-story building with first-floor retail that includes a bowling alley and movie theater.
This announcement comes on the heels of another big move fore New Pioneer, which said in October that it would open a third location in Cedar Rapids by early 2015. That building will also have about 10,000 square feet of retail space, which is similar in size to its Coralville location.