Studemont Kroger Aims for a City Tax Deal

STUDEMONT KROGER AIMS FOR A CITY TAX DEAL A couple of news bits about the new grocery store Kroger is planning for an 8.5-acre site it purchased in February at 1400 Studemont, just south of I-10 and just north of the Arne’s Warehouse and Party Store: It’ll measure 79,000 sq. ft., and will have a gas station. Plus, Chris Moran reports, Houston’s city council will consider sales and property tax reimbursements to the company of as much as $2.5 million. The proposed deal would require the company to create 170 jobs at the location for 13 years and donate $40,000 for improvements to Olivewood Cemetery across the street. [Houston Politics; previously on Swamplot]

39 Comment

  • The largest Kroger in Texas is less than 2 miles away. There is no residential around this location and the newly Super Target is in ear shot. Plus, they are rehabbing the small one on 20th. This is the 2nd worst development decision in Houston after the Walmart and there is NO WAY Kroger should get any tax incentives to build it. The traffic around that intersection is bad enough. No one in the Heights is going to come south of I10 and in to that quagmire when we have a ton of other options.

    How about building a grocery store north of 610, between Garden Oaks and Independence Heights. Sunset Heights/East Sunset Heights has no easy access to groceries, while Independence Heights is a known food desert. While GO residents have the big Fiesta on Shepherd and the Kroger on 43rd, there is quite a bit of space between the 2 and several other neighborhoods that could benefit from a grocery store on the north side. Who the hell is making decisions for Kroger? And worse, who is making them for Houston?

  • How about building a grocery store in 2nd ward, on the north side of Washington, or near 6th ward? Or go elsewhere in the city, where there aren’t four grocery stores within eight miles of each other. (Fiesta on Studewood, Kroger on 20th, Fiesta on Shepherd, Kroger on 11th, so on so on so on.)

    This is a manifestation of the perpetuation of an unnecessarily excessive amount of grocery stores in middle income neighborhoods, meanwhile the lower income neighborhoods receive the brunt. And have to buy inflated amounts for milk at the convenient store. McDs and Popeyes are right around the corner.

  • East Sunset Heights and Sunset Heights have very easy access to the 20th St. Kroger and the Studemont/14th St. Fiesta. We would still welcome a good Kroger on Studemont. I think Kroger has cancelled the idea of improving the 20th St. Kroger with the decision to build the Studemont Kroger. Please if anybody has current info on that, provide. Also, the 11th St. Kroger is not easily accessible for SH and ESH. It does seem like an oversaturation of Krogers, but I think the populace is there to support it. Don’t forget the up and coming neighborhoods that have no current grocery stores other than Target which is too big for grocery only shopping. West End, 1st Ward, everything from western downtown edgeto Westcott, I-10 to Allen Parkway. This grocery store will be their first easy access store.

  • These stores (the Walmart and Kroger) are not being built for the surrounding area, but for those who are jumping off the freeway on the newly constructed feeder roads before heading West to their suburban sprawl. I knew these feeder roads would be the devil. They will do nothing to help the traffic locally. Thanks TXDOT, you just screwed over a nice urban neighborhood to help the commuting masses on their quest for cheap Chinese plastic.

  • Excuse the typos and curious grammar in my post above. Too fast at the keyboard!

  • EMME- Well, technically the West End will have the Walmart. Also, the West End residents have a much easier drive straight up Shepherd to the Kroger on 11th than they would to this one. The Kroger on 20th is currently closed for renovations, due to re-open 11/23.

  • Actually, the Studemont Kroger is being built because HEB wanted to buy the land so Kroger had to beat them to it to keep HEB out of the mix. Now they have to build there.

  • I think some of y’all are missing the real issue. This thing is getting built regardless of whether or not the City gives Kroger any tax breaks. The $2.5 million that the City is being asked to contribute is simply flushing money down the drain. I’m sure the City has something better to do with our tax dollars than give them to Kroger.

    Any councilman that votes for this BS needs to be called to the carpet for blatant fiscal irresponsibility.

