H-E-B plans a transformation of its longest-standing supermarket in Austin, Texas, that will turn the location into a “creative, world-class grocery store” and community gathering place.
In a two-year project, the store will be completely rebuilt and enlarged to more than 100,000 square feet, H-E-B said yesterday. The 2400 South Congress Ave. H-E-B originally opened in 1957 at 25,000 square feet and in the decades since has undergone remodels that expanded its footprint to its current 69,000 square feet.
The plan marks the first time the supermarket will be reconstructed from the ground up, H-E-B noted, adding that the store will be one of its most innovative companywide at its projected opening in 2022.
“We are thrilled to share the news about our vision for this store with our neighbors. Our goal is to represent their needs and greatest wishes for their neighborhood grocery store while keeping with the personality and vibrancy of the South Congress community,” Jeff Thomas, senior vice president and general manager for H-E-B’s Central Texas region, said in a statement. “We still have a year of planning ahead of us before we begin construction, and we’re excited to use that time to listen to community members and gain their valuable feedback on how the new store can best serve them.”
Serving neighborhoods around South Congress Avenue and Oltorf Street, the store will display murals and artworks by local artists and carry “an overall vibe that reflects its iconic South Congress location,” H-E-B said. Elements slated to create a community-center feel — with “influences from across the world” — include an “eclectic” food hall with indoor and outdoor dining areas, the chain’s first-ever beer garden and a pedestrian-friendly perimeter with wide, tree-lined sidewalks to encourage people to walk and bike to the store, according to the retailer.
Other features include two-level underground parking; more vibrant signage and natural light throughout the store; a wide selection of fresh, organic and prepared foods plus bulk items; and a full-service pharmacy. Upon opening, the store also will offer the H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery online grocery services.
H-E-B said it expects the permit and planning process to run until mid- to late 2020, and the store will remain open and fully operational during that time. Plans call for a temporary store to be opened at the adjacent Twin Oaks Shopping Center upon the start of construction, which is expected to take two years to complete.
“We have spent years exploring options for how to address the needs of this community as it continues to grow while ensuring we could maintain the everyday low prices and outstanding customer service our shoppers expect,” stated Leslie Sweet, director of public affairs. “We have a long, exciting road ahead of us.”
H-E-B has announced a couple of other store projects for this year. The company said it plans to complete a “wall-to-wall remodel” of its 54,259-square-foot store at 2701 East 7th St. on Austin’s east side by midsummer, and in February ground was broken for a new 90,000-square-foot store in Houston’s Third Ward-Riverside community that’s slated to open in late 2019.
New locations opened this year by H-E-B include a 92,000-square-foot supermarket in Houston’s Heights section at the end of January and an 80,000-square-foot store in the North Texas community of Hudson Oaks earlier this month.