06/26/12 1:35pm

Fiesta Mart announced today that it will shut down its store at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama — across the street from the newly built modern H-E-B Montrose Market — on July 15th. Developer Marvy Finger plans to build a 6-to-8-story “Mediterranean-style” apartment complex on the 3.68-acre site, which he bought last fall. Fiesta has operated the former Weingarten grocery store on the site since 1994.

Photo: Candace Garcia

01/13/12 11:21am

Apartment developer Marvy Finger tells Nancy Sarnoff that he’s the developer who’s buying the Fiesta Food Mart on the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy — and planning to build a 6-to-8-story complex in its place. Finger says the closing is scheduled for February, and that he’s looking to fit 390 apartments onto the 3.68-acre site. Finger has charged architects Wallace Garcia Wilson with designing something “Mediterranean” — presumably a structure dressed up in that style will fit the neighborhood better than Lake Flato’s new H-E-B Montrose Market across the street, the modern Menil Collection campus nearby, the many bungalows and brick homes surrounding the site in Lancaster Place, and the occasional new gallery along West Alabama. “We’re going to try to create something really beautiful,” he tells Sarnoff.


12/28/11 9:18pm

ST. STEPHEN’S LOSES APPEAL; MONTROSE H-E-B BEER AND WINE SALES BEGIN THURSDAY A judge today denied an appeal by St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, allowing the new Montrose H-E-B on the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama to begin pouring beer and wine for customers tomorrow at 2 pm. Earlier this month, County Judge Ed Emmett ruled that the St. Stephen’s building within 300 ft. of the new store’s property line at 1755 Sul Ross St. did not itself qualify as a private school under state alcohol rules, in part because fewer than 100 students attend courses at that particular location. [Prime Property; background; previously on Swamplot]

12/06/11 5:44pm

The request for a variance that would allow developers of the 3.68-acre property at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama to avoid putting in cul-de-sacs at the ends of Sul Ross and Branard St. — and that prompted the posting of signs around the Fiesta Food Mart on the property — isn’t the work of a new owner. It was submitted by the same owner who has held the property since the early sixties when the current shopping center was constructed.

So why the need for a variance that would only matter if the grocery store were redeveloped?


12/05/11 2:09pm

Over the weekend, variance signs were posted at the dead-ends of Sul Ross and Branard St. near the Menil Collection and in front of the bank of antique shops facing Dunlavy. The notices are the clearest indication yet that some big new development is being planned to replace the Fiesta Food Mart at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama in Lancaster Place. Last month, Swamplot posted a reader’s report that the property had been sold and that a 6-or-7-story “West Ave-style” mixed-use project was planned for the 3.68-acre site.


11/22/11 11:41am

Survey stakes have gone up around the Montrose Fiesta Market on the southeast corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, directly across the street from the brand-new H-E-B Montrose Market.

What could that mean? A source who is not a party to the transaction claims that the survey is connected to a sale of the property, which is already under contract for “‘crazy money’ — something on the scale of $85-$90 SF”:

The reputed use will be for a 6 to 7 story multi-use development — something on the order of West Ave or the Read-King chimera promised for the SWC of Alabama and Shepherd. . . . Personally, I find the land purchase price to be pretty hard to believe . . . because market value of land in that area is $40 – $50 max or maybe $60 at a stretch. Fiesta’s lease expires in 2014 with no renewal and either they or the owner has an early out option. The other tenants in the center all have short lease terms with no renewal.


11/18/11 5:45pm

A Swamplot tipster is claiming that H-E-B’s Montrose Market, which opened earlier this week without a liquor license, will have difficulty obtaining one — unless some strings are pulled. Before the opening, H-E-B had announced plans not only to sell packaged beer and wine in the new store on the former site of the Wilshire Village apartments at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, but to allow customers to order drinks by the glass and take them to the store’s outdoor patio as well.

But the license did not come through by the opening date. H-E-B Houston president Scott McClelland told Chronicle reporter David Kaplan on opening day that he expected it to come through in 4 to 5 weeks. A company spokesperson tells Swamplot that until the license is approved by the TABC, the store has stocked its future liquor department with other items for sale. What could have caused the holdup?


11/16/11 10:50am

What’s the difference between the new H-E-B Montrose Market on the site of the former Wilshire Village Apartments at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama and the Buffalo Market — designed by the same San Antonio architects — the company opened last year? Well, at 75,000 sq. ft., the new store is a bit bigger and has wider aisles, and the site it sits on is a bit more storied. Plus, photographer Candace Garcia notes from her preview tour, the doors on the milk coolers seem more sleek and contemporary. And the new store carries Philosophy skin-care products. Clearly, the Menil influence shows.

