UPDATE: H-E-B buys Midland building - Odessa American: Business

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UPDATE: H-E-B buys Midland building

Will purchase bring a new store?

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Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:56 pm

UPDATE, 10/23: HEB spokeswoman Dya Campos on Thursday told the Odessa American it is too soon to tell what the grocer will do with the property it bought this month at Highway 191 and Loop 250 in Midland.

"We do not have a specific plan right now to share," Campos said.

HEB also weighs public input before building a new store, Campos said. She encouraged people to email public.affairs@heb.com.


H-E-B bought a former AT&T Call Center at Loop 250 and Highway 191 in Midland, fueling speculation about a new grocery store coming to the area.

Rebecca Reyes, a San-Antonio-based spokesperson for H-E-B, said Wednesday she was not immediately able to comment about plans for the property because company officials with knowledge of the purchase were traveling.

The assessed value for the property, at 5407 Andrews Highway, was about $11.2 million in 2013, according to records of the Midland Central Appraisal District. Records state the deed date for the sale as Jan. 3.

The property is less than five miles from the existing H-E-B in Midland, at 3325 W. Wadley Ave. H-E-B stores come in different sizes and brands, however, including the higher-end Central Market.

AT&T officials announced the closure of the 135,000-square-foot call center in June, which meant a loss of about 100 jobs for Midland, according to Midland Reporter-Telegram archives. The building opened in 2001 as a Cingular Wireless and later housed the home improvement retailer Builders Square.

Midland Chamber of Commerce officials did not know about the recent sale before an inquiry from the Odessa American on Wednesday, said Nellwyn Barnett, the executive vice president over chamber relations.

“We have not heard anything at the chamber,” Barnett said.

Barnett said she did hear last fall that H-E-B had looked at the AT&T property.

Officials with the Midland Development Corporation said they generally deal with industrial businesses and not retailers such as grocery stores.

H-E-B officials in October told the Odessa American the company was considering adding stores to the Odessa-Midland area amid an increasing population and booming economy but added nothing was imminent.

Normally, the company would consult with community groups such as home-owners associations before finalizing a store, which had not yet happened, according to an October statement from the company spokeswoman who normally handles real estate matters, Kimberly Harle.

Sometimes, Harle added in a follow up interview, the company will buy real-estate for long-term planning purposes but sometimes sits on the property for years without building. (Harle was on maternity leave from the company on Wednesday).

H-E-B in 2013 had a real estate agent scout potential locations in Odessa, according to a previous interview with Guy Andrews, the director of economic development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, who would not name the realtor.

“He was asking, at least for Odessa, where I would put it,” Andrews said. “And I had to tell him: northeast, no doubt — probably along 191 some place.”

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