Yes, H-E-B Really Is Talking About a New Store at Studemont and Washington Ave

H-E-B mapped on Washington Ave. by Braun Enterprises

H-E-B has confirmed that the grocery store chain is considering a store on Washington Ave at Studemont St. Public affairs director Cyndy Garza-Roberts tells the HBJ that the chain has “been in discussion for that site for months,” though a deal isn’t finalized. The nod follows yesterday’s story about a Braun Enterprises leasing flier (advertising a property further east down Washington) that showed the company’s logo stamped over the site of the Archstone Memorial Heights apartments.


Midway, which owns the 23.4-acre property with the Lionstone Group, also recently released an investor-geared document showcasing the company’s 2015 projects and some upcoming plans. The document mentions that master planning has wrapped up for a mixed-use residential development in an area “close to Downtown, Memorial Park and Neartown.” That development would include greenspace and options for “local fresh food.”

After some in-and-out back-and-forth, the southwest 3 buildings of the Archstone apartments were cleared out for good in 2012 and redeveloped into the 4-story Memorial Heights Village complex. Midway snagged the remaining units at the end of 2014.

Image: Braun Enterprises

Contemplating Memorial Heights

40 Comment

  • Is there really a need for another grocery store in that location? There’s the new Kroger on Studemont plus the Kroger on Shepherd @ 11th. I guess for all the people that live along Washington Ave, in the Heights, and downtown would shop there.

  • Bring it on. Kroger has been in a downward spiral for at least the last 3 years in that area. Produce/seafood/beef are night and day comparing HEB to Kroger.

  • @Walker I’ll avoid Kroger unless absolutely necessary, and I’ll go out of my way for H-E-B if reasonable. I doubt I’m the only one – H-E-B provides a better overall shopping experience.

  • @Walker – uhh yes, despite the amount of grocery stores the quality is so limited. Sprouts is high quality but low choice and high price. Kroger is low quality all around. Whole foods is great but the location sucks for Heights residents and it’s hardly affordable. HEB is the quality standard in Texas and the inner loop needs more of them!


    Another option worth considering is the 2300 N Shepherd Fiesta going out of business. A HEB at this location would serve GOOF and the Heights. However I’ve heard HEB has a min lot size requirement of 6 acres and I think the Fiesta lot is at 4.

  • That would likely put the nail in the coffin on the Sears @ Shepherd/43rd rumors

  • HAG – How in the world would an HEB on washington serve people in north heights/GOOF? Not being factitious here, that’s actually almost a seven mile drive through an incredibly populated area. Why would that make any sense to call that Heights HEB? I looked up the distances on google maps and it literally told me to go around the loop and on to ten to get there. Thats… not close at all. I’m guessing you drive from downtown into the heights though.

  • Meanwhile, HEB has gone radio silent on their new Bellaire store. Perhaps this deal takes priority!

  • Y’all sure get excited about grocery stores.

  • There’s both a kroger and a wal-mart that are practically walking distance to this site. If grocery stores really are such a low-margin industry it’s pretty impressive that so many can remain profitable on such high value real estate. In the montrose we get a huge stack of ads that go straight to the recycling bin every week. What the heck are you people buying in these stores and how much are ya’ll spending to make this such a profitable venture for them all?

  • I don’t understand all the hate for Kroger. I shop at the Buffalo Speedway store and I’ve never had issues with their product. I also shop at the San Felipe HEB, where, admittedly, the prices are better for some things, particularly produce and some store brands. There are things I don’t like about both locations (come on, HEB, no self-service checkout?)

    As for that Studemont/Washington intersection, it can take 3 light cycles to get through it in heavy traffic. They’re going to have to lengthen the WB and NB left turn lanes or otherwise reconfigure the intersection to accommodate the extra vehicles.

  • I’m still trying to build back my trust in HEB after what happened in my old neighborhood.
    They came in and we were all excited about getting a good grocery store for a change. But then they told us it would be a Joe V’s, which was kind of a slap in the face. Not as good selection. But more importantly, Joe V’s is meant for low income markets, and it was insulting to be told that’s all you’re worthy of.
    Anyway I wish the people in The Heights all the best with their proposed HEB. Enjoy!

  • @SZ. He’s talking about a possible location at the Fiesta in the North Heights, not the Washington one. The takeaway is that people love HEB so much that as soon as they here of a new one coming they already start thinking about where the next one should go. I’m still hoping on them taking the anchor spot for that Fingers development.

  • @SZ, pretty sure HAG was referring to the fiesta site with the GOOF comment. Took me a second as well. She was offering up that location as an alternative.

    @j, I don’t know why this location (on Washington) would stop HEB from putting one in at 43rd and Shepard. Now if they were to put one in at the Fiesta location at 23rd and Shepard, then yeah, probably.