In front, below a couple of preserved trees, are several outdoor-eating and gathering options:


10/19/11 3:52pm

From photographer Candace Garcia: recent construction pix of the Montrose H-E-BMarket, designed by San Antonio’s Lake Flato Architects (with a little local help on the roof design), and going up at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, across from Fiesta. Scheduled completion date: uh, sometime soon?


05/23/11 10:34am

The familiar contours of a vast supermarket parking lot are already beginning to take shape on the 7.68-acre grounds of the former Wilshire Village Apartments at the southwest corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama. You’ll see the trees that have already disappeared from this site — or more likely, a few of their younger relatives — appearing at various sites around the neighborhood, promises a sign announcing the coming Montrose H-E-B market:


11/16/10 11:40am

H-E-B agreed several months ago to wall off the ends of Sul Ross and Branard streets, which dead-end into the site of its future Montrose market at West Alabama and Dunlavy, and which served as entrances for the Wilshire Village Apartments that were torn down there last year. But what about devotees of that obscure local Montrose pastime known as walking to the supermarket? If they’re coming from the neighborhoods to the west, should they be able to get through that way?

Over the weekend, the Lancaster Place Civic Association worked out a “compromise” between homeowners on the dead-end portions of Sul Ross and Branard — mostly opposed to having pedestrian gates at the ends of their streets — and homeowners and renters in that neighborhood to the south and southwest of the site, most of whom wanted them included. H-E-B Houston prez Scott McClelland says he’ll have H-E-B’s in-house architects design what the association came up with: A pedestrian gate on Branard, with a timer that will lock it after dark. Sul Ross, which is closer to the store entrance, won’t have a gate, but will have a panel in the wall that would make it easier to put one in later.

11/09/10 3:03pm

Ignore the alternating reds, greens, and yellows on the renderings: store regional president Scott McClelland says the new H-E-B coming to the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy will have “natural materials” on the exterior — though he says he doesn’t know yet what those materials will be. Getting rid of the colors is just one of the changes requested by attendees of the recent neighborhood meeting. H-E-B announced last week that those same neighbors had selected the “Pavilion” roof design — already the most Menil-like of the 3 decorate-the-box options prepared by San Antonio architects Lake Flato. The vote totals, tallied by Neartown Association president David Robinson: 88 for the Pavilion, 75 for the Sawtooth, and 43 for the Wave. (See all three designs here.)


11/04/10 10:23am

H-E-B has announced the “winner” of the dress-up design contest for its new supermarket on the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy — the site of the former Wilshire Village apartments. The top vote-getting entry, named “The Pavilion,” is easily distinguished from the other 2 proposals from San Antonio architects Lake Flato: It’s the one where the roof isn’t jaggedy and isn’t curvy. We’ll have more details shortly.

View of Pavilion design from Dunlavy driveway: Lake Flato

10/29/10 1:55pm

All 3 designs by San Antonio architects Lake Flato for the new H-E-B Market on the former site of the Wilshire Village Apartments — released by the grocery company in advance of a Neartown Association meeting this weekend — appear to share the same footprint and site plan. H-E-B Houston region president Scott McClelland had promised neighborhood residents would have an opportunity to vote for one of the 3 designs, but the options appear to be limited to the building’s roof shape and exterior detailing. All 3 designs feature a single-story structure that backs up to West Alabama, with the main entrance facing a parking lot on the southern portion of the site. But McClelland tells the Chronicle‘s Mike Morris that the company will be asking for input on other design issues at the meeting, including pedestrian access. Current plans call for a new center lane on Dunlavy, and new sidewalks and bike racks for the store.

McClelland says that drawings for a 2-story store — with parking underneath, allowing for a smaller footprint and a 2-acre park on the site — will be discussed and presented at the meeting. However, attendees won’t get to vote for it. “Until I know we can build it, it isn’t a viable option,” he tells Swamplot. He says the company is still short $800K of the additional $2 million a 2-story store would cost. “I’ve made numerous calls to others in an attempt to find addt’l funds….so far without success. Similarly, the [Montrose Land Development Coalition] hasn’t had success either.” Putting a park on the site is not a high priority for the city parks department because there are other parks nearby, McClelland says. If the money can be found within 45 days, he tells Swamplot, a 2-story option would be “considered.”

What do the 3 single-story Lake Flato designs look like? A set of renderings labeled “The Sawtooth” shows a store similar to the firm’s recent design for the H-E-B at Buffalo Speedway and Bissonnet, but adds an additional jag to the roof overhang on the south-facing entrance — and several north-facing clerestory windows: