The city has given tentative approval for a downtown grocery store to be built by HEB.

This summer, the city asked for proposals for a downtown store of 15,000 to 20,000 square feet, saying a store that size could be supported by the growing population of urban dwellers, downtown workers and tourists.

The qualifying proposal could be in line for a $1 million incentive.

However, the proposal submitted by HEB is for a store of 6,000 to 8,000 square feet.

HEB’s proposal stated the store would be built on the southeast corner of Cesar Chavez and South Flores on property it already owns.

It would include "fresh produce, floral, prepared foods, sandwiches and salads, deli, fresh bread, beer and wine" and more.

Lori Houston, director of the city’s Center City Development Office, said no proposal submitted was for the size of store the city wanted but that this proposal was the best.

"We feel that it's going to be a great amenity for our downtown area," Houston said.

Houston said she notified HEB its proposal is being considered and will be negotiating with the company to finalize it.

HEB has asked for incentives including the $1 million grant, a reduction of SAWS impact fees, the closure of a portion of South Main Street and the surrender of the city's right of way.

"Based on the four proposals, we felt the HEB proposal did have the product diversity we're looking for and had the most square footage," Houston said. “The HEB project is definitely an option we're looking at. And we feel it's very promising.”

The city turned down proposals for other small grocery stores, including Joey Villarreal's plan to build one at the Blue Star Complex.

HEB is already working on redeveloping nearby property to include a test kitchen and cooking school.

Houston hopes to bring a negotiated proposal to city council for final approval in the next couple of months.

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