The New Second-Story Heights H-E-B on N. Shepherd Is About To Begin Construction

16 months after the Fiesta Mart on site was torn down and 11 months since Heights-area voters approved a modification to longstanding local dry-zone prohibitions to allow alcohol sales for off-premises consumption, H-E-B at last appears ready to begin construction of its store at 2300 N. Shepherd. This week fencing went up around the site, which stretches between W. 23rd and W. 24th streets — and a couple of trailers have rolled onto it. An official groundbreaking is scheduled for October 24th.

The store will sit on the east side of the site but up one level, on top of a concrete parking deck. Here’s a view looking east along 23rd St. toward that part of the site and Lawrence St. beyond:

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And a view to the west, toward the corner of N. Shepherd and 23rd St.:

Except for delivery access along Lawrence St., the entire bottom level of the block will be covered with parking. Additional parking spaces will be on top of the deck, on the side facing N. Shepherd. A variance allowing the parking deck to sit closer to N. Shepherd than the standard 25-ft. setback typically allows was approved by the city’s planning commission in January.

Photos: Brandon DuBois

5 Comment

  • About how long do we expect this project to take?

  • I’m glad to see some progress, and I understand there will be a groundbreaking ceremony at the site on the 24th, but as far as I can tell, no building permits have been issued yet.
    Site work plans were submitted twice (once in early July, once in mid August), and rejected twice, apparently by every department that reviewed them. They have not yet been re-submitted. Plans for retail construction were submitted in early August, and rejected due to lack of CoH approval for alcohol related businesses. They appear to have been re-submitted this week, but have not yet been reviewed. Three permits for improvements to the right-of-way, along 23rd, 24th, and Shepherd, were submitted last week, but have not yet been reviewed.
    Our city’s permitting department has never been known for its celerity, but I understand the current Harvey-related backlog is unusually high. If real work begins here before the 1st of the year, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • I spy WDC again

  • So was the Fiesta there losing money? I don’t doubt a new HEB will be a big upgrade for the area, especially compared to the nearby Krogers. That said, Fiesta was a nice amenity and, while I acknowledge that this things invariably get held up, it seems like this has been quite a long time to leave that lot underutilized.

  • @TimP,
    I think both the demographics of the area and the underlying value of the land changed under Fiesta’s feet, and when their lease expired they probably couldn’t afford to renew. The amount of time the land will remain vacant was probably a function of (a) the timing of Fiesta’s lease expiration; (b) the timing of the local option election to allow alcohol sales; and (c) the permitting process, including the variation request to allow reduced setbacks.
    That we’re now almost a year since the election that determined whether or not HEB would move forward is unfortunate but not much of an outlier. And the 2 years or so that the site will remain vacant is significant, but the store, once opened, should be there for several decades.