Time appears to be running out for that “store on stilts” option for the new Montrose location of H-E-B Market. The leader of a Montrose group interested in preserving open space on the site of the former Wilshire Village Apartments says she was surprised not to see a 2-story option included among the 3 designs previewed by a small community group late last week. The designs were prepared by San Antonio’s Lake Flato Architects. (Lake Flato also designed H-E-B’s Buffalo Market, on Bissonnet and Buffalo Speedway). According to the Montrose Land Development Coalition’s Maria-Elisa Heg, all 3 options show a store whose back faces West Alabama, and all feature little or no green space. Space for a community “artisan market” is included — but on the parking lot. None of the plans include separate retail spaces fronting West Alabama, a feature Heg’s organization has been promoting.
But H-E-B Houston division president Scott McClelland tells Swamplot the designs are works in progress. He says drawings of a 2-story store — which presumably would allow more open space to be preserved on the site — will be presented along with the 3 at-grade options at the Neartown forum scheduled for October 30, where he’ll be showing models and asking neighbors for input. All options, McClelland notes, preserve the same number of trees on the site.
Over the summer, McClelland had announced H-E-B would be willing to explore a “store on stilts” option for the site — if funding could be found to offset the additional costs. “The cost to go up on stilts is $2mm. I’ve been able to find $1.2mm from efficiencies and offsets,” he now tells Swamplot. But there’s a looming deadline: “IF funding can be obtained in the next 45 days to offset the incremental cost, we would consider the two story option.” Neither H-E-B nor the MLDC have found any funding yet, though McLelland says the Houston Parks Dept. has agreed to maintain the park if funding for it is identified.
Says McClelland: “The bottom line is that we’re working both options simultaneously. Should funding not be obtained, we’ll be in a place to move forward. Should funding be obtained and the community support a two story format, we can revert to the earlier drawings.”
- Previously on Swamplot: Is This Your Montrose Supermarket on Stilts? A South Beach Model for the Wilshire Village H-E-B, H-E-B Looking for $2 to $3 Million for a 2-Acre Montrose Park, Montrose H-E-B Gets Its Variance; A “Reasonable” Number of Wilshire Village Trees Will Be Preserved
Photo: Carl Guderian