Third Ward H-E-B Moves Forward; Mapping Montrose’s Gay History


Photo of the former Houston Chronicle building: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool


8 Comment

  • Unbelievable that our tax dollars are being used on freaking real estate speculation. WTF?!?

  • @Fixmyroads, read the article. The City land purchase is using federal tax dollars, not City funds, under a grant that will expire if the money remains unspent. You could argue that another area is more deserving, but you can’t divert it to street projects. Also, the City will lease the land to HEB so I don’t see how this is “real estate speculation”

  • @skeptic, thanks for the tip. I actually did read the article. Maybe you should read my comment. I said “tax dollars”. I didn’t say “CityFunds”. And clearly you don’t know what “real estate speculation” is. You’re just assuming that HEB will always be in business, and always keep this store open, and nothing bad will every happen (for it not to be speculation). Clearly it’s not a good deal, or any number of private investors/developers would have jumped in and done this deal, knowing HEB would ink lease.

    Whatever, if you think our federal tax dollars should be spent to open grocery stores, i’ll just continue to cancel out your vote.

  • I believe the plan all along was for HEB to purchase the land from the city once they actually have it built. Sort of an Insurance policy for them as at least part of this site requires building in the floodpain if I remember correctly.

  • @Fixmyroads, reread my post. Yes, it’s tax dollars – but they’re either going to be spent here or somewhere else. You seemed to criticize the City for moving forward with this plan tax dollars would be wasted and that if they acted otherwise taxpayer dollars would be saved. That’s simply not true.
    If you’re a laissez-faire ideological purist that thinks that the free market alone should address issues of city planning, low income housing and food deserts, I understand your point of view and it has a lot of support. I’m a bit more pragmatic. If the federal government makes money available to improve communities I’d rather see it spent here. I’m not assuming the store will “always be in business” – always is a mighty long time. But if the deal is done, HEB will commit major capital to an area that could use a nice grocery store and its investment will give it an incentive to try to make it work in a place that would otherwise be ignored for such a development. I think there is little doubt that people near this development will benefit. We can debate all day whether federal tax dollars should be spent to open grocery stores, but the decision has already been made. I see no point in sending this money elsewhere.
    I don’t understand your definition of “real estate speculation”, but to me it means buying a piece of property in anticipation that future market conditions will change and value will increase substantially. Typically that means a “buy and hold” strategy, with next to zero capital investment. HEB will either run the store for two or three decades and operate successfully, or cut its losses and shut down. The grocery business runs on thin margins, so its hard to see any potential windfall to anybody here besides the neighborhood. But please, if you see a way that the City is better off sending that money back to Washington, illuminate me.

  • LOL “food deserts” SMH
    You mean lazy zones?

  • I think HEB is too heavy-handed in playing the Texas-born-and-bred card. They were able to fund the campaign to successfully change the law (and possibly some of the character) in the Heights using flyers that warned of the Heights area becoming a “food desert”. Meanwhile, they already had plans for a Washington Ave HEB and they plan on keeping the HEB Pantry on TC Jester.

    Whole Foods, in search of a suitable property to profit off of the newly re-wealthy Heights and Garden Oaks, found a less than ideal spot off of Yale and 610. I’m sure HEB would have eventually found another way or another property to sucker us into buying their Hill Country fare. Now alcohol can be sold in the Heights so that we could add an HEB to an area that already has 3 Krogers, Target, Walmart, Sprouts, HEB Pantry, Foodarama, and a not-too-far-away Whole Foods. (Not to mention the future construction of the aforementioned 365 and Washington HEB and a Costco.)

    Now they have the city buying up property for them. I know that this Third Ward store would definitely benefit the city, but why did the city have to incur the risk of owning the property? Couldn’t our caring fellow Texan (HEB) spend the money?

  • @VMel, in the end, HEB is just another business, and it will rent seek like every other business when it’s beneficial. That doesn’t mean HEB is evil, but it does mean they act in the best interests of the owners, not society in general. If the benefits to the corporation and the benefits to society mesh, that’s an added bonus, but it will seldom be a major driver in business decision making.