SAN ANTONIO -- Just under two months ago, HEB went public with its plans to add a grocery store at the southeast corner of downtown Flores and Ceasar Chavez streets. Now, the grocery giant has announced plans to expand its corporate headquarters in San Antonio.
HEB revealed to KENS 5 via email that the grocery chain wants to pump $100 million into growing its downtown campus. Part of the plans for the expansion include: closing Main Avenue, where the street runs through HEB's downtown campus.
The idea of shutting down the thoroughfare, however, has neighbors upset in the historic King William District, located adjacent to the massive HEB headquarters.
“I think the citizens of San Antonio deserve better," the president of the King William Neighborhood Association, Maximo Martinez, said.
HEB has already stated publicly that the company will consider moving its business elsewhere if there is no agreement made on how it can expand its facilities. But moving away from San Antonio is not what the grocer intends to do, according to HEB.
"We really don’t want to lose HEB corporate headquarters from being here. They are a good neighbor. They do support the community,” Martinez added.
Martinez said HEB representatives showed him artistic renderings of the plans for Main Avenue.
Martinez said the stretch of Main Avenue will be a greenway for bicycling and jogging. His concern is that traffic will be diverted one bock over to S. Flores Street, creating a safety issue.
Meanwhile, city officials have praised HEB’s plan to grow in San Antonio for the fact that it will add more jobs to downtown.
“Add to the equation: 800 professional jobs by 2020 -- that's an average of over 100 per year, over six years -- potentially coming into District 1. And I am very encouraged by the proposal,” Councilman Diego Bernal said.
HEB's downtown facilities are planned for Bernal’s district.
The San Antonio Conservation Society emailed the following statement to KENS 5:
“As an institution [The Arsenal] contributed to the early military history of our city and state, and the remaining buildings and historic landscape, including the stone wall surrounding the site, speak to this significance as an early anchor to the southern side of San Antonio.”
So far, nothing is set-in-stone regarding HEB's plans. In fact, the City of San Antonio is waiting on the results of a traffic study on the impacts of closing down Main Avenue to be completed by a third party analyst. Results from the study should be available in one month.