H-E-B’s Leased Washington Ave. Store May Have 6 Stories on Top

H-E-B mapped on Washington Ave. by Braun Enterprises

Looks like the logo spotted in that Braun flier earlier this year wasn’t too far off the mark: a lease signed in May by H-E-B for a new store on Washington Ave., which Nancy Sarnoff noted yesterday afternoon, includes some preliminary layout drawings for the grocery chain’s claimed spot — at the foot of what looks to be a mixed-used midrise planned on the Memorial Heights apartment complex property. (Also included in the document: the name Northbank Condominium #1, which sounds a lot like that trademark that Midway was working on earlier this year.) H-E-B Houston president Scott McClelland told Sarnoff that this doesn’t change the company’s interest in putting a store on the former N. Shepherd Fiesta site (and backing the ongoing campaign to get the Heights dry laws dampened); Sarnoff reports that the company would ideally like stores on Washington Ave., N. Shepherd, and in Garden Oaks, if they can find places to put them.

Where exactly will the Washington store land? The lease shows a preliminary footprint right at the corner with Heights Blvd., stretching not quite to Wagner St. to the east. H-E-B’s yet-to-be-built space looks to include a 91,000-sq.-ft. ground floor store, topped by a layer of parking on the second level of the structure (plus about 6,600 sq. ft. more of non-parking space). The document filed with the Harris County clerk’s office also shows plans for 5 more levels split between more parking and room for other tenants — including what it tallies up as about 36,000 sq. ft of office space and about 262,900 sq. ft. of multifamily residential space. A 2,200-sq.-ft. retail spot is also tucked in on the ground floor on the east side of H-E-B’s main store area.

Drawings in the doc depict the H-E-B-footed structure fitting into the space marked Zone A in the diagram below, just north of the northern edge of the Memorial Heights Villages midrise:


H-E-B preliminary plans for Washington Ave. at Heights Blvd.

Images: Braun (flier), Harris County Clerk (diagram from leasing document)

Northbank on Washington Ave.

20 Comment

  • id love to have an HEB close but the traffic is gunna get even worse!

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the HEB was interested in putting a store on the parcel Grocer’s Supply occupied at the corner of Washington and Studemont? Does anyone know what the plans are over there?

  • The location is actually Heights Blvd & Washington, SE corner, not the Yale-Walmart area. Still, yes there will be traffic as this store will be quite large.

    Had the information about the lease that was signed in May been confirmed, we may not have had the issue of carry-out alcohol up to 17% on the ballot. My email inquiries to HEB’s PR department resulted in flat denial that there were any plans to build on Washington Avenue. Not being an investigative reporter, I didn’t know about digging through the county clerk’s office.

  • So those in the dry area can vote AGAINST and still have an HEB!!!!
    Perfect end to this nonsense!

  • Seems unfair that this is just coming out now.

    I wish I had voted against making the Heights wet.

    This location is so much better. Anyway – biggest store in the region – even bigger than the Fiesta site by 20%!

  • DM,
    A denial from HEB is odd, since they’ve been saying publicly since March that they were seeking to put a store on Washington.
    That said, I have no doubt they saw it in their interest to delay a public announcement until after Nov 8.

  • If they do not install a traffic signal at where it says “ZONE A.1” on the map, thousands will die. They should also make the light at Wash and S. Heights into one of those lights that allows pedestrians to cross with all traffic stopped. Add to that a real protected bike lane from the White Oak trail down Heights to Wash Ave and HOLY SHIT!!!!! Houston will actually have good urban density instead of perpetual Katyville along I-10. This is really good stuff. I am a bit surprised that HEB is doing this in addition to the store on W 23rd. The two will definitely cannibalize customers from each other. And this certainly is a bit of a Comey moment for HEB and the dry zone vote.

  • great news, this will really plug that 0.5 mile radius food desert.

  • ShadyHeightster no that area’s going to be a mixture of smaller units, looks like they’re getting on well with the construction of the clinic already. One or two big shops but not HEB scale


  • I am a proponent for higher density in the loop, but this area does not have enough north/south arterial roads to handle all the traffic that is trying to get to-and-from I-10 while also trying to handle the local traffic. Also, I agree with above that bike and pedestrian traffic would have to fear for their lives around that intersection in conjunction with the outdated Memorial/Waugh interchange.

