H-E-B in Fort Worth would add to resurgence of southeast

Posted Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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There is almost giddiness in Fort Worth, particularly on the southeast side, about the prospect of another supermarket chain opening a store in an area that once was considered a desert.

For too long, many residents of that part of the city have had to travel too far for the full-scale grocery offerings, especially fresh produce that has been plentiful in other sectors.

But when San Antonio-based H. E. Butt Grocery bought land and requested a zoning change, it sparked eager speculation that an H-E-B store would add to the list of companies willing to invest in an area long shunned by major retailers.

The City Council's unanimous approval Tuesday of rezoning for three acres at East Rosedale Street and Miller Avenue was a hopeful step that couldn't be dampened by an H-E-B representative's caution that a store, if built, might be only in the distant future. The resurgence of one of Fort Worth's most-neglected sectors has been slow but steady. Just last week, a Wal-Mart Supercenter held its grand opening in the new Renaissance Square development on the old Masonic Home and School site along U.S. 287 near Berry Street.

That increased the number of grocery options in the neighborhood: El Rio Grande Supermarket, a Latino-oriented specialty store in 2009 took over an old grocery space at East Berry Street and South Freeway and has been doing a brisk business.

H-E-B, known for high quality and low prices, has more than 150 stores in Texas and is most dominant in the southern part of the state. Although the company operates the higher-end Central Market stores in Fort Worth and Southlake, but the closest H-E-B supermarkets to Fort Worth are in Burleson, Cleburne and Granbury, all to the south. The 12-year-old Central Market thrives on Fort Worth's west side.

Star-Telegram City Hall reporter Scott Nishimura quoted an H-E-B spokeswoman as saying the company often buys land years ahead of construction and urging people not to read too much into the latest developments. But when the zoning application outlines a proposed Rosedale Marketplace, potentially with a 55,000-square foot store, warehouses and a 2,550-square-foot office building, residents can't be faulted for wishful thinking.

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