Is This Your Montrose Supermarket on Stilts? A South Beach Model for the Wilshire Village H-E-B

KHOU reporter Tiffany Craig says her news team “did a little digging” and has discovered that one of the design options H-E-B is considering for its new Montrose store across from Fiesta at the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy is “similar to” Carlos Zapata’s famous Publix supermarket in South Beach — aka “the Mothership.” That’s good to hear, because as we all know since about 1987 all new buildings built in Houston have been required to look kinda like some more famous structures from somewhere else.

But Zapata’s 12-year-old Publix by the Bay is an actual 50,000-sq.-ft. grocery store, with carts and ramps and everything. The parking is above the store — on 2 levels:


Photos: New York Social Diary (bottom 2); Carlos Zapata Studios (all others)

23 Comment

  • But it IS so COOL!
    This one could be the “BubbaShip.”

  • Actually publix is a great store and a better company, HEB would do well to take a lesson.

  • Somehow I doubt the Mothership is going to land at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama. Unless of course the “park people” come up with another million or two to pay for it along with the million or two for the park. I’ll stick with Fiesta either way.

  • The only thing great about that grocery store in South Beach is the elevator/escalator enclosure (depicted in the images above) the rest of the building is a mass of solid walls surrounded by tree plantings, devoid of windows, sterile and cold from the street. I have not been to it so this is just an arm-chair observation from images I found online.

  • It is a very cool looking building, but I don’t see parking underneath…it looks like theres an attached parking garage? Seems like this plan would eat up more of the “park” land…

  • Ummmmm…. I like the place I buy my groceries at to be “sterile”

  • If they were to build something like this, Fiesta might have a chance to survive. Lots of people, me included, would rather just quickly park at Fiesta to run it to get a few items. But when I do what I call “big shopping” I’ll take the time to park at the mothership and deal with escalators and ramps. I would definitely use both stores — I could never totally abandon Fiesta.

  • Looks hideous to me.

  • Looks cool and unique. But probably ain’t gonna happen. Houston isn’t well known for innovatve unique architectural buildings. For the most part buildings in Houston—I am sad to say—are bland architectural-wise. Function over form I guess.

  • I grew up with grocery stores. I miss them. One of the reasons why prices are so high is we are paying for “the look” the chi-chi crowd loves so. These “nouveau grocery stores” are not grocery stores. They are “Needless-Markups.”

  • I was at a whole foods in Austin which has underground parking and ramps and escalators, I hated it, it was inconvenient and overly complicated to feel comfortable just grocery shopping. I hope HEB builds what MAJORITY of their customers want… plus I chuckle every time the big man sticks it to the hippies.

  • Nothing this design intensive would ever be built in a city whose innovative and progressive days of architecture have passed. Something like this exists in South Beach for a reason and won’t exist anytime soon here.

  • it exists in south beach not because they’re more architecturally affluent than houston, but because there’s a ton of folks living there that made/make a fortune ripping off all the old folks in Florida.

    it should be worth noting that houston is still home to one of the most highly regarded buildings of the 20th century: The Menil Collection.

  • the mother ship will not land
    and their will be no (park) just lots of parking spaces………

  • Edwin: “Something like this exists in South Beach for a reason…”
    Joel: “… because there’s a ton of folks living there that made/make a fortune ripping off all the old folks in Florida.”
    Got to make hay while the sun shines.
    If HEB can produce a quality, neighborly AND successful store, it would be grand!

  • Grocery stores depend on the nearby residents, which already have 4 grocery stores in the neighborhood (2 Kroger, Fiesta across the street, and Whole Foods) providing high end, low end, upper medium, and medium style shopping. So what’s the need for another? Fiesta corners the low end rent with free shopping carts that residents can take and leave in side walks and streets. Kroger takes care of the people with driving licenses and normal income, and Whole food caters to the rich and people that spend like their rich. What’s the point?

  • From YOBITCH:

    Fiesta corners the low end rent with free shopping carts that residents can take and leave in side walks and streets.

    Just drives the chi-chi crowd up the wall seeing all those poor people on the streets with their Fiesta carts.

    Actually some elderly and disabled people who can’t drive love Fiesta because it’s around the corner and they don’t have to go back six times in order to be able to carry it all home.

    Maybe we should just shoot everyone who doesn’t have a car?

  • Simmer down, Matt Mystery.
    No shooting.
    And there’s no doubt HEB carts will travel too.

  • No problem with the shopping carts as long at they are kept off the sidewalks and streets where they pose a health hazard for the disabled. — But the people that use them leave them where ever they feel like, usually along the side walks. Find a better method. You can’t leave you garbage cans on the sidewalk or the street, not in view from the sidewalk. — Get rid of them.

  • I loved shopping at Publix in Orlando — regular ol’ grocery store architecture there, though. I’d be happy to park in the shade. I like the underground parking at the Randalls in midtown.

  • In your dreams………………

  • From Matt Mystery:

    So get it delivered. Take a cab. Don’t leave shopping trolleys on the street.