  • Emme: interesting point. HEB and Kroger both want this property because it is in an area that is growing rapidly with a lot of middle and upper income residents, as well as highway access to suburbanites who want to grab something on the way home. So, if this is such a hot location, why do taxpayers need to subsidize it? Why not make Kroger pay their own way? The answer is in the nature of these 380 agreements. The money being spent now is future tax revenue. The current city council is making commitments of tax revenue that will be needed 5, 10+ years from now. They are taking future city councils out of the decision making process on future budgets and handcuffing them to pay for these projects. Buy now pay later. It used to be called a “bond” and required tax payer approval in a ballot measure.

  • CM Costello was out champoining findings in ‘The Food Trust’s’ report (published a Chron Editorial and his Costello Connection newsletter) that evidenced there were food deserts east of downtown Houston. The Food Trust’s findings echoed those found in the only economic impact study done for the proposed Heights Walmart (paid for by the public and ignored by City Council & Mayor Parker). Both studies showed this area as already oversaturated.

    So, now Costello(and the rest of the CMs and Mayor) going to vote to give a 380 Agreement tax give-away to another corporation that would build to the lowest possible standards anyway?

    Just like Walmart, this Kroger is:

    – Planning on grandfathering in drainage (yes, folks, it is once again a big grass field they’re calling ‘impermeable surface’); so, Renew Houston’s emphasis on taking control of Houston’s drainage problems doesn’t actually refer to gigantic developments that pave the edge to edge, just to Joe Public.

    – They have not yet performed or committed to performing any traffic impact analyses (and, if you, like me, drive this corridor multiple times a day, you’ll note that the traffic backs up past Arnie’s on a regular basis). The City is allowing developers to choke off the Heights at all surface streets heading South.

    – Sprinkling fun money – via a fence around Olivewood Cemetary – so they don’t have to pay to do the heavy lifting of actually mitigating their negative impacts.

    Andy Icken, Mark Loethen, Mayor Parker and all these CMs don’t bother taking five minutes to understand that a 380 Agreement should be used to spur development where it’s needed, not just line the pockets of a developer who’s already going to build anyway.

    Mayor Parker has no vision for the City of Houston. Pathetic.

  • Um, I was at the Kroger on 20th last night. still open, no sign of being about to close.

  • More Corporate Welfare, plain and simple. I wish I could “donate” $40K and get $2.5M in return. It’s great to be a corporation in Texas; sucks to be a middle-class taxpayer. Keep voting for “conservatives” to run the city, county, and state, ya’ll; you’re getting what you deserve.

  • Oh no, it’s not mixed-use condos with street-level retail for stores no one will shop at and bike racks no one will use!

  • Where’s my HEB in the H8S?

  • as a Heights resident…and I mean proper Heights…middle of the Heights…close to Heights Blvd. and 11th kind of Heights…I see that all of the grocery stores around me are packed. (therefore, we are not oversaturated if it is that painful to park and get through..)…the Fiesta on Studewood is OLD and tired…and a little scary at the wrong times. The Kroger on 20th….i will not go there. It is VERY scary and am sure my car will get broken into at night there. the Kroger on 11th, although much improved, is still, well, a Kroger. Not so much quality. fair produce, i go there when i don’t have alot of time. I do not shop at WalMart. And although i go to Target weekly, it is not good for fresh foods. Whole Foods is great from time to time, but too expensive for weekly shopping. So what do i do in the grocery saturated Heights? I race to the HEB on I-10 at Bunker Hill on my lunch break and stash cold items in the cooler in my car. Because the store, although busy, has everything i need. the produce is beautiful, the prices are good, the people are helpful and friendly. I will probably go to the Kroger on Studemont in the future, as it will be new, and easier to get to…(parking on 11th is the pits!) But come on people, they wouldnt keep building them if they can’t make the money.

  • EMME- Crazy! I was just up there and was told, nope closed. Who knows. Long live Fiesta on 14th!

  • I had no idea that jobs had to be “created” at a large grocery store”….if this wasn’t part of the deal, would the items run through the deserted aisles, stock themselves, jump off the shelves and follow the customers home like the old animated concession characters if there weren’t employees to keep them in line?

  • Finally! It’ll be nice to have a grocery store in the area.

  • @LudaKris: You’re joking, right? I live in Lindale Park, a nice, up-and-coming neighborhood with high incomes, and yet ZERO decent grocery stores. Guess why the Kroger on 20th is packed? Because those of us with no decent options drive over there.

