Updated: H-E-B Isn’t Planning Any Grocery Store on the Harrisburg Blvd. Rail Line

Harrisburg Crossing, 4300-4500 Harrisburg Blvd. at Lockwood, East End, Houston

Former Historic Houston Salvage Warehouse, 4300 Harrisburg Blvd., East End, HoustonUpdate, 3:30 pm: A spokesperson for H-E-B informs Swamplot that the company has no plans for a Joe V’s Smart Shop in this area. Separately, a rep from Lovett Commercial indicates that the plans and declaration posted on its website that a Joe V’s Smart Shop is coming to the center are “outdated,” and that no grocery store is currently planned for that site. We’ve updated the story below accordingly.

This row of metal warehouse buildings at 4300 Harrisburg Blvd. was used for a time recently as a temporary home for the Historic Houston salvage warehouse and more recently as a spraypaint-covered tribute to the deceased graffiti artist known as Nekst (see video below) — will be torn down to make way for a new grocery store from H-E-B, according to site plans posted online by the property’s developer. The 5.34-acre site, which stretches between Oakhurst St. and Eastwood St., sits just east of the Maximus Coffee plant east of Downtown, and just north of Eastwood. This should be the first new grocery store built on a light rail line, but it won’t be a conventional H-E-B. Instead, the plans show it’ll be a Joe V’s Smart Shop, the Texas grocery chain’s low-cost, low-selection, high-volume, low-touch warehouse-style market.


Details about what would likely be the 7th Houston-area Joe V’s (the first in the chain opened on Antoine north of Beltway 8 in 2010) are were included in a flyer put out by developer Lovett Commercial, which is seeking tenants for Harrisburg Crossing, the combined office-and-retail center it’s planning that incorporates the Joe V’s and that runs east to the CVS at the corner of Harrisburg and Lockwood.

The Joe V’s will measure 60,000 sq. ft. and include approximately 350 surface parking spots, according to the plan. The new building will sit at the far western edge of its block. The retail center on the block east of Eastwood St. will include a couple rows of parking facing Harrisburg, but will hide a 4-story parking garage in back, backing up to the freight rail tracks, according to the plans. On the eastern side of the retail strip, adjacent to the CVS, a 3-story, 100,000-sq.-ft. office building is planned. A drive-around “pad site” island building is planned for the spot facing Lockwood, directly south of the CVS.

Here’s the site plan that was included in the flyer, rotated to allow a better view. North is to the right:

Harrisburg Crossing, 4300-4500 Harrisburg Blvd. at Lockwood, East End, Houston

Historic Houston has since moved its salvage operations to a warehouse at 1200 National St.

Video: Neff Starr. Photo: Historic Houston. Plans: Lovett Commercial

No Ice

28 Comment

  • Great news for this neighborhood!

  • I’m struggling with the thought process on this one. You have a new development along a light rail line. You orient the supermarket on the furthest possible corner of the site from the rail stop, placing a 350-space asphalt parking lot between the store and transit passengers. Then on the rest of the site, you make sure to have two rows of strip-mall parking between the street and retail.
    At least there’s vertical parking on part of the site, but it seems dumb to me to not push the facade all the way to the street to make the walk from the rail stop to the HEB a little more pleasant.

  • That flyer has been up for at least a year. Is there any reason to think this project is actually happening?


  • @Angostura The site plan lays out that way because there does not appear to be adequate area at the eastern end of the site to accommodate grocery store parking. I’m not sure of the dimensions of this site plan, but as it’s designed, I would be the grocery store is almost 1/4 mile from the rail stop – outside the distance most people would consider walking to use transit.

    Lovett possibly could have put the store on the western end (if HEB had let them) but probably would not have as much developable square footage from the other uses.

    HEB doesn’t make many mistakes with store merchandising, but I am a little surprised they would go with Joe Vs flag here rather than even a traditional HEB. Maybe if the store were further east on Harrisburg, but with the redevelopment in the East End and gentrification ongoing in Eastwood, I’m not sure they’ll hit the demographics in that submarket, particularly income levels.

  • Cuz I always take the lightrail to buy my pallets of discount grocery items…
    Though I guess when Scary Kroger, Pigeon-infested Fiesta, and overpriced Walmart are your options, this can’t be worse!

  • Living a few blocks east of this, I want to like it so much, but for the love of all that is holy, does anyone in this city know how to build something that actually belongs in a city?

  • @Angostura – It makes no more sense than the layout of the Wheeler train station. There are several other connecting bus stops a within a few blocks radius, as well as Fiesta and Sears (both across a grass lot, 2 busy streets, and an asphalt parking lot. Oh – and a Crack in the Box. Nothing else nearby within walking distance, yet it’s the probably the most used station on the Red Line.

  • I don’t get this. Are they not watching the real estate in the neighborhood? Or are they not expecting there to be much of a real switch in tems of clientele in the next 2-3 years. Eastwood is not really low price neighborhood anymore. North of Harrisburg sort of still is, at least east of Lockwood, but south of there? Those are expensive properties. Why put a Joe V’s instead of a full HEB?

    Either way though, it’s still good news for the neighborhood. That Harrisburg corridor is destined for goodness (not greatness, but goodness) and this will help with that.

  • On a rail line in Eastwood they should have put a Central Market.

  • It’s really frustrating for Eastwood residents to get denied a major grocer. Joe V is using outdated census income/demographic data (2010) and therefore believes it’s not feasible to come to the area. I believe Eastwood can support an HEB. Eado will also benefit. But as for Joe V: Strike One..there’s isn’t enough traffic count on/near Harrisburg to support the supermarket. ..again, Joe V using outdated (2006) traffic count data. Strike Two: Visibility (Maxim Coffee, surrounding structures/warehouses). Grocers need to pay attention to this area. First grocer who comes to the area will be ahead the curve and reap the rewards.

