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Groveling For a Grocer

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Downtown San Antonio has an ever-expanding roster of eat spots – from food trucks to high dining – to choose from, but good luck finding somewhere to stock up on goods for a home cooked dinner. Within the small downtown loop enclosed by interstates 35, 10, and 37, downtowners have few options: Delivery Market on Houston, the Main Plaza Market and Liquor Store, and Hippo's Grocery and Deli. None are the H-E-B-like behemoth city leaders now say downtown wants and needs.

This year, the City of San Antonio plans to solicit proposals from store owners, dangling out a $1 million incentive that's set to expire in December. City leaders this year tried to squash any speculation that a downtown grocer's untenable with a new market study, supposedly showing that San Antonio's urban core can support a grocery store of up to 20,000 square feet.

While some speculate H-E-B will ultimately be crowned winner by default, possibly locating a store near their headquarters just south of downtown proper, others have already begun plans to fulfill downtown's grocery-store desires. Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff has announced a venture that would open up a 7,000 square foot market near the Pearl, selling bread, produce, meat, and dry goods. Joey Villarreal, owner of Blue Star Brewing Co., has come out with plans to open up a 2,000 square foot market that would connect to his restaurant. And Josh Levine, who owns gyms in and around downtown, this year opened Uncommon Fare on the ground floor of the Cevallos Lofts, a 900 square foot market meant to act as a Whole Foods or Central Market alternative. – Michael Barajas

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