    I go to that Kroger and so do many of my neighbors. It’s a fallacy to argue that one neighborhood has crowded grocery stores, therefore it must warrant them. That’s simply not true.

    Frankly, I wish someone in the media would look at why one area of Houston – the swath from the Heights, down through Montrose and through River Oaks – has so many freaking grocery stores. Yes, yes, I get that the income demographics are fairly high. But, if you look around town, there are other up-and-coming neighborhoods as well that have the money to spend on nice grocery stories.

    End rant.

  • Whups. Amendment to my above post. I meant the Kroger on 11th.

  • me:
    Well why are you all coming over to 11th street when there is the LOVELY kroger on 20th and the HEB on 18th (both included in the grocery store multitude count)…you don’t because they are nasty and dangerous. you go to the nicest store that is closest to you. the same reason i go to the HEB on I-10 whenever time permits. Where does it say your neighborhood gets ONE grocery store and you have to like it and use it? it is great to have options and stinks that Kroger is actively keeping HEB out whenever they can….this was the case in the land purchase where WalMart is going as well….Kroger and WalMart and HEB were all involved in that land trade at one time or another….HEB couldn’t compete for the land. You and I are apparently in the same boat…i go to that Kroger on 11th because there are, in my eyes, no convenient options. so the influx of new grocery stores is welcome…kind of tired of all the complaining! and when Sprouts and Trader Joe’s arrive inside the loop, this crowd will still be gripiing about it, but the stores will be huge successes! Developers and retailers don’t throw that kind of money at something without studying and knowing it will work.
    And seriously? where Kroger’s is going on Studewood? I bet the neighborhood is thrilled to have an actual grocer instead of Target and eventually Walmart. What’s the closest option? Fiesta on 14th…and Kroger on Gray? Not Saturated.

  • Loved the way “The Heights Life” automatically assumed this grocery store was to service the Heights. Didn’t say that anywhere in the story. It’s NOT FOR YOU. North of the I-10 barrier you have plenty of grocery stores, you listed all of them. There are MANY of us between I-10 and Memorial Drive, from Houston Avenue to Waugh thirsting for a grocery we can access without using a bridge crossover.
    It’s not always about you.

  • If only the Fiesta on 14th could get up to the status that their Dunlavy store has, nobody would need bloody high priced Kroger anyway.

    @Me – why don’t you come on down to the Fiesta on Patton? Scary it is not. The produce is every bit as good as Kroger/HEB at 1/2 the price. The meat department needs serious help, but that is what requests to the store manager can help with, if you want to buy it they will stock it.

  • @ 6th Ward – I do not now nor have I ever owned a Subaru, or before that, a Volvo. However, having lived in the Heights almost all my adult life, I can say that yes, indeed, it IS now all about us…

  • Northsider- The Fiesta on 14th has undergone some major changes in the last few years and is now pretty comparable to the store in Montrose(Yes, I am very familiar with that store as it was where I did 99% of my shopping when I lived down there). The 14th St location does need to work on its meat department a little bit but other wise not much except geography and the perception of “status” separates the two.

  • Heights area has 2 Krogers, one that has beer and wine , and the other does not. The Memorial Park/Washington area could use a full size grocery instead of more bars. Fiesta on 14th is for sale again, w/ a new agent, asking 3.2M. That store is a Hit or miss on the produce dept, but a great place to get quick beer, wine, ice, eggs , etc Wonder if it will stay a grocery or turn into something else. hope the streets around are widened if it’s re-developed. Out streets are pretty narrow over here.

  • Does the 6th Ward/Woodland Heights area need a grocery store? Sure they do. Do they need a grocery store so badly that the only way to get one is to put tax dollars into the pockets of Kroger Corp? F— no. The greater Heights area is absolutely on fire. Big apartment building going up at Sawyer and Washington, condos on Studewood, tons of residential construction and rennovation and a complete turnaround for previously dead areas like 6th street/White Oak–all in the middle of a BAD economy! Kroger can pay their own way. So can Walmart. Between the two of them the City could save 8.5 mil (closer to 14 mil when you total up the interest and principal). The whole point of tax incentives is to get developers to go where they normally might not want to go. All these 380 agreements do is reward developers for winning highly competitive bidding for a very desirable location.

