Almost two years after Festival Foods got Verona buzzing by proposing a second grocery to compete with Miller and Sons Supermarket, the plan is back in front of the city with a goal to start building on this spring.

The De Pere-based grocery chain has proposed some mostly visual and internal revisions to an expired approved plan to build what would now be a 67,000-square-foot store on Hometown Circle. The city’s Plan Commission will review it Monday, Feb. 4

The city approved Festival’s plans in November 2017, but after growing from 21 stores to 31 from early 2016 to early 2018, the 73-year-old family-owned company decided to slow its expansion.

A spokesman for the project told the Press last month the plan is to get in the ground this spring and be open by the fall – about six months earlier than had been projected last March.

Curt Mauer said the company still plans to hire about 250 employees.

He added that the 300-foot-long facade of the building is getting a completely new look to fit a “new prototype that Festival is introducing.”

The approved project had a mostly white front with rainbow colors on its gabled sign, and a submission to the city shows it going to a darker, more earthy-toned appearance, laden with brown and green, and a blocky, modernistic look that more resembles the adjacent Farm and Fleet store.

The new plan also makes some small adjustments to the structure of the building, mostly as a result of internal reorientation to “stay current with the latest demands” of the industry, according to the submission. The previously approved plan had gone through some traffic-flow changes to win the Plan Commission’s support, and the building, which is “slightly smaller,” fits within the approved plan, the submission asserts.

“Everything is pretty much the same except the architectural elements of the building,” Mauer said.

Because the only significant external changes are visual, the plan is not restarting completely, but rather revisiting the third and final stage of the planned-unit development process, the precise implementation plan, for an initial review. That means it can earn the Common Council’s approval as early as the second week in March.

Contractors are expected to in the coming weeks begin pulling out old piping from the Dane County facilities that had been on the site decades ago.

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