About that H-E-B in Mansfield: Here‘s what they told city officials this week

took another giant step toward opening a location at U.S. 287 and East Broad Street, but the San Antonio-based grocer remains coy about when it’s actually going to start construction.

Councilman cut to the chase, asking on behalf of his wife when H-E-B will open. John Rose, senior due diligence manager for H-E-B, said he didn’t have that information.

The clock is ticking on the project, though, because it has to open by July 2021 to receive city incentives for drainage and other public improvements, said Joe Smolinski, deputy city manager.

Rose did say that increased competition from e-commerce has made it challenging to find tenants for the retail center. He presented an updated plan for the 33-acre site that shows two restaurants with drive-thru windows. The southwest portion of the site on Mitchell Road previously showed a strip center but now leaves that land undeveloped for future retail, hotel or office uses.

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The City Council got its first look at the updated zoning change on Monday, April 9, and approved it unanimously. The planned development zoning change requires two more votes to take effect.

The 106,928-square-foot H-E-B will have its own restaurant — preliminary plans show a barbecue joint with a drive-thru and outdoor patio — as well as special parking for curbside pickup, a pharmacy with drive-thru and a gas station with a car wash. There will also be tenant space for rent within H-E-B.

But council members had concerns about the pad sites along the northbound U.S. 287 frontage road featuring two fast-food restaurants and the possibility of a third closer to East Broad Street.

“I’m very excited for H-E-B to be here. I’ve been a big fan of theirs for years,” Councilman Brent Newsom said. “I’m not supportive of a third fast-food restaurant at that corner.”

Rose said H-E-B recently received an inquiry for a drive-thru restaurant at that corner, but he couldn’t say whether it was fast food.

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There may not be a lot of ice in Fort Worth, but our neighbors down I-35 in Austin are prepping for the worst. This is the line at an Austin H-E-B grocery store before a winter storm is predicted to hit. McClatchyCourtesy of Jasmin Hernandez

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Costa Vida will join Market Street site

A Baja-style fast-casual restaurant will be joining Market Street just east of Mansfield High School on East Broad Street.

plans a 3,500-square-foot restaurant with fresh-made tortillas, salads, beans, salsas and guacamole. The restaurant already has locations in Plano, north Fort Worth and Colleyville.

Costa Vida will take advantage of a variance that allows a restaurant on the Mansfield site to sell alcohol within 300 feet of a school. That didn’t sit well with Councilmen Darryl Haynes and Terry Moore, who voted against the site plan, although it passed 5-2.

Letting restaurants and grocery stores sell alcohol within 300 feet of a school has become a hot political issue in Mansfield, with residents accusing developers of using loopholes and variances to get around city ordinances.

Other tenants announced for the Market Street-anchored center include Mattison Avenue, Burgerim, Zoe’s Kitchen, a T-Mobile store and gas station.

An artist‘s rendering of the new Pioneer Place apartment complex being built on West Broad Street in Mansfield. The 135-unit low-income housing project will be limited to residents age 55 and up. BGO Architects Handout

Pioneer Place groundbreaking planned

The dirt is moving for the new Pioneer Place apartment complex on West Broad Street. The 135-unit low-income housing project will be limited to residents age 55 and older.

Bethlehem Baptist Church, the project‘s driving force, will have a groundbreaking ceremony on April 29, said Michael Evans, the church‘s longtime pastor. Pioneer Place is expected to open in spring 2019 at 1197 W. Broad St., across from the 135-year-old church.

“We’re going to make 135 senior adults very happy,” Evans said.

The council approved incentives that will refund 50 percent of the property taxes paid by Pioneer Place up to $200,000 or 10 years, whichever comes first. The city requires that the project open before the end of 2019.