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H-E-B buys Upper Kirby land for new development

Houston Business Journal | 02.07.2018

San Antonio-based H-E-B Grocery Co. recently closed on its purchase of land near the northwest intersection of Kirby Drive and West Alabama Street, the Houston Business Journal has confirmed. Houston-based firms Dosch Marshall Real Estate and Baker Katz represented the seller and H-E-B, respectively. 

H-E-B is partnering with Houston-based Midway to develop the property, but more details about the plans were not immediately available. Midway declined to share any new information about H-E-B, and the grocer didn’t immediately respond to HBJ’s request for comment. A timeline for development was not available.

The new Upper Kirby H-E-B will have some close grocery competition. Not only is there a Whole Foods Market just across Kirby Drive, but Trader Joe’s is only half a mile east on West Alabama. Additionally, H-E-B’s Montrose store is just a mile east on West Alabama, and its Buffalo Speedway store is less than two miles away.

Midway also is developing an H-E-B-anchored mixed-use project at the intersection of South Heights Boulevard and Washington Avenue. That project, called Buffalo Heights, broke ground in spring 2017, and the first phase is expected to deliver in spring 2019. The H-E-B will offer multilevel parking, a departure from its traditional single-level, suburban-style stores. 

Although H-E-B normally buys the land where it has stores, the Buffalo Heights location was an exception. H-E-B entered into a long-time lease with the owner of the land, Russell Gordy, HBJ reported last year.

Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of Midway, told HBJ last year that Midway is still working with H-E-B on opening more urban storefronts throughout Houston. H-E-B's store in Buffalo Heights will be around 90,000 square feet, but future locations in the city's urban core will likely be 60,000 square feet, he said at the time.

Development nearby the future Upper Kirby H-E-B includes two residential projects underway. Giorgetti Houston — a luxury condominium project — is set to break ground in March, and the long-awaited Hanover River Oaks apartment tower broke ground in December. Houston-based Hanover Co. finally bought the land from the Dickey-Lippincott family in December 2016 after some delays. The family of William Dickey, who died in 1999, had controlled most of the land along Kirby between Westheimer and West Alabama for more than a century, HBJ previously reported.