H-E-B South Flores Market Designed for Everyone

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The H-E-B South Flores Market is designed to appeal to a broad range of urban dwellers when it opens on Dec. 2: multi-generational families, Millennials who rent, people who prepare meals at home and want fresh produce, meat and fish, and customers on the run who want to pick up prepared food or a meal ready to pop into the microwave.

There will be 700 different wines and a selection of craft brews. Sushi will be made on the premises, and salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and dinners from Central Market will be available for takeout.

There also will be a wide selection of freshly baked goods and a coffee bar for morning commuters on their way to work, and a shaded outdoor patio for those in no hurry to get to the office. Walkers can bring their dogs and leash them outside after a stop at the pet water bowls. Bus stops are close by, there will be a bike rack with 12 slots, and 47 parking spaces. Drivers will be able to gas up on premises.

The future home of the 8 bay gas station at H-E-B South Flores Market. Photo by Scott Ball.

The future home of the eight bay gas station at H-E-B South Flores Market. Photo by Scott Ball.

There isn’t room for a pharmacy, but the newly refurbished Nogalitos H-E-B is 1.7 miles away and its pharmacy offers delivery service.

The South Flores Market will stock all the essentials people seem to run out of at the wrong time: bread, milk, eggs, dog food, toilet paper.

Southtown is one of the city’s most socio-economically diverse neighborhoods, and if H-E-B planners have got it right, the new store at the corner of South Flores Street and César Chávez Boulevard will meet everyone’s expectations, all in the space of 12,000 sq. ft.

People have clamored for a downtown grocery store for years, but a lack of residential density made H-E-B and every other grocer wary of such a venture. Not any more. More people are moving into the neighborhood every day as former Mayor Julían Castro’s Decade of Downtown enters its second half, and now stands as a policy initiative that served as the catalyst for making the South Flores Market a reality.

Nearly a dozen multifamily developments and condo and townhouse projects are under construction or on the drawing board within a one-mile circumference of the store. The 300-plus unit Agave apartments on the north side of César Chávez Boulevard uses three sentences on its home page to market the property: “Walk to work. Shop at the H-E-B South Flores Market. Taste Trending Restaurants. ”

From projects like the 336-unit Flats at Big Tex and 229-unit Southtown Flats near the Blue Star Arts Complex to smaller projects along South Flores Street like the 67-unit Steel House Lofts and the 102-unit Peanut Factory Lofts on South Frio Street, developers say supply has yet to meet demand for urban-bound renters and buyers alike. Several developers have cited H-E-B’s decision to build the South Flores Market as central to their decision to move forward with new projects.

Weston Urban‘s plans to add hundreds of new residential units downtown and the Southwest School of Art‘s search for a partner to develop its available property all suggest that within five years there could be 2,000 more units within walking and easy cycling distance of the South Flores Market.

A bike path stretches parallel with South Flores in front of the newest H-E-B set to open December 2nd, 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

A protected cycle track runs parallel with South Flores Street in front of the South Flores Market. Photo by Scott Ball.

Joeris construction crews are in the home stretch of completing the project with three and half weeks to go, and it’s possible even now to tell a lot about the unfinished market.

South Flores Market was a collaborative design effort between Lake/Flato Architects and H-E-B’s own in-house architects led by Senior Vice President for Strategic Design Bill Triplett.

“David Lake and I worked on this design together, and we’ve done a lot of projects together over the years,” Triplett said. “They know form, and we know the retail business, and we had a lot of fun sitting together, sketching things, throwing out ideas, some we liked, some we threw back, it was a good experience.”

The result is an energy-efficient, LEED-rated building and fueling shade structure that is restrained in scale and appearance. The store’s interior and exterior functions are designed for low-water usage. The result is an attractive modern structure that fits naturally into the evolving H-E-B Arsenal campus and the surrounding neighborhood that is residential, commercial and industrial, and includes historic and contemporary residences.

The store’s brick walls complement the sturdy brick exteriors of the now-converted light industrial buildings along South Flores Street, like the Justin Candy Factory. Even the beckoning South Flores Market sign seems vintage. An inviting ‘living wall’ of ferns, grasses and violets will help cool the building while adding to the landscaping,

Triplett said he first saw a ‘living wall’ on a visit to Paris and became familiar with them as the handiwork of French architect Patrick Blanc.

“People ask if a ‘living wall’ has functionality because it is so beautiful,” he said, displaying photographs of a mature flowering wall at the H-E-B San Felipe store in Houston. “Plants do cool the building. Plants are great insulators.”

A construction worker walks by the future location of the living wall with irrigation lines. Photo by Scott Ball.

A construction worker walks by the future location of the living wall with irrigation lines. Photo by Scott Ball.

Interior bowstring steel arches support a high roof, with clerestory windows that make for a naturally lighted interior even on a cloudy day. A back brick wall awaits the installation of four large Chuck Ramirez photographs from the Southtown artist’s Brooms Series 2007. Ramirez, who died tragically in a bike accident five years ago, worked for years as a graphics designer at H-E-B headquarters. (Read more: Works by Chuck Ramirez to Adorn South Flores Market.)

Wood – old longleaf pine with a notable local pedigree – is the other showcase element.