  • SZ – reread my post. I suggested the soon-to-be fmr Fiesta at 2300 N Shepherd could serve Heights/GOOF. Just another possibility HEB should consider if they’re looking for space in/near the Heights.

  • The Fiesta site is a no go for any grocer because it is in the dry area. Fiesta sold booze in a stand alone store up at 610 and N. Shep, just outside the dry zone.
    @Joel: I am not so sure everyone is that profitable. Grocers like to chase market share numbers pretty hard and are willing to give back some profit to show gains in market share to investors. The hope is also to put your competition out of business. But when the Sawyer Target posted some of the top sales numbers in the nation, everyone came piling in.
    HEB’s produce can be light years ahead of Kroger (few organics, everything else has no flavor), Whole Foods (too much warehouse time, short shelf life and everything is stupid expensive) and Sprouts (weird and limited selection, often not fresh). On those grounds alone, I would be happy to have an HEB in the neighborhood. They would also do a great business with prepared foods given the proximity to downtown. That is a big money maker for the Central Market store.

  • I see your Fiesta and raise you a Restaurant Depot. Arguably the best location for serving the western Heights, Shady Acres, Timbergrove, and southern GOOF.

  • Wait, did someone just say they LIKE self checkout?!

  • @roadchick – the Buffalo Speedway Kroger is one of their nicest stores. I used to live in that area, and that Kroger was my main grocery store, until the HEB Buffalo Market was built. There are definitely other Kroger stores, like the one I live near now, which are not as nice. I like Kroger for a lot of things, but there are certain things I can’t see myself buying there. The main thing which comes to mind is seafood. Their seafood sections always stink. Same thing with Randall’s and Fiesta. I only buy seafood at HEB (including Central Market) and Whole Foods. There is probably a vicious cycle going on with seafood where, if the quality is low, nobody buys it, and then it sits around for a long time on ice not being bought, lowering the quality.

    I want HEB to hurry up and take over the center on the SW corner of Stella Link and South Braeswood.

  • @roadchick: The Buffalo Speedway Kroger is the Hoity Toity Kroger. Come to a ghetto Kroger sometime for a bit of perspective.
    @Tacotruck: People seem to love self checkout. Especially people who don’t know how to operate the equipment, who act as though this is the first time they’ve seen a bar code scanner, who have pockets full of crumpled bills and pennies, who were deposited in front of the machine, as if by sorcery, somehow unaware of the modern world.
    If I were king, there would be a self checkout license and it would have to be renewed yearly. The test would be timed.

  • HEB continues to be afraid to go into the Heights proper or into GOOF. I’ve long surmised that the people with HEB corporate want a very high-income demographic in their target area, and preferably one made up of families with children in the home. They look at possibly outdated census profiles for The Heights and Garden Oaks and think that the income levels and minority representation are higher than the reality. Outside of Gulfgate, I don’t recall HEB building any stores that didn’t serve an upscale, mainly white trade area. I’ll stand corrected if you can show me recently built locations that don’t fit the suburban mold.

  • I’m going to join Roadchick in defending Kroger – I love my Kroger: the med center posher one, not the tatty Cambridge one that was erroneously reported as closing a few months ago.
    As joel pointed out, grocery stores are a low-margin business (about 3%) so I also don’t understand how putting one at Studemont and Washington is going to make things better for the Kroger, Yale Wal-Mart, and Sprouts. Talk about brutal competition. If I were HEB, I’d opt for some plan to be closer to the Shepherd Fiesta that is closing.
    As for Alex’s wish to see an HEB at Stella Link and South Braeswood, that will probably be a long slog to reality since that area is prone to flooding. The Spec’s in the shopping center flooded (and closed briefly). Their store at Chimney Rock and South Braeswood flooded in the Great Memorial Day flood and the remodel is nice but you can tell that they put the bare minimum dollars needed to open the doors. (There’s that low margin business again.)
    All of this being said, I am a big fan of HEB but primarily shop at my Kroger.

  • Only in decadent Babylon can you have Walmart, Kroger, Target, Whole Foods all in a miles radius serving the elite new neighborhoods. While the entire 5th Ward has 1 Feista, Kashmere Gardens 1 Fiesta, Acres Homes 1 Joe V’s, Greenspoint 1 Walmart (nowhere near the mass amount of complexes to mention), 3rd Ward and 4th Ward have no grocery stores only benefits due to the mass amount of gentrification around them that they get a few outside grocers. There is a serious problem in this facist imperialistic state. ✊🏾

  • The Kroger at 11th is nice enough, but when you head into the H-E-B at Buffalo Speedway or on Dunlavy.. it’s just on another level. This one would be on the way for many Heights people commuting to downtown, and I know many of us would be thrilled to have it. Really hope it works out.

