Members of the Westside Preservation Alliance do not want to see the oldest operating HEB store in the city demolished in order to construct a new three-story grocery in its place.
“This building is part of that historical fabric of the community,” says WPA member Susana Segura.
HEB plans to level the current store -- built in 1945 -- and construct the multi-level store, which would be a first-of-its-kind in Texas.
Customers would be able to park on the ground level underneath the store and take an escalator to shop on the floors above.
HEB spokesperson Dya Campos said the escalator would be big enough to fit shopping carts and the wheels of the carts would lock into the escalator to prevent it from rolling.
“If at some point they start installing a three-story building here, it will be a behemoth monster of a building and will overshadow all of the surrounding neighborhood and doesn’t match the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood,” Segura said.
At the very least, the WPA wants to see the facade of the HEB remain intact.
Some members of the group were recently arrested while trying to keep the old Univision building from being demolished.
“Its not about food sourcing,” said Segura. “This is about preserving that architecture and historic fabric of the community.”
The new store would have a deli and pharmacy, which it does not have now. Campos says customers tell HEB they want a larger product selection at the Nogalitos store.
Campos adds that while a design has been rendered, HEB is still taking input.
"It’s very likely that things will be altered and changed as we work with the community groups as we get closer to the actual construction of the store,” Campos said.
Most of community groups have been arranging their own meetings with HEB representative, Campos said.
Acknowledging the history of the store, HEB is asking customers and neighbors to email their pictures, stories and memories of the Nogalitos location to public.affairs@HEB.com.
Residents can also send their ideas and input for the new store to that email address.
The current store is 26,000 square feet. The new proposed store would be expanded to over 60,000 square feet.
HEB is landlocked and must expand upward rather than outward, Campos adds. She says HEB has no plans to infringe upon Collins Garden Park or the Collins Garden Library situated across South Park Boulevard from the store.
Demolition at the Nogalitos HEB could begin in May. Construction of the new store is expected to be complete by February 2015.
According to Campos, the original Nogalitos store has been altered multiple times since it was first constructed.
“Yeah, it is time for an upgrade. But it’s also important to preserve what historically is there,” Segura said.