Iowa’s oldest shopping center, Town & Country in southeast Cedar Rapids, will gain a new Fareway Store early next year.
The Boone-based supermarket chain is planning a 31,000-square-foot store at the northeast end of the 58-year-old retail center. Joanne Mauck, Town & Country property manager, told the Cedar Rapids Historic Preservation Commission that a large retail building and two adjacent smaller stores will be demolished to provide space for the new Fareway.
Frederick Greiner, Fareway president and chief operating officer, said the store at 3611 First Ave. SE will be about 7,000 square feet larger than the company’s existing supermarkets in southwest Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Marion.
“There will be a 10-foot buffer between our building and the rest of the shopping center,” Greiner said. “The store will offer a meat counter, fresh produce, more organics and gluten-free foods. It also will have a fresh bakery, very similar to what we have at our store in Waverly.”
The 31,000-square-foot Waverly store, constructed in 2008 to replace an older, smaller Fareway, features a more contemporary exterior. Greiner said the store at Town & Country also will incorporate many of the design elements of the Waverly store.
Greiner said demolition of the Town & Country stores will begin as soon as the cold weather breaks. While he would like to see the new Fareway open by the end of 2014, Greiner said a more realistic timetable will likely push that back to early 2015.
“We believe this location will help revitalize Town & Country Shopping Center,” Greiner said. “We have customers who are having to drive some distance to our Cedar Rapids or Hiawatha stores and this will fill in the market for us.
“There are a lot of good businesses in that area of the community and we think that’s a good place to be.”
Greiner said Fareway will hire in excess of 100 employees for the new store.
“We also will bring in some experienced employees from our other stores,” he said. “We expect to hire a majority of the employees from the surrounding area.”
Town & Country Shopping Center, developed by Martin and Matthew Bucksbaum, opened in May 1956. The shopping center launched the careers of the Bucksbaum brothers, who went on to form General Growth Properties, the owner of Coral Ridge Mall and Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines.
The largest building slated for demolition at Town & Country housed a Sun Mart supermarket in the early days of the shopping center. Over the years, various tenants occupied the space including — most recently — a bridal shop.
Vern Zakostelecky with the city’s community development department, said the former Town & Country Bowl was located in the basement of one of the smaller stores that will be demolished. He said that area will be filled in before construction begins on the new Fareway store.
Fareway, founded in May 1938, is a growing Midwest grocery company with more than 100 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.