The Big Hollow Food Coop in Laramie has one final step in the multi-year journey towards expansion into the Empress lot.

The coop is awaiting final approval of the project by the State Land and Investment Board, which will vote on Jan. 19.

The Wyoming Business Council voted unanimously earlier this month to recommend a $3 million grant for redevelopments to the Empress lot. The city requested money to build a two-story building downtown, with retail spaces on the first floor and residential spaces on the second floor. The coop has pre-leased the ground floor in the planned building.

Jeff Hubbell, Big Hollow Food Coop assistant manager, said the coop had been examining options for expansion for about 3 years.

“We had been looking at options for expansion such as a satellite store or even expansion of our current building. A survey of our members revealed that they wanted Big Hollow to stay downtown,” Hubbell said.

Hubbell said the Laramie Main Street Alliance had been looking at ways to redevelop the Empress lot for several years. He said that the coop was approached for being potential tenants for a new building being planned in the Empress lot.

“The new space would double our square footage,” Hubbell said.

Hubbell said that pending SLIB approval, ground will be broken for construction of the new building in 2017.

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