HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – H-E-B has finalized an agreement with Fidelis Realty to develop a two-story grocery store at Meyerland Plaza, located along Loop 610 in Southwest Houston, the grocery company announced Thursday.
The 95,000-SF project, first reported in October by Realty News Report, replaces another H-E-B at Chimney Rock and South Braeswood flooded in Hurricane Harvey and in a previous storm a few years ago.
“Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2019 with completion scheduled for the following fall,” H-E-B said in a news release.
The two-story H-E-B will have ground-floor parking and a BBVA Compass Bank on the first floor and a grocery store on the second floor, the San Antonio-based grocer said.
Located near the corner of Beechnut and Endicott streets on the northwest side of Meyerland Plaza, the H-E-B will be connected to the existing JC Penney by skybridge.
Meyerland Plaza, built in 1957 and redeveloped by Ed Wulfe about 20 years ago, has a number of big box retailers and a J.C. Penney. The 950,000-SF center is currently owned by a partnership of Bellaire-based Fidelis Realty Partners, led by Alan Hassenflu, and BlackRock Realty Advisors of New York. Meyerland Plaza was recently refinanced with a $93 million loan from John Hancock Life Insurance Co.
Meyerland Plaza, which covers about 50 acres, is located just south of the municipality of Bellaire, which has strong demographics and spending power. Meyerland Plaza was built in an earlier generation of retail, before enclosed air-conditioned malls were deeply in vogue.
H-E-B has been on a relentless quest for real estate in the Inner Loop of Houston where it already has several stores. The Houston Chronicle’s Chron.com website reported on Aug. 8 that H-E-B has contracted to buy a site at the northwest corner of West Alabama and Kirby, even though the company already has stores in the area and owns a nearby undeveloped site near the intersection of Shepherd and Richmond. The no-byline Chronicle report on the proposed Kirby Drive site, which is across the street from Whole Foods Market, was not verified by Realty News Report.
Even though it has no southwest Houston store south of Bissonnet street – the location of the Museum of Fine Arts and other city center addresses – H-E-B failed to actually pull the trigger to secure another southwest site, focusing instead on acquiring multiple Inner Loop locations. With the hurricane demolishing its South Braeswood store, combined with the closure of its Bellaire store while a new two-story grocery is being built there, H-E-B is left with a sizable gap in coverage in Southwest Houston. Loyal H-E-B shoppers must now travel to the chain’s Buffalo Speedway location, north of West University Place. Otherwise, the nearest H-E-B to the southwest is in Missouri City. Some retailers would have moved more quickly to build stores to address the huge gap in coverage, instead of ceding so many square miles to other retailers and allowing the competition to imprint on consumers shopping patterns.
Currently, some 197,000 people live within a three-mile radius of Meyerland Plaza and 508,000 live within five miles.
Meyerland Plaza has a number of big box retailers, including Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshalls, Best Buy, JC Penney, along with several chain restaurants. The existing BBVA Compass Bank building, a freestanding structure that is more than 50 years old, is expected to be demolished. The bank, which was inundated during Hurricane Harvey in late August, remains closed.
“H-E-B is committed to Meyerland and stands by this community as it rebuilds from Hurricane Harvey’s devastating floods,” said Cyndy Garza Roberts, H-E-B Public Affairs, Houston. “We will build a store that caters to the needs of the Meyerland community and we look forward to being a part of the neighborhood’s next chapter of growth.”
The new store will have a Kosher bakery, sushi, flowers and a large beer and wine department, H-E-B reported.
H-E-B, with annual sales of more than $24.6 billion, operates more than 390 stores in Texas and Mexico.
Fidelis Realty owns and develops a number of retail centers in Texas and other states.