Could it H-E-B? An intriguing bit of grocery gossip is making the rounds that H-E-B plans to demolish the 87,237-square-foot building at Palmer Shopping Center, just east of state Highway 146 and north of Palmer Highway, in Texas City and build a new store in its place.
And word has it that the store will be a bigger, better H-E-B than the one operating at 918 20th St. N. in Texas City.
That’s especially interesting, because ever since H-E-B bought the property — long ago occupied by Kmart — in late 2011, speculation swirled that the San Antonio-based grocery would build a Joe V’s Smart Shop, a no-frills format known for low prices.
Others have speculated H-E-B would build a Mi Tienda, Spanish for “My Store,” which offers products favored by Hispanic shoppers, at the site.
H-E-B has been mum about any plans for the property.
Sources this week said the grocer plans to not only develop an H-E-B but also add more retail space at the site.
H-E-B officials didn’t immediately respond to Buzz inquiries late Wednesday.
Texas City Mayor Matt Doyle also could not confirm the rumors. But Doyle said he would be thrilled if H-E-B replaced its aging store at 918 20th Street in Texas City. If H-E-B builds a bigger, better store in Texas City, its local employees could keep their jobs, he said.
H-E-B reportedly has been shopping potential sites on the mainland and recently was rumored to be considering a site with freeway visibility near Gulf Greyhound Park, 1000 FM 2004 in La Marque. Stay tuned.
General Growth spurt: News this week that Baybrook Mall was planning to add 555,000 square feet to the 1.2 million-square-foot shopping center was a jaw-dropper.
After all, most regional malls are struggling just to stay relevant. The news also had shoppers wondering about the identities of the more-than 30 retailers, 10 restaurants, entertainment and hospitality venues and big-box stores that will make up the expansion.
Alas, officials this week were mum about names and plan to make announcements only when and if leases are signed. But the Houston Business Journal reports that Dave & Busters has confirmed plans to open its third Houston location in Baybrook Mall by mid-2015.
For the uninitiated, Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s owns 66 high-volume venues that offer interactive entertainment options for adults and families, such as skill/sports-oriented redemption games and video and simulation games, along with food and drinks.
Baybrook Mall, at Interstate 45 S. and Bay Area Boulevard, is 100 percent leased and looking to grow with a fast-growing area, officials said.
The shopping center happens to be one of the most profitable per square foot in the Houston area, second only to destination The Galleria, according to reports.
The new development will include a 285,000-square-foot “lifestyle” expansion that connects to the existing property between Forever 21 and Dillard’s.
A 270,000-square-foot power center will complete the project with a variety of big-box anchor tenants, restaurants and “family friendly” activities. The expansion also will include a single-story parking deck.
Another key component of the development includes a grassy lawn, the length of a football field, which is meant to serve as a gathering spot for visitors.
The project is a joint-venture between General Growth Properties and the landowner, a CDC Houston-managed entity.
Work is expected to begin in May with completion by the 2015 holiday season. Want to talk about it? Visit Buzz Blog, galvnews.com.
Whatabuzz: Readers have sighted construction crews getting busy building the long-awaited Whataburger on FM 518 on the west side of Walmart in Kemah. The Texas-based chain has 750 eateries.
And here’s some trivia for non-Texans curious about the eatery with a devout following: Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger in 1950 as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers — “What a burger!”