City Council hears downtown grocery store possibilities

Consulting firm recommends 15,000-square-foot facility


The San Antonio City Council heard a presentation from consulting firm HR&A Advisors Wednesday about the possibilities of a grocery store moving in downtown.

After conducting a study, the firm says hotel guests, office workers and residents would drive demand.

That study estimated an "unmet spending potential" of just over $10 million in grocery items in the downtown area.

"Downtown is a neighborhood and people forget that. More and more people are living here and one of the ways to keep them here is to give them groceries," said District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal, whose district would be impacted most by the potential new store.

HR&A recommended that the store be roughly 15,000 square feet, provide access to shoppers who both walk and drive to the store, and be backed by a name San Antonians recognize.

But Councilman Reed Williams, of District 8, wonders if several smaller stores would be a better fit, saying that one larger store would mean more risk for the grocer.

"Bring in bakery items, or a butcher shop, or flower shop or produce," said Williams. "Let people move from store to store."

The Center City Development Office recommends a review committee be formed to receive proposals from grocers, which they hope to have by early June.

"What's interesting here are there are all different possibilities," said Bernal. "We could have a series of small stores, a giant HEB, or a smaller boutique store. We have to see what works."

The council could take action on the potential proposals in September.

HR&A listed 13 possible store locations, which you can find in this study (PDF).

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