“When you enter the store you will see wood elements,” Triplett said. “The company that gutted Joske’s department store approached H-E-B with the beams. Some of the primary structure and all of the secondary store structure is reclaimed longleaf pine from Joske’s.”

Writing from the original lumber reused by H-E-B. Photo by Scott Ball.

Reclaimed beams from Joske’s bear the name of a local 19th century lumber yard. Photo by Scott Ball.

Joske’s opened in 1888 on the corner of Commerce and Alamo Streets, and many of the beams still bear the names of different San Antonio lumber yards in an era when there were dozens of different yards in operation.

Shoppers entering the store will be greeted by tables of fresh produce with glass doors displaying fresh breads, cakes, pies, and other baked goods. Smaller shopping carts, including pull-behind hand carts on wheels, will make store navigation easier. The interior floors are concrete and the exterior walkways and patio are paved with flagstone.

The South Flores Market will be open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The first 500 shoppers on Dec. 2 will receive a complimentary canvass shopping bag bearing a Chuck Ramirez image from his Euro Bag Series 2009.

When the doors open to the South Flores Market on the morning of Dec. 2, the first 500 customers will be given a canvas shopping bag featuring a Chuck Rodriguez image from his Euro Bag Series 2009. Courtesy of Ruiz-Healy Art and H-E-B.

When the doors open to the South Flores Market on the morning of Dec. 2, the first 500 customers will be given a canvas shopping bag featuring a Chuck Ramirez image from his Euro Bag Series 2009. Courtesy of Ruiz-Healy Art and H-E-B.

 

This article was originally published on Sunday, Nov. 8.

*Top Image: Senior Vice President of Strategic Design Bill Triplett walks towards the entrance of the H-E-B South Flores Market.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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22 thoughts on “H-E-B South Flores Market Designed for Everyone

  1. Looks grand! But Bob, you left out us Baby-Boomers in your list of customers, and HEB left out a pharmacy! Some of us still plan on another 20 years of shopping. 😉

    • CVS is supposed to open just down the street on S. St Mary’s. Probably leaving out the pharmacy was a smart move. We do need a pharmacy in this area, but I prefer to have more grocery space when there’s another pharmacy nearby (if it ever opens…)

  2. Unfortunately, for the amount of current downtown/southtown dwellers, this grocery store hardly seems sufficient. I can’t imagine how crowded it will be once all the additional apartment housing is complete and occupied.
    700 different wines? It seems an over abundance of alcohol will use valuable square footage that could have been used for a pharmacy.
    I also don’t understand why the ceilings have to be so tall for a one level market. The cost of heating and cooling all that unused space will be trickled down to the customers.

  3. Hopefully a CVS or Walgreens can pop up nearby and provide pharmacy services. As the one of the smallest built H-E-B’s in Texas I am kind of sad it doesn’t have one.

  4. Why all the fuss about no pharmacy? As the article stated, the HEB on Nogalitos delivers. Can’t find what you want at this HEB, then go the whole 1.7 miles to the Nogalitos location. It the Nogalitos HEB doesn’t have what you want, then start requesting that they carry it.

      • I live along South Flores two blocks from the new HEB and I personally have no problem with it having no pharmacy. There is a Walgreens and CVS downtown. The HEB pharmacy on Nogalitos will deliver to your house. I’m all favor of less gas pumps though.

    • With a CVS going in just down the street, perhaps they reasoned that it would not be an efficient use of space. And perhaps they know their customers 😉

  5. I am so happy this HEB is opening soon in downtown. Good for tourism, trying to buy snacks or just something quick to take to the hotel in the evening, this is going to be great.
    I go to SA a few times a year, and like to stay in the area of the Mercado. I do not want to have to drive around a lot looking for an HEB ( and we’ve been to Nogalitos store, looks great), but want to avoid driving out of our way. There are other stores like Walgreens or CVS, but not HEB………

  6. I am surprised no one has mentioned the fact that it closes at 8 pm. That makes me feel it is more geared to downtown workers grabbing lunch or something on the way home than actual downtown residents having a local grocery source. Sure hope you don’t have to work late or plan on working out after work before your trip to the grocery store. Hope you don’t run out of dog food after 8 pm.

    • Hi Jason

      This is the last paragraph of the story:

      “The South Flores Market will be open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The first 500 shoppers on Dec. 2 will receive a complimentary canvass shopping bag bearing a Chuck Ramirez image from his Euro Bag Series 2009.”

      Like you, we hope the store’s traffic leads managers to extend evening hours to 10 p.m. Midnight on weekends would be great, too. Shoppers will have to convince store managers that staying open late will pay. –RR

  7. Food for thought: if you live in the downtown core or inner eastside, the most convenient full service HEB (late hours, pharmacy) for you just might be the ‘Deco B’ on Fredericksburg Road – accessible with the 100 PRIMO bus and VIA routes 95, 96 and 97 which run frequently to and from downtown.

    The Deco HEB would be much more bikeable to and from downtown (4mi) with bike lanes and pedestrian lighting (not to mention creating sidewalks in stretches) along Fredericksburg Road. Or if SARA and the City ever got around to building the connected Martinez Creek to Alazan Creek to Apache Creek paved trail network (4mi) promised with SARA and City planning in 2011.

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