  • I much prefer self checkout. I can be through with my usual 5-10 items in about 60 seconds, far faster than any regular line.

  • I have lived in Timbergrove/Heights/Rice Military for 16 years. I’ve hung in there w/ the Kroger on 11th, the absolutely horrible Kroger on 20th and tried to get into the one on Studemont but they all suck. At this point I drive to the HEB at Bunker Hill or the one on San Felipe at Fountainview just before they close so I can go after traffic. That’s how much I despise Kroger. Those of us who want fresh, quality, real food (I couldn’t care less about aisles full of processed food at any grocery store) want to shop at HEB and there are more of us every day. I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS – PLEASE SAY IT IS SO!

  • If you’re going to call America “fascist” because the distribution of grocery stores doesn’t conform to your preferences, you should know how to spell “fascist”.

    I suspect that the people expending their time and money on placing new grocery stores have a better idea where they can put a viable store than you do, Salvador Allende.

  • A lot of people seem to keep forgetting the HEB over on Scott and OST. Sort of in the third ward (technically south of it?), definitely servicing it. The history of HEB inside the loop is a weird one. The first 2 HEBs (not sure the order) was that one and the Gulfgate HEB. Of all the places you could put an HEB in Houston those made so little sense. There was also the Central Market though, I think they thought that was the extent of the high end inner loop market they needed to serve.
    Way back when I first moved to Houston I lived right across from the CVS on Holcombe, and would try to find an HEB to go to with my roommates (I had gotten addicted to them living in Austin). Our first trip sent us to the OST one, the second trip sent us to the tiny one that used to exist right west of the Galleria. Even the one over by Bellaire was fairly tiny. There really wasn’t anything else nearby, which always struck me as strange.
    Now they’ve dropped 2 really nice ones in the loop and replaced the tiny galleria one with one of the nicest HEBs I’ve ever seen (over on San Jac). I’ve heard they are also going to replace the Bellaire one as well.

  • @Jodie: Now it all makes sense. I could never figure out why people liked HEB more than Kroger, but I never buy fresh real food. It’s just can after can of Beanee Weenees for me.

  • @Shady: I believe that Scott McClelland’s daughters live in the Heights. He is in Houston all the time and knows the area very well. HEB just about had a deal locked up for where the Walmart is on Yale but got out bid at the last minute. HEB builds their Joe V’s Smart Shop in low income areas to compete with Aldi and Fiesta. Their wheelhouse is the suburban store, but they are becoming much more innovative with urban stores than other grocers. They opened a 12k sq ft market on South Flores in downtown San Antonio just last December. It is a bit of a test concept, but might be a good sign for those wanting an HEB in the Heights and GOOF. They prefer a 6 acre parcel to do a store, but are capable of adapting and doing a custom concept when they want to. HEB just moves more deliberately than the giants like Kroger, Walmart and Target. HEB has about 370 stores and Kroger has about 2,600. HEB is also privately held. So, they do not have the same resources or pressures that the big guys have.

  • @HAG. My mistake. I totally misread it. Along with what the others have said though, I do think its kind of an impossible location for HEB unless they get the dry rules changed and buy up a lot or two surrounding it. Not enough room, and I doubt they’d do a stand alone beer/wine market (it doesn’t seem like their style). Also 6 acres (seemingly HEB’s requirements on space) between the heights and GOOF is going to be quite a request, unless they can knock down the sears and start over there. I would think though, if possible they’d (HEB) want to be somewhere between Garden Oaks and Oak Forest to get pulls from both neighborhoods..

  • At least Kroger is union so I feel better spending my money there than HEB.

  • @Sholehvar spending more for an inferior product. You certainly are entitled to it.

  • @heyheyhouston: The people who work at my Kroger I consider to be friends and neighbors. It’s not just about money. That said, I would still disagree with folks who feel HEB is so much nicer. HEB has this Blue Bell-cultish feeling about it that strikes me more as an identity thing than being based on actually quality of the product. Anyway, I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy union whenever I can so I’m grateful for that.

  • Mixed use? As in, there will be at least 1500 customers, er residents , within walking distance? Like a real city?

  • @ahyeadude, that Restaurant Depot (formerly K-Mart) site is horrifically flood-prone.

  • I admit, we’re spoiled because we pretty much exclusively shop at the Buffalo Speedway HEB or Dunlavy HEB. I avoid Kroger (even the nice Buffalo Speedway one) because I hate having to type my number in every time (and no, I won’t ever carry those cards around). Main St. Fiesta is my go to in a pinch and Kroger in Montrose is my go to for Graeter’s ice cream. CoH should really do something about the true food deserts.

  • @Sholehvar I’m fairly certain that HEB is a much better place to work for. Its probably in your friends and neighbors best interest to have better opportunities.

  • Please east Texas Edgewood r Canton we need you