Voting This Weekend on 3 Lake Flato Roof Designs for the New Montrose H-E-B Market

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:


“The Wave” features a roof shaped into 3 soft barrel vaults and quieter blank walls facing West Alabama and Dunlavy:

“The Pavilion” has a tall flat-looking roof at the entrance, and alternating brightly colored wall segments facing the street sides:

McClelland says Trees for Houston will oversee the replacement — either on the site or elsewhere in Montrose — of all trees removed from the site. Though the 2-story design features significantly less concrete around them, it and all the 3 single-story options preserve the same number of existing trees.

Images: Lake Flato Architects

41 Comment

  • I vote for The Wave. Reminds me of the grocery stores from the 60’s that had the arced roof. Plus it seems to the be the softest of the three and wouldn’t feel so aggressive toward the surrounding residential buildings.

  • Wow. You’d think there’d be an entrance off of Alabama. Dunlavy is a pretty narrow street in through there. I can’t imagine what will happen during rush hour.

    Notice how they aren’t showing the parking.

    Say goodbye to the trees.

  • Walmart gets 6 mil from the City, but no one can scratch together 800k for HEB? Sad.

  • The Pavillion looks like that elementary school in Memorial, off Kimberly

  • Do we really have to go into the whole difference between infrastructure improvements and directly reimbursing a company for building their building again?

    Besides, HEB have never had any interest in building the 2 storey with parking underneath. Why is it that people believe that PR nonsense when it comes from HEB but not when it comes from Walmart?

  • Our neighborhood’s in for a real fucking.

  • I live a few blocks away. I can only hope that the traffic nightmare won’t be as bad as I suspect it will. Both Dunlavy and West AL will need turn lanes and lights.

  • Some of these designs aren’t bad. Count me in for the “wave”… looks like the Safeway stores from the 60’s.

    If only we could get Lake/Flato to do work for HISD. The new elementary school in my neighborhood looks like a bad strip mall.

  • I know where they can find the $800k. From shoppers. I totally agree that it’s not up to HEB to pay extra for a park unless it makes business sense. however, I’d argue that it does.
    If they build this thing as a 1 story w/o a park, I won’t shop there. If they show they’re trying to work with the community, then I’ll shop there. Pretty simple.
    Just vote with your wallets. While they won’t miss $800k of profit from lack of MY shopping, if their target shoppers are all pissed off that they didn’t do the ‘right’ thing then the market will provide them with a lesson.

  • I live near the Buffalo Speedway HEB. I understand that it is a 4 lane street, but there has been no change in the amount of traffic. If you are worried about traffic, don’t hate on HEB. Take it up with Metro, Houston needs beter public transportation.

  • you can, however, hate on HEB and the designers for providing inadequate access points and unreasonable parking layouts. Architects and clients decide where the building sits and how you get to it . . . The city of Houston/Metro will have to react to these poor decisions. The HEB on Buffalo is a disaster to try to park, much less shop. Just ask Buffalo Grill.

  • 1. The three designs: ho hum. Suburban soccer mom grocery store plopped into the ‘Trose.
    2. Third center lane on Dunlavy? Really? Dunlavy south of WAla is barely wide enough for two lanes as it is, and has ditches deep enough to swallow cars on either side.
    3. So glad there will not be an entrance/exit off of W. Alabama. That would be a nightmare when combined with the reversible center lane. It’s already bad enough that idiots can’t figure out what the big red X over their car means, or why I am honking at them and pointing to their right.
    4. Speaking of the reversible center lane, what are they going to do about the 6 hours of the day during which left turns are prohibited off of W. Alabama onto Dunlavy? But I guess most HEB shoppers will tend to come from the west anyway. East is more boho and will continue to shop at Fiesta (which I hope stays open so I can continue to shop there, even though I am currently living west of Dunlavy).
    5. Good news on the hookup with Trees for Houston. I hope it works.
    6. Gimme my bike lanes back! The spur reconstruction was over years ago, and the “temporary” realignment needs to be restored to the previous configuration.

  • Am I the only one who likes The Sawtooth?

  • I like the wave. For nostalgic reasons.

  • The sawtooth design is by far the best design. The wave is boring. Give me mid centurn modern.

  • I like the sawtooth also. The wave just looks dated. As for Dunlavy, I assume the ditches will have to finally be replaced with drains at least for the length of the HEB property.

  • The wave is mid-century, based on the Safeway Marina prototype…

  • They’re obviously going to have to widen Dunlavy and I’m sure this has been looked at in depth, but I live in the neighborhood and have a hard time visualizing how Dunlavy is going to accommodate all the traffic, particularly if the HEB entrance is on the south end of the lot. Aren’t there going to be two-lane choke outs as you go south onto or across Richmond–right in front of the fire department substation at Richmond and Dunlavy, I might add–and north onto or across Alabama. Seems destined to be a mess at least part of the time.

    I agree that the Buffalo Spdwy. HEB doesn’t inspire confidence. Not sure what it is, but the parking doesn’t work right there and I generally avoid the place because of it.

  • Sawtooth is much nicer. The Wave looks too “60’s” to me.

  • They should put a sign in the parking lot. “Should have paid for your own dang park, you hippies!”