  • I bet they would build it if the City sweetened it with a 6 mil tax deal. Oops. Opening old wounds.

  • I’ve lived directly north of this empty lot for 5 years now. It’s been “under development” for over 10 years. First, it was going to be a conventional shopping center, then when we moved here in the East End, it was going to become multilevel apartments with retail on the bottom (that came from a Lovett rep himself), then a year ago it morphed into this shopping center plan, with office space above, parking garage in back and a Joe V’s grocery store. I’m convinced at this point Lovett is idly sitting on the property solely to resell and has no intentions of redeveloping it. Even though more grocery store options are greatly needed in the East End, I am glad Joe V’s isn’t happening. After waiting this long for redevelopment, East End residents deserve a store classier than that.

  • I would not think HEB would ever consider putting a store on Harrisburg again. They had one at Adams St. then closed it and moved out 45 to Belfort. Built at Gulfgate and closed Belfort and now Gulfgate has gone to the dogs.

  • The Eastwood area needs a newer grocery store. Central Market, Signature Kroger, HEB will do. The sad Kroger on Polk and Cullen needs a face lift and better products.

  • For that area more likely someone opens up a Sunny’s convenience store than a Central Market or HEB.

  • East Enders and EaDoites, focus on getting Kroger to fix up its existing store. The population density in the western part of the East End isn’t high enough to justify another full grocery store, and the eastern part of the East End is lower income and already has four grocerty stores, if you count Walmart. Then there’s the Gulfgate HEB (why do people keep saying it’s bad? Really?)

    Keep in mind the Heights screamed for better retail for many many years, long after gentrification was well underway. Kroger fixed up its 11th Street store and STILL people complain. It won’t be any different in the East End. Just because there’s maybe a few hundred middle class and affluent households living there now in no way justifies a new full-size store, let alone an upscale one. Get a few thousand more affluent households, and then let’s talk.

  • Central Market? you guys are dreaming

  • Not sure I understand where all the hate for the current kroger is, yes, it’s a bit dusty, and reminds me of the 1970s, but it has a good produce department, a good meat department, a good dairy department, and what else do you need? They don’t have designer cupcakes, or extravagant olive oil, but for staple products, they are as good as any. They even have kale, that should placate the hipster in everyone.

  • Toasty,
    For middle aisle products it is basically the same as every store except a the tick-more-upscale items that you might find at HEB. However the produce is mostly limited and mostly terrible. Occasionally you’ll find a nice cache of peaches or avocados or something like that but I find a lot of the produce wilted or dried-out. That makes shopping there unworkable for me.

  • There was a large Kroger at Wayside and Polk years ago. It took up the entire building that is now the thrift store and the dialysis place. It was newer than Combat Kroger and nicer. It closed about the same time Fiesta Wayside was built. I can understand why they felt that stretch of Wayside would not support 2 large grocery stores but I really think that the folks that shop at Combat would have made the trip on down Polk to Wayside. I shopped there even though the manager was a real prick.

  • @Local Planner: East End’s business and civic organizations have tried for over a decade to get Kroger to improve the store on Polk (or build a new, bigger one) with no results. It was cleaned up a bit a couple of years ago, but that’s all the Kroger folks will do.

    @toasty: The produce, dairy, meat, bakery, deli and frozen food departments at the Kroger on Polk have extremely limited selections and what there isn’t always the best quality. Many Eastwood area residents drive across town to do their grocery shopping.

  • Odd. I admit to shopping at other grocery stores for the more artisan stuff, but I am in that Kroger 3x a week and have never had a problem with any of the produce.

  • Combat Kroger has improved a little, but the meat is still expired and the bread/cereal damp. Why stand in a long line of teenagers buying diapers from a single cashier that is mentally disabled when you can drive to the Fiesta on Wayside and be in and out in 5 minutes. For recognizable meat without a bone attached or parmesan cheese, we still have to drive to the Heights Walmart, since the Idylwood Walmart has already become the Gulfgate HEB…

  • But, but, but, the Gulfgate HEB has become the Pasadena Mi Tienda!!

  • Lovett has removed the listing from their website. Maybe they do plan on selling it? Glad it’s not becoming a Joe V, the area does deserve a little better than that.

  • The area that would support a supermarket at that, or any nearby location, is still 90% a low-income, low-education spanish-speaking zone where the people spend as little as possible on food and buy lots of cheap, unhealthy stuff. If they were to build a super-sized mexican Michoacana mkt the placed would probably be packed from day 1 with a few yuppies wandering around wondering where the organic cilantro is. As for the development at that spot, the same applies for the time being; dollar store, pawn shop, title loans.
    The area is in transistion though but it hasn’t reached the tipping point where any upscalish grocer could sleep well believing that, if they build something there, there would be a line of non-immigrant types with some $ lining up outside for the grand opening. Those two demographics are a bit tough to blend in a supermarket.

  • @Dana-X: Thank you for laying out the reality in simple fashion. Add to the demographic issue that the population density in the western part of the East End, and EaDo too, is just flat out low.

    Change is coming eventually. But gentrifiers, here and in other parts of Houston, have to realize that a few hundred affluent households (or even a couple thousand) does not a 60,000 square foot upscale grocery store make. It may take even more households here than in affluent suburbs, because these urban households have fewer kids (family households spend more on groceries).

    Until then, get used to Combat Kroger, Wayside Walmart, Wayside Fiesta, Gulfgate HEB, and the two Sellers Bros. Or drive to the Midtown Randalls and the Montrose grocery stores.

  • Y’all are speculating. Like many Proposed real estate deals in Houston: I’ll believe it when it is ACTUALLY built. Until then …all talk.. and NO action!!!!