City Council Approves H-E-B Street Closure, Downtown Grocery Store

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H-E-B master plan renderings courtesy of Lake/Flato Architects.

H-E-B master plan renderings courtesy of Lake/Flato Architects.

Iris DimmickAfter an especially passionate citizens to be heard session, City Council voted in favor of closing the block of South Main Avenue that dissects H-E-B’s property and a development agreement for the grocery chain’s proposed 10,000 square foot store and improvements to surrounding public streets.

Correction: The vote was unanimous but District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules and District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg recused themselves from the process.

After the bike lanes, landscaping, widened sidewalks and traffic mitigation improvements have been constructed – which is expected to take six to eight months and cost $4 million– S. Main Avenue will be closed to public access. H-E-B will then begin the more than nine month construction of “Flores Market” (working title) store and the remaining $100 million master plan.

[Read more about H-E-B’s master plan here.]

The vote comes as no surprise to both supporters and those in opposition, the presentations from the Center City Development Office and H-E-B given during yesterday’s Planning Commission vote.

[Read more about the passionate citizen debate here and hear from local residents and organizations: “H-E-B’s Street Closure Request: Is The Plan not a Plan? by Bob Wise and “H-E-B’s Street Closure Request: A Matter of Balance” by Pat DiGiovanni.]

“There is a reason why these issues are coming up more and more,” Mayor Julián Castro. “For the first time in a long time, things are happening downtown … what we have on the table is an opportunity to create a significant amount of jobs in the core of our city.”

Mayor Castro recognized the anger of many King William residents near the closure but sees H-E-B’s master plan as an important step to achieving SA2020 goals.

“It’s more personal when you live on that street,” he said. “(But) I’m mayor of the entire city, I have to think of the best interest of San Antonio.”

District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal offered the same confidence that the closure and H-E-B’s commitment to street and traffic improvements will result in a more robust neighborhood economically. Bernal cited the migration trend of residents and businesses away from the inner city and sees the addition of 1,600 jobs by 2030 a way to start the reversal of that trend.

Main Access Coalition (MAC), a neighborhood organization rallying against the closure, will continue to look into possible legal action to prevent the closure despite the council’s ruling, said lead organizer Charlotte Luongo after the Planning Commission meeting Wednesday.

“We’re not done yet,” said H-E-B’s Director of Public Affairs Dya Campos. There’s still opportunity for public input in the design process of the grocery store – which will also go through the Historic Design and Review Committee – and the city will appoint a committee to oversee the street improvements.

“When the store opens on the first day, it’s not going to be perfect,” Campos said. “But that’s normal … after we build a store, we’re always making little changes … this one will be no different.”

Both H-E-B and City representatives say they hope the participation in upcoming meetings will be strong and productive.

 

Iris Dimmick is managing editor of the Rivard Report. Follow her on Twitter @viviris or contact her at iris@rivardreport.com.

Full disclosure: H-E-B is a sponsor and advertiser on the Rivard Report, and Director Robert Rivard is building a residence on E. Arsenal Street on a lot purchased from H-E-B several years ago.

 

Related Stories:

H-E-B’s Street Closure Request: Is The Plan not a Plan?

H-E-B’s Street Closure Request: A Matter of Balance

Progress versus Protest: The Path to Smart Preservation and Development

King William Association Votes to Support Street Closure

Traffic Study Finds Minimal Impact from Proposed S. Main Avenue Closure

The Case For Keeping South Main Avenue Open

The Case for Rethinking South Main Avenue

H-E-B Briefs King William Neighbors on Expansion, Proposed Block Closure

 

15 thoughts on “City Council Approves H-E-B Street Closure, Downtown Grocery Store

  1. even though i LOVE trees.. i do wish they would create a LARGER store.. and incorporate a parking structure in stead of all that surface parking..

  2. Personally, I think this idea of closing Main Avencue for H.E.B.’s Master Plan will perhaps work out for both the city and H.E.B.’s envision of their downtown campus setting.God only knows how many times I have seen the employees that work at the corporate offfice or the vendors/contractors that go to H.E.B.’s corporate office have had to dodge traffic on this part of Main Avenue. ANd for that reason. I also observed auto drivers exceed the speed limit at the intersection of Arsenal/Main Avenue where folks trying to get to H.E.B. Coporate Office cross.

    I live close by this closure and think that Main Avenue will work best being closed off since it appears to be underutilized and not have a high motor vehicle traffic count. Though I do not travel this part of Main on a consistent basis. Yet, I do drive either past this part of Main or travel on it all together randomly. Wheether I travel to get to I.H. 35 or go to the downtown district. I do not see heavy auto traffic flow on this part of Main. And I do travel or walk either to downtown or other business outlets on Santa Rosa Street.

    Besides Main Avenue was closed off in front of San Fernando Church and the adjacent City Council Chambers and Man Plaza was created. TFrom what I understand auto traffic use to flow directly in fron of the cathedral. Then adjacent to this the County closed off Main as well for their County Annex building. In essence, it seems Main traffic flow that once ran a north/south direction from where it starts to where it ends at Alamo Street has been dissected for municipal purposes.

    So my point here is that perhaps this part of Main Closure would be better off in turning to an added tax revenuse for the city/county and other taxing municipalities. And from what I seen H.E.B. is allready starting on the city’s infrastructure improvement by laying out a sidewalk (that was long needed from my point of view) at the intersection of Arsenal (where it turns to El Paso Street) and South Flores. This is adjacent to a building (former warehouse) that H.E.B. is renovating to a culinary school for their employees that would be working at their stores.

    In view of this sidewalk improvement this was overdue since this part of El Paso Strret would flood and the downtown employees that would take adventage of the free parking that is there would have to track in the mud or flooded area where the sidewalk is now being laid out.

  3. Folks sorry about my grammatical errors. At6h the current time…I am using a public computer and have to get off.

    However, I hope I was still able to express my opinion clearly.

  4. There may be drawbacks to relocation of H-E-B headquarters, But can you imagine the benefits of them moving to an area like the old Lone Star Brewery? H-E-B would have plenty of room to expand. That campus is large enough to accommodate a super-sized supermarket, should they want to provide their neighbors with a real store. It’s in a beautiful park-like setting and very accessible to the river. THAT would be a win-Win-WIN solution!

  5. Now that Our Main Street will forever be blocked for City, County and Corporate (CCC) use, it is time to open up other avenues of traffic flow. Did you ever notice how VIA buses entering downtown from North Main Ave or San Pedro travel south? They have a special bus lane that allows them to travel a few blocks south on Navarro to continue south on St. Mary’s. The driving public must take numerous dog-legs to get to the same destination. It is time to alleviate CCC bottlenecks and open up accessible alternatives!

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