Houston City Council to build grocery store to combat food desert in Third Ward

Council Member Dwight A. Boykins, along with Mayor Sylvester Turner and his City Council colleagues, voted in favor of the City’s plan of a purchase/sale agreement.

“I am pleased with the opportunity to address the lack of quality food within my district. I want to thank the team behind this project who have been working over the past two and half years to make this a reality.”

“Again, I would like to thank Mayor Turner for moving forward on this step in the process of eliminating food deserts within the City of Houston.”

This purchase/sale agreement for $13,862,000 for the land at #288 and MacGregor is just one step in ensuring that this District D community has access to a 72,000 full-service, state-of-the-art grocery store.

For many years District D has had limited access to healthy and affordable food options and thanks to Mayor Turner and my Council Colleagues, today we have taken a step forward in addressing this issue.

It is clear that limited site selection, lack of interest by grocery retailers and insufficient funding are just some of the obstacles that District D has faced to successfully fulfilling the long-term grocery needs. For many decades these obstacles have left a huge void that until now no other retailer was willing to address.

In 2014, Council Member Boykins began the process of identifying grocery store retailers that would be willing to partner with the City of Houston by making the commitment to bring fresh food options to the District D community.

Along the way, H-E-B has been a committed partner in this effort and since then they have worked diligently as a team.

The City held a Public Hearing in September 2016 to share about the proposed project. The community overwhelmingly supported the concept of bringing a grocery store to that location. The community also understood that this proposed project will not only address the “food desert” challenge but will also provide 250+ jobs and serve as the catalyst for revitalization that District D so desperately needs.

Council Member Boykins also stressed to his colleagues that there will be no local funds used for this project.

All of the funds are coming from the Federal Government to the City of Houston and the $8.8M EDI funds being used are restricted to a specific geographical zone which includes this SH288 and MacGregor site with the remaining funds of $5,062,000 coming in as Section 108 loan funds.

After the City purchases the site there will be a ground lease executed with HHFC with an option to purchase, who in turn will sublease with H-E-B. H-E-B will not be receiving any subsidies, low-interest loans or economic incentives.

Again, H-E-B will be leasing the store from HHFC, there is no loan going to H-E-B. Bottom line, H-E-B will not be receiving any government funds for this project. They have the sole financial responsibility for the design and construction of this $20M+ store.

Finally, this project will be nationally known as a best practice for public/private partnerships in fulling long-term grocery needs in urban communities. This is an ongoing process with further negotiation.

On behalf of the residents of District D, Council Member Boykins would like to thank his colleagues for voting to approve this purchase.

For questions, please call our office at (832) 393-3001.