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H-E-B Tees Up Another Inner-Loop Location With Midway

Houston Retail
Northwest corner of Kirby and West Alabama

H-E-B closed on a tract of land near the northwest corner of Kirby Drive and West Alabama, the Houston Business Journal reports. H-E-B will once again partner with Midway, indicating a mixed-use project is in the works, though no plans were made available. The partnership is working on a mixed-use project together in the Washington Avenue corridor named Buffalo Heights. 

H-E-B's future store on Kirby will have stiff competition. The property is within a 2-mile radius of 11 other grocery stores: two other H-E-Bs, a Central Market (owned by H-E-B), Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe's, two Randalls and three Krogers. 

The Howard Hughes Corp. Vice President of Master Planned Communities Heath Melton, H-E-B Director of Real Estate Lisa Helfman, Caldwell Cos. Executive Vice President Peter Barnhart

"We're fine going head to head," H-E-B Director of Real Estate Lisa Helfman said at Bisnow's Future of Northwest Houston event last week. "That's not an issue."

Since bringing Helfman on three years ago, H-E-B has increased its focus on urban deals.

"I've brought more progressive deals to the company," Helfman said. "We're pushing the envelope more. When you're solving certain areas of the city, there's no way to do that with 10-15 acres, that land doesn't exist."

Typically H-E-B will buy between 10 and 12 acres for a new store, but never less than 6 acres. Helfman is working on a new concept that works on 4, which is close to the size of the Kirby tract.

Helfman has also pushed H-E-B to work with developers, like Midway. The strategy is paying off, according to Helfman. In Houston, H-E-B recently surpassed Kroger and Walmart to earn the top market share, but it is still in the low 20% range.