Four proposals for downtown San Antonio grocery stores have been submitted to the city, but all are smaller than city planners desired.

The proposals were all under 8,000 square feet and were received from the Sheraton Gunter Hotel, HEB, Josh Levine of Uncommon Fare and from Blue Star Grocery's Joey Villarreal.

City leaders want a downtown grocery store because of all the new residents moving there and because even more new apartments are under construction.

However, in offering fee waivers and up to $1 million the city was hoping to lure a large grocery store to serve residents, workers and tourists.

Lori Houston, Dir. Center City Development Office, said those three users would help generate enough spending potential for up to a 20,000 square foot grocery store. 

"We are talking about an actual supermarket grocery store with parking where you can buy your groceries for the week," Houston said before the proposals were received.

Villarreal offered one of the smallest proposed grocery stores and speculated on the viability of a large one. "At this current time maybe it's not viable," Villarreal said.

He still plans to build a store selling food from his Blue Star Brewing Company and some locally produced eggs, poultry, pork and beef. But it won't be a full service grocery.

"Right now our initial plan is not to have any canned goods, but we'll have like, it's only going to be 2,500, 2,400 square feet," Villarreal said.

The proposal for the larger store was advertised nationally, but grocer and County Commissioner Kevin Wolff predicted earlier that downtown wasn't ready.

"I don't believe that there's anywhere downtown yet that could sustain a 20,000 square foot store," Wolff said.

Wolff said he may still build a small store downtown and others like one on North Alamo are already on the way.

A city committee will be meeting to review the responses over the next few weeks and hopes to submit a recommendation to city council in August.

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