Retailers

H-E-B’s South Austin Expansion Delayed by COVID-19

Opens new store, plans to invest more than $200 million in area projects
Photograph courtesy of H-E-B

H-E-B remains committed to investing more than $200 million in its South Austin, Texas, market, with one of the initiative's key projects coming to life next month. But as the retailer “adjusts to the new realities of these changing times,” H-E-B has made some changes to other Austin store opening and construction plans, including the decision to postpone the construction start of the South Congress H-E-B, which it says is a complex redesign and landmark project.

In the meantime, H-E-B's newest store in South Austin is set to open June 10 at 8801 S. Congress Ave. 

The opening of the nearly 130,000-square-foot store will be followed by additional store openings, the construction schedules of which are evolving due to circumstances around the coronavirus, said the San Antonio-based grocer.

“Filled with some of the most modern amenities, innovations and features H-E-B offers, the vibrant market will offer H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery services, a large pharmacy with drive-thru lanes, and boast the city’s first True Texas BBQ with a drive-thru,” said H-E-B in a release. The restaurant will have indoor and outdoor seating and the company’s first indoor children’s playground area (which will be temporarily closed due to coronavirus safety precautions).

Additional amenities include an expansive Healthy Living department; Blooms floral area; expanded beer and wine department; bakery with Tortilleria; full-service meat market and seafood counter; large Dinner Tonight selection,, with Meal Simple offerings, fresh sushi and Cooking Connection demos; and Texas Backyard, offering products for grilling, gardening and outdoor entertaining.

The location’s modern design is accented by a colorful facade and a canopy of windows that allow natural light to flow throughout the building.

In celebration of the South Austin grand opening, H-E-B has made commitments totaling nearly $70,000 to local nonprofit organizations and surrounding schools, including $50,000 to TreeFolks to help in its initiative to plant trees throughout the community; $15,000 in gift cards to three surrounding schools; and $3,000 to the River City Youth Foundation to help with youth programming. H-E-B also said it would donate some of the first meals cooked at its True Texas BBQ to more than 150 Central Texas Food Bank staff members.

'Special Store' Gets a New Look

In the coming months, H-E-B plans to revisit its South Congress project’s design to ensure it meets evolving shopping patterns and customer expectations as a result of COVID-19.

“This is a special store, and we will move forward with construction when we are certain our plan offers the dynamic and innovative shopping experience our loyal and deserving South Congress customers will be proud of for decades to come,” said Leslie Sweet, H-E-B director of public affairs, in a statement. “This is a postponement only. We remain deeply committed to bringing South Congress customers an iconic store that will offer a unique, world-class shopping experience.”

Currently, H-E-B doesn’t have a new timeline for the design and construction of the new store. The existing South Congress H-E-B will remain open to serve customers until construction starts. Once construction begins, H-E-B plans to open a temporary store across the street at the Twin Oaks Shopping Center.

This summer, H-E-B is expected to begin construction on a new store that will replace an existing location in the Oak Hill community. This 90,000-square-foot store will be located on more than 30 acres at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 290 and FM 1826. It’s expected to open next year.

Plans remain on track for the H-E-B Lake Austin on Exposition and Lake Austin boulevards, which is slated to open in 2021.

With over 50 stores in Austin and the surrounding area, H-E-B has also renovated several stores, such as the East 7th Street H-E-B and the Riverside H-E-B Plus, which increased the store’s footprint and increased the Curbside size to one of the largest in the company. On May 8, H-E-B added and opened a Curbside department at the North Lamar Boulevard and West Rundberg Lane H-E-B store.

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