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Council To Hear Recommendation In August On Downtown Grocery Store

Uncommon Fare

The City of San Antonio received four responses to its Request For Information from possible grocery store developers in the downtown area.

The city wants to populate downtown with young, urban dwellers with modern careers and lifestyles, who use alternative transportation rather than driving expensive, polluting, gasoline-powered vehicles.

But there is currently a fundamental obstacle to living in downtown--residents have to travel if they want groceries.

Lori Houston, director of the city’s Center City Development Office, said the RFI was based on a grocery store study, which found that downtown could sustain a 15,000 square foot store--a supermarket.

Blue Star Brewery owner Joey Villarreal said he submitted a proposal to open the conversation about the possibility for several smaller stores.

"If you’ve been in New York City or any of these big cities, that’s how it is. These neighborhoods have small stores in their neighborhoods," Villarreal said.

Josh Levine owns a small food store in a downtown loft community and said residents want groceries closer to home. Levine disagrees with study findings that a large store would catalyze downtown growth, and he proposed six smaller stores.

  • River North around 1221 Broadway
  • Dignowity Hill on the East Side
  • City Center at the Weston Center
  • Cevallos, the Lone Star Neighborhood or River South
  • Lavaca on South Alamo
  • West Side at Colorado and Ruiz

Proposals also were received from HEB and the Sheraton Gunter Hotel. The city has a $1-million dollar grant to offer a grocery store developer.
City officials plan to put the four proposals before a committee for review and hope to make recommendation to city council in August.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.