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H-E-B Asking for Residents' Vote on New Montrose Store Design

It seems that H-E-B is eager to make at least a few concessions to area residents on its way to constructing a brand-new store in Montrose on the site of the late-lamented Wilshire Village.

As recently as October 18, real estate website Swamplot was questioning the grocery giant's initially proposed plans to build a "store on stilts" at the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy, plans which had apparently gone by the wayside.

Time appears to be running out for that "store on stilts" option for the new Montrose location of H-E-B Market. The leader of a Montrose group interested in preserving open space on the site of the former Wilshire Village Apartments says she was surprised not to see a 2-story option included among the 3 designs previewed by a small community group late last week.

So will that vaunted store on stilts be among the plans that the company reveals for the site this Saturday, October 30? That remains to be seen, and area residents are invited to come out to see the plans for themselves as well as vote on their favorite of three final designs.

H-E-B Houston president Scott McClelland and Neartown Association resident David Robinson are asking for the community to head out to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church's main hall (1805 West Alabama) on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. to view the three final H-E-B Montrose store designs at the Neartown Association neighborhood meeting.

After the designs are unveiled, McClelland and Robinson will field questions from residents and ask that they vote on their favorite of the three designs. The winning design will be announced on November 4, the following Thursday.

Of course, none of this will appease members of the Montrose Land Defense Coalition, who had hoped to preserve the open green space left behind when the sadly moldering Wilshire Village apartments were unceremoniously demolished in August 2009. The Coalition had hoped to transform the 7.68-acre site into a park complete with the lovely magnolia trees that were somehow spared during the demolition. H-E-B's purchase of the land in March 2010 didn't seem to sway the Coalition members, who held out hope that the site would somehow remain a green space for the neighborhood.

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Meanwhile, H-E-B seemed to want to appease potential customers as much as possible and initially mentioned a site design that included two acres of parkland, with parking for the customers underneath store itself (hence the stilts). Whether that design will be among the three finalists remains to be seen.

Per Scott McClelland, "the community votes will decide the store design."

Montrose residents may not have a say in the increased traffic and loss of green space that accompany this newest H-E-B, but at least they can have a say in what it looks like. Go out and rock the vote.

UPDATE: According to Mike Morris, none of the three final designs features the grocery store on stilts. However, one of the three designs is promisingly named "Treehouse."

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