DALLAS — H-E-B, the popular Texas grocery chain based in San Antonio, just purchased a vacant grocery store in southern Dallas.
And while that might pique the interest of DFW shoppers, they shouldn't get too excited - yet.
H-E-B officials confirmed the company purchased the former Albertson's property at 4101 W. Wheatland Rd., near U.S. 67 and Interstate 20, "in anticipation of future growth." No construction date has been set, yet.
“H-E-B takes a long-term view of our growth and we have a portfolio of landholdings," company spokesperson Mabrie Jackson said in a statement. "We look forward to serving more Texans with our multi-format store offerings."
Despite no concrete plans for a store, Councilmember Tennell Atkins, whose District 8 includes the H-E-B property and who chairs the council's economic development committee, said the purchase is reason for optimism.
Albertson's left the site in the mid-2000s. And while a WinCo Foods store is located on the south side of Wheatland, in Duncanville, no other major chains are nearby.
Atkins said the Wheatland corner, just off 67 and I-20, has seen an uptick in traffic and growth through the years from residents in Dallas and neighboring DeSoto and Duncanville. Atkins also pointed to nearby UNT Dallas and Paul Quinn College as factors driving growth in southern Dallas.
"The southern part of Dallas is booming," Atkins said. "I think the time is right [for a major grocery store]."
The chain's approach in southern Dallas isn't uncommon. In fact, H-E-B, for years, has bought up parcels of land in North Texas and simply held onto them.
The grocer, which also operates Central Market, plans to open H-E-B stores in Plano and Frisco, beginning this year, and one in McKinney next year. But for the most part, H-E-B hasn't rushed expansion in North Texas, where Kroger, Tom Thumb and Walmart dominate the grocery market.
H-E-B's footprint here has mostly been in the surrounding counties, with stores in Burleson, Cleburne, Waxahachie and Hudson Oaks.
When H-E-B makes a purchase in North Texas, the news is often met with speculation on when a store might open, if ever.
From a zoomed-out view of the map, H-E-B looks as active as any other grocer, with little red dots scattering Dallas, Collin and Tarrant counties. But most of those locations are just land, with a few Central Market stores in between.
Here are several locations where H-E-B owns land -- but not a store -- in North Texas, confirmed through online records and previous reports:
4101 W. Wheatland, Dallas (At U.S. 67, just south of Interstate 20)
632 N. Beckley, Dallas (At the corner of Davis Street, in the Bishop Arts District)
5204 S. Buckner Blvd., Dallas (At Samuell Boulevard, just south of Interstate 30)
845 Interstate-35E, DeSoto (At Pleasant Run Road)
3927 Bowser, Dallas (At Lemmon Avenue in Oak Lawn)
700 Farm Road 544, Murphy
Note: H-E-B plans to open two stores this year, in Plano and Frisco, and a third next year, in McKinney.
1660 E. Broad St., Mansfield (near U.S. 287)
6325 W. Bailey Boswell Rd., Fort Worth (At Boat Club Road)
200 E. Bonds Ranch Rd., Fort Worth (At U.S. 287)
6599 McCart Ave., Fort Worth (At Altamesa Boulevard)
8600 Quail Valley Dr., Fort Worth (At North Tarrant Parkway and Denton Highway)
9200 Legacy Dr., Frisco (Just west of the Dallas North Tollway)
2210 W. University Dr., Denton (At North Bonnie Brae Street)