HOUSTON – (By Michelle Leigh Smith for Realty News Report) – Although the sleek, ultra-modern store is not set to open until Wednesday, the parking lot of the new H-E-B Meyerland Market buzzed with staffers arriving early for Sunday morning training.
Sparkling smiles welcomed employees as they passed a gleeful wall with playful paintings of owls dressed up in party hats, llamas wrapped in red mufflers and a giraffe graced with a pear, plum and grape necklace.
The architect did a stunning job of creating openness, allowing shoppers to be greeted by the fragrant white phalaenopsis orchids and inviting tables at The Roastery coffee bar. While Trader Joe’s decorates their bags with jokes and hand stamps, H-E-B has gained a strong reputation for the lighthearted vibe of their store décor, designed to fit each community’s unique taste. The happy, whimsical art follows a community arts initiative begun when Bellaire Market kicked it all off with a permanent interactive light installation called Blue by You, by Texas artist Ansen Seale. Moving forward in all Houston multi-level stores, the company commissions an artist to create custom, site-specific installation, adding an engaging element to each neighborhood’s H-E-B.
The new store represents a neighborhood recovery of for Meyerland neighborhood from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The storm flooded hundreds of homes and businesses and four synagogues in the Meyerland area.
At Meyerland Plaza, the H-E-B is located on northwest corner of the shopping center.The 950,000-SF Meyerland Plaza center is owned by a partnership of Bellaire-based Fidelis Realty Partners, led by Alan Hassenflu, and BlackRock Realty Advisors of New York.
The Meyerland shopping center has felt the impact of the nationwide “Retail Armageddon” shake-out with recent closures announced by Pier 1 Imports and Bed Bath and Beyond. The opening of H-E-B is expected to inject significant new momentum into Meyerland Plaza.
The new two-story 95,000 SF store, located at 4955 Beechnut at Loop 610, is 20,000 SF larger than the nearby H-E-B Bellaire Market on Bissonnet and Cedar and five times the size of the former HEB Pantry store on South Braeswood that closed after enduring significant damage from Hurricane Harvey.
Elevators and escalators in the expanded and covered parking two-level garage with 712 spaces ease navigation to and from your vehicle.
Due to popular demand, the store is stocked with an expansive selection of certified Kosher items produced in-store and approved by a full-time mashgiach. More than 800 brands of select kosher provisions will help fill a large gap created by the recent closure of Belden’s, a kosher-friendly grocery store on 5300 N. Braeswood, in the heart of Houston’s Jewish community.
“I will shop there,” says Ali Khalife, co-owner of the nearby Fadi’s restaurant. “There’s a lot of hype for the new store and I think it will bring in more traffic for neighboring businesses like mine. A large portion of my clientele is Jewish and I know they are very excited about it.”
The store will offer traditional H-E-B fare, along with a slew of kosher offerings, including a dedicated bakery, butcher, sandwiches, and coffee shop, plus sections stocked with kosher frozen food, seafood and dairy products, said Hugh Sintic, manager for the new location, when he spoke to the Bellaire Business Association.
“We tried to bring everything together so that you can get all of your kosher products in one place,” Sintic said. He and his wife spent a week in New York City, visiting various Orthodox rabbis, living a completely kosher lifestyle, sleeping in separate beds. Sintec took these extra steps so he could better understand the rules and requirements of the most authentic kosher proviso.
H-E-B also consulted with the Chabad House and Levi Donin on the kosher requirements.
The new two-story building sits adjacent to JCPenney, and shares a bridge walkway on the second floor, Sintic said and is already being used by some Penney employees.
They are hiring many former Belden’s employees, according to Sintec.
An invitation-only community preview event will serve as the official ribbon cutting of the store before doors open to the public on Wednesday.
H-E-B executives and store leaders will be on-site during Tuesday’s community preview to answer questions about the store, departments, products and services.
H-E-B Meyerland Market follows the latest debut in the H-E-B family at N. MacGregor Way and Highway 288 in mid-December of 2019, which replaced an older H-E-B at Scott and Old Spanish Trail in the Third Ward. The 90,000 SF MacGregor Mart also has a drive-through pharmacy, curbside pick-up and a scratch bakery. The 96,000 SF Buffalo Heights H-E-B opened in October 2019, anchoring the Buffalo Heights midrise project at 3663 Washington Ave. The was another first for the super chain, introducing a grocery inside a mixed-use development.
The new H-E-B marks the first grocery-forward store in Meyerland Plaza since the departure of Henke & Pillot in the mid-1960s, when Kroger retired that name and their own signature became more prominent than the chain which began in 1872 by Henry Henke. Meyerland Plaza’s Target also sold groceries in recent years.
Jan. 27, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020
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