In the bag?

There's a new supermarket in store for downtown Austin

There's a new supermarket in store for downtown Austin

H-E-B supermarket produce section
Attention shoppers: A full-size grocery store is coming downtown.  H-E-B/Facebook

If you live or work in downtown Austin, there's something exciting in store for you. A grocery store is on tap for the eastern edge of the central business district.

A mixed-use project planned for Seventh and Trinity streets has carved out 27,109 square feet for a grocery store. That would make it the largest grocery store on the east side of downtown Austin. A filing with the City of Austin offers no other details about what is simply described as a “supermarket.”

“As the residential population grows in downtown Austin and the surrounding neighborhoods, so has the demand for additional grocery store retailers. We look forward to having another option for groceries for people who live, work, and visit downtown,” Molly Alexander, executive vice president of economic development at the Downtown Austin Alliance, tells CultureMap.

Although specifics are sparse, we can speculate about what type of grocery store might occupy the space.

One possibility is a 365 store, the new low-price format from Whole Foods Market. The fourth 365 store, which opened in late April in Cedar Park, encompasses 30,000 square feet.

It also could be a Target. The retailer — whose stores sell groceries — is gearing up to open a “flexible format” store near the old Dobie Mall, now known as Dobie Twenty21, adjacent to the University of Texas campus. The store, set to debut this summer, will cover 22,000 square feet.

Or an H-E-B store might be another option. The state’s largest grocery chain has been experimenting with small stores, some in the 30,000-square-foot range.

Of course, Whole Foods’ flagship store — all 80,000 square feet of it — already stands at Sixth Street and North Lamar Boulevard. And while the store technically is downtown, it’s not convenient for all downtown shoppers, particularly those on the east side of the central business district.

Not far from Whole Foods is Trader Joe’s, occupying about 11,500 square feet near Third Street and West Avenue in the Seaholm development. The store opened in 2015.

Another downtown fixture is Royal Blue Grocery. The grocer operates four downtown locations; a fifth store is in the Rainey Street District, just south of downtown. Each of those stores takes up no more than 10,000 square feet.

An additional grocery store in downtown Austin — particularly one that’s close to 30,000 square feet — easily could draw thousands of shoppers. According to the Downtown Austin Alliance, about 86,000 people work downtown, and about 12,000 people live there. In addition, millions of tourists visit downtown Austin each year.

Cielo Property Group is developing the mixed-use project at Seventh and Trinity, currently the site of a parking lot. According to the City of Austin filing, the high-rise will feature more than 182,000 square feet of offices, a 260-room hotel, a 280-unit condo project, and two restaurants totaling 8,200 square feet. In all, the tower will contain about 600,000 square feet.