  • I agree with comments that using tax incentives for this project makes no sense. the area doesn’t need yet another grocery store. A city subsidy is in effect helping Kroger compete against existing stores (of which there are plenty). The location doesn’t bother me and if Kroger wants to build, I say for it–but on your own dime.

  • “No one in the Heights is going to come south of I10 and in to that quagmire when we have a ton of other options.”


    I will. While I agree with 6th Ward that it isn’t all about the Heights residents, this Heights resident will definitely shop at the Studewood location. Those of us south of 11th and east of Heights Blvd. find going south on Studewood much easier than trekking west on 11th. And, despite the hue and cry about horrendous traffic (isn’t that what they always say when they don’t like something?), I’ve never had a problem getting through it. In fact, now that the feeder is complete between Studewood and Taylor, I now use it to get to Target, sparing the Woodland Heights residents a trip through their hood. That’s a plus, isn’t it?

    This location has the added bonus of being located just off the bike trail for those days when I decide to be a cute environmentalist and ride my bike to the store…closer than Target.

    Besides, with all of the apartments and condos in that area, I’m sure the chicks at this Kroger will be much hotter than the Shepherd store.

  • the WalMart 380 at least gives the City some infrastructure. This deal gives the city nothing of value.

  • Kroger will get reimibursed by the City (that’s all of us, folks) for the $40K “donation” to Olivewood. I think they even get paid interest on it. That’s not really a donation by Kroger, is it?

  • Good news! Right now the only grocery store near me is the fiesta on Quitman, which is nice to have, but they fall short in a lot of areas. Plus, I love kroger fuel stations. That area needs one.

  • I just chuckling at the idea that the 20th Street Kroger or the Fiesta at 14th & Studewood are “dangerous.”

  • I’ve yet to go to any grocery store in this area that’s devoid of customers, except maybe the Randall’s on Westheimer and Shepherd. In fact, that’s the store I go to when I have to get a few things and don’t have time to get around the crowds. Kroger has a right to build as may stores as they want, but they shouldn’t get a dime of public tax money. No private company should.
    As for me, I’ll keep making that weekly trek down Interstate 10 to HEB at Bunker Hill.

  • @dave – so the hot chicks only come from the apartments and condos? what about the hot chicks who live in actual houses in the heights? yeah I may have two car seats in the back of my car and a nursing tank on under my shirt but i (along w/ many of my heights friends) don’t want to be excluded from the running.

  • The touch of HEB cures cancer.

  • oh, and the Kroger on 20th is a defensive play to keep a store count presence in the Heights market. It is a dry area, and without alcohol related sales, there is no interest in expanding the store into the neighboring Walgreen’s box. But wait — couldn’t they just get a city variance to sell off-site consumption alcohol? Haha. Not on your life; what is this? Atlanta. We are short-sided.

    20th Street site is a MUCH better Alamo Drafthouse site, but what do I know? Understand that the Summer Street site, which I define as a non-starter location, will have challenges getting film distribution. The article is much a-do about nothing, really. 20th street is no less than 4 miles to the nearest theater, and could act as a private club for alcohol-related sales.

    Weingarten doesn’t care…it’s better to have a C level Kroger guaranteed store than a failing theater concept. It would have to be a local ownership group that would do that deal.

  • As a Canadian, one thing I noticed moving down here was Americans have variety. Up there if you go to the cereal aisle of the grocery store you may have one or two types of corn flakes to choose from. Going to an American grocery store, you have 7 or 8 corn flakes to choose from. And I’m not referring to honey nut vs sugar frosted, I’m talking a plain old simple corn flake being packaged by 7 or 8 different companies. Some call it variety, some call it saturation. Its the American Way.

  • Gawd: you people in the Heights think you’re all that. Get OVER your selves. Whine whine whine.Heights is still a mixed development area; nice houses and then,garages, cantinas,storage lots,restaurants,etc. Trashy is a word to describe it. It’ll NEVER be gentrified like some of you fascists want it to be. And companies DO NOT develop sites to meet everyone’s expectations. They develop based on economics: I.e.: incentives from government agencies. And now that the COH has led the way with the 308 tax abatements ,Mayor Parker and her cohorts have screwed the individual tax payers and her own drainage iniative: less taxable land. Don’t ya just love government officials. Such LYING duplicitious douche bags !!