The Fresh Market Inc. signed a 10-year lease on Dec. 24 for space in the Mills Crossing mixed-use center that is being developed by Hurd Real Estate Services Inc. at 60th Street and Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines. 

The lease was filed Feb. 2 with the Polk County recorder. Richard Hurd could not be reached for comment and a spokeswoman for 33-year-old Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market could not comment on the grocery chain's plans for West Des Moines and the Greater Des Moines market. 

It is widely speculated that The Fresh Market also is looking at other locations in Greater Des Moines, including property Hurd is developing at 31st Street and Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines. The company is noted for taking a slow and deliberate approach to developing stores, with projects based on demographics that trend toward higher levels of education and income in well-traveled corridors. 

This would be the first store for The Fresh Market in Greater Des Moines and its second in Iowa. West Des Moines development officials expect to consider in the next several weeks plans for a three-bay retail building at Mills Crossing, where Hurd also plans to build an office building for his Hurd Real Estate Services. 

Land development of the 20--acre site has been underway for several weeks. Meanwhile, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, another specialty grocer, is expected to open at what is now called Clocktower Square at 28th Street and University Avenue in West Des Moines.

An application with the city for new signage suggests that the shopping center will be renamed Fresh Thyme Plaza. Fresh Thyme has been based in Phoenix but is moving its headquarters to the Chicago area, according to Crain's Chicago Business.