    As a Heights resident against changing our community’s dry quirk for the benefit of (mainly) one business, I find HEBs disingenuous tactics to be upsetting. HEB has been sending out this strange message to residences that the Heights is “in danger of being a food desert” and that “a vote FOR is a vote for more food choices”. With the current options we already have and the number of sites that HEB has in mind for the area, those messages are flat out lies.

    Keep Heights dry. HEB will figure it out without Prop 1

  • I’ve been waiting for HEB to take over the West Gray Kroger’s. I live one block away and hate that store.

  • What is the update about Blalock Woods at 1111 Blalock? There are people talking a 6 story or higher residential Tower. There is a new street being added on this site.

  • Those of you complaining about traffic: 1) having more grocery options per square mile ought to reduce the average time and distance a person spends traveling to a grocery store; 2) The extent to which a grocery store might add to traffic congestion should only be considered in the context of whether it is capable of inducing a greater percentage of additional trips than the concomitant percentage reduction in the distance traveled; 3) similar observations can be made regarding the effect of residential infill and commuting to work; and 4) If one is an especially greedy and unrepentant asshole, one might be concerned about the localized effects of traffic at a particular intersection, which are certainly acute, and completely disregard the broader impact on the community.

  • Pretty sure HEB is already going in the Firesta site. Even if they dont get to sell alcohol.

  • Niche is right. An HEB on this site will not generate demand for groceries. When considering the trips induced by this development, you have to net out the trips those people would have made otherwise. In this case, probably the WF on Waugh or the Kroger on Studemont, and to a lesser extent, the Sprouts on Yale. Plus, some of the customers of this HEB will walk there from their apartments on site. In theory, higher density ought to reduce total miles traveled.
    That said, it will probably take longer to turn left from SB Heights onto Washington, unless of course, the partial prohibition repeal passes and some of those Heights residents go to 23rd and Shepherd instead.
    These two new stores are actually less close together than the Central Market, Buffalo Speedway and Montrose stores, with similar population densities

  • I saw the “food desert” flier this weekend. That is really pushing it. Ask the folks in Sunnyside about a food desert. The Heights is getting to be a food Amazon rain forest.
    This area is a complete mess at 5:30 pm. The mornings are not bad. HEB, especially the fancier innerloop/Galleria versions, is not Walmart of Costco. People do not only go to HEB for their once a week dose of “mass quantities” (said with Conehead accent). There are more prepared food offerings that bring people in for meals for carryout or to eat on site. And the Houston density Catch 22 is that having grocers closer to home encourages people to make multiple trips during the week instead of doing a single weekly excursion to fill the SUV with 6 lb bags of frozen chicken wings. Without substantial pedestrian improvements in the area and the still existing trend of Katyville along I-10 (Yes, I am talking about you, Tarkett developers), the net effect of HEB will be lots of traffic. The ideal model would be to go back to HEB’s pantry concept with multiple stores in the area instead of one or two monsters. But HEB makes more money when they can stuff the shelves with 2 weeks worth of Hot Pockets rather than having to restock every week.

  • Really cool plan. Keep the density of the existing suburban-style apartment complex, add a walkable grocery store, and convert it all into a friendlier urban form.

    One area which still badly needs a walkable grocery store is the Museum District/Southampton/Boulevard Oaks area. Closest stores are in the heart of Montrose.

  • >”If they do not install a traffic signal at where it says “ZONE A.1” on the map, thousands will die.”
    Or just do hooked lefts. 90% cheaper.

  • @ Old School: HEB has tried the ‘Pantry’ concept, just as Wal-Mart has tried the ‘Neighborhood Market’ concept, and neither has been very successful. Furthermore, locals in the Greater Heights have been dissing the existing HEB Pantry on Ella for a quite a long time — and not only for its location.
    The bigget problem with these stores is geometric. A small store can only carry the most essential items; and that puts them competing with convenience stores which are attached to some anchor service like a pharmacy or a gas station that draws people in 24/7. But…the affluent consumers that HEB wants to tap into want a store with a nice atmosphere, numerous amenities, and a wide selection. That’s precisely what they’ve been told by Heights denizens for years. A new grocery store has to stand out as a destination unto itself and you can’t possibly achieve that in a small space without radically re-thinking your business model (a la Trader Joe’s).
    I say, bring on this food Amazon rain forest of which you speak! That sounds exciting.

  • There is a neighborhood market being built in Sugar Land so perhaps it really is successful.