  • As expected, the Montrose Land Defense Coalition was all bark, and no bucks.

  • Jimbo, the “infrastructure improvements” are only being done because of the private development. All the Walmart/Ainbinder apologists keep saying that the area is blighted and a dump; if that’s true why spend $6M tax dollars on a empty lot? Well, of course you wouldn’t; there are plenty of areas in Houston that could use $6M in improvements. These tax dollars are only being spent to enhance Ainbinder’s property and WalMart’s image. It’s a disgrace.

  • I’m sorry, but all of these ideas look pretty lame. It is a grocery store with not enough parking or access.

    Let’s paint it a bunch of colors and do something with the roof . . . that will make it cool. Oh, and let’s involve the community in a decision that really isn’t a decision . . . cause different roofs make this project relevant.

    Oh, and make it LEED, that will be cool too (after we chop down some of the best trees in the city). Responsible and Relevant, the HEB way.

  • Did anyone make it to the meeting and get to vote on the design?

  • The pavilion is the worst, which means they would choose it. Parking and access will be a problem especially given the precedent of the Buffalo HEB. What about a parking garage rather than lot? Harris Teeter and Whole Foods have done this successfully in other cities. Hopefully they won’t replace all of the shade trees with pitiful saplings that won’t be able to provide any shade for 10 years or so. That is the worst part of strip malls.

    And for those who claim to want to be able to walk to the grocery store, I doubt you’ve ever had to do it. Nothing is worse than schlepping your groceries home. It makes you rethink your entire grocery list (no juice or pet food).

  • I’ve schlepped a freaking car battery home. Makes groceries seem easy.

  • “you can, however, hate on HEB and the designers for providing inadequate access points and unreasonable parking layouts. Architects and clients decide where the building sits and how you get to it . . . The city of Houston/Metro will have to react to these poor decisions. The HEB on Buffalo is a disaster to try to park, much less shop. Just ask Buffalo Grill.”

    Absolutely true. Only because I like Buffalo Grill so much do I deal with the hassle of trying to find a place to park there..

  • Googlmaster. I think the exact same thing when I drive down West Alabama. Why can’t people understand the red x and lit up no left turn lights? Driving in the center lane is risky to say the least.

    If the HEB folks really wanted to change the paradigm they’d develop this lot as mixed use retail and residential. Since it isn’t going to be a park it might as well be high density.

    I walk with groceries all the time. You just have to plan; need a few things and walk but you need a case of cokes and you drive. Most of the time I can manage to walk. I lived in NYC where walking was the only option so I figured it out. I went every couple days and bought just what I needed.

  • I am so with you Charlie. Walking to do errands is a mindset that most people here just don’t have.
    Want to clear the mind? Seems like a perfect little interlude to walk down to Fiesta, or over to the library, or up to the post office on some needed little errand.
    And yeah, I have a car. Errands by car just seem like chores though.
    Walking is a break.

  • Chop down all trees.

    All turrets design.

    No parking, just a big friggin’ box.

    Not pedestrian or dog friendly.

    Leaky gas tanks under rows and rows of gas pumps.

    Deivery area not covered by privacy screens.

    Awesome….the lamentations of the Montrose whiners make me laugh.

    Ya’ll would complain and belly ache about being hung with a new rope.

    BWAHAHAHAAAH!!!! Shoulda bought the land yourselves if you loved that dump so much.

  • And about the reversible lane on W Alabama…wasn’t that supposed to be “temporary” to help carry the excess traffic when they rebuilt the SW Fwy?

  • it was, but i think the decision was to leave it up for the light rail (prior to the whole bankruptcy, federal deal gone wrong, etc.) since the whole montrose area will be mired in traffic once they start construction.

    as for people still having difficulties with w. alabama, i don’t blame them. why on earth someone would prohibit left turns on a main thoroughfare with a turning lane and no median is beyond me. posting red x’s and green arrows is just a haphazard way of changing the function of a road and i’d fully expect a lot of accidents occuring from it. i suppose they don’t since it’s been that way for a long time now though.

  • Yeah, I don’t know how people can figure out what to do at intersections with these red and green lights . . . so confusing.

  • well, it doesn’t really matter if it is or isn’t confusing when people just want to talk on their phone and drive with their head tucked up their @#$@.

    in this situation no amount of signage or flashing lights can overcome basic intuition.

  • Sorry – I’ll be contributing the the traffic and often. Since there will be a WalMart instead of HEB in the Heights area – I’ll be patronizing your Texas based neighborhood store. (Kroger can be just as bad about squeezing our farmers and suppliers). I promise to be polite and drive according to the rules of the road when I go to the new HEB.

  • I am down with the snaggle-tooth!

  • Could you please show a top view (airplane view) of the whole lot / close area so we can give ouselves an idea of how it will be arranged??

  • Lloyd
    See link above

  • Decision is made on pavilion.
    Decision is made on access.

  • Thanks for the link! … do they need some much parking spaces?? I really wonder why parking is taking all of the lot. Wouldn’t the Fiesta/Westheimer shopping center (Randalls etc.) be enough to reduce venue i.e. parking space? what are they selling in that HEB that would need litterally almost 500 spots??? could they not leave some of the trees/greens alone for f. sake!?