Housing and Community Development Department

Press Release

Public Hearing Provides Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Grocery Store at 288 / N. MacGregor Food Desert

September 2, 2016 -- Houston residents are invited to have a front row seat to the proposal for a new H-E-B to be located at the corner of Highway 288 and North MacGregor Way. The public hearing for the proposed grocery store will take place Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center (2020 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004) and will allow residents to interact with members of the City’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD), City Council, the Houston Housing Finance Corporation and H-E-B.

Last July, the City saw the opening of Pyburn’s Farm Fresh Foods, Houston’s first grocery store built through a public/private partnership to alleviate food deserts. In continuing on this mission and Mayor Turner’s vision of healthy, complete communities, the H-E-B proposal is another step in providing residents with access to fresh produce and healthy food options. H-E-B proposes to develop a 72,000-square-foot grocery store with construction costs of $20 million to be funded by H-E-B and its investors.

The proposal to be reviewed at the public hearing is for the City to fund the land acquisition, estimated at $13.8 million, using a grant of $11 million in federal Community Development Block Grant Economic Development Initiative funds and $2.8 million with a federal Section 108 loan guarantee. Because a portion of the proposed site for the store is in a flood plain, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is the source of the funds, requires that a public hearing be held. The Houston Housing and Community Develop Department seeks to engage the community and gather input about the land acquisition and proposed grocery store.

Houston continues to make strides in its efforts to improve the statistics revealed in the 2010 “Food for Every Child” study. Those statistics indicated that Houston has fewer grocery stores per capita than other large U.S. cities and that low-income areas have 25 percent fewer grocery stores than middle-income areas.

“A healthy community is key to having a complete community, and access to fresh meat and vegetables is a critical component,” said HCD Interim Director Tom McCasland. “This project is another example of how we can use public funds to incentivize and direct private investment to the kinds of development we need in our communities to fulfill Mayor Turner’s ‘complete communities’ vision,” McCasland added.

HCD invites residents and stakeholders to be a part of the conversation by attending the hearing and submitting comments. Written comments are also being accepted until Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Written comments may be submitted by mail to Peggy Colligan, Housing and Community Development Department, 601 Sawyer St., Suite 400, Houston, TX 77007 or by email to Margaret.Colligan@houstontx.gov.

The City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) provides the leadership and financing to make affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization happen in Houston. Currently, the Department administers over $100 million annually in various federal, state and local programs. From investing in neighborhood parks, multifamily communities and economic development, to providing first-time homebuyer assistance and funds to serve the homeless, elderly and disabled, HCD works to improve the quality of life for Houston’s neighborhoods and families.