New life is coming to a long-vacant building on North Main Street that once housed an H-E-B Pantry store.
Several businesses are coming to the site at 2200 N. Main Street at Cedar Bayou Road, a block south of Highway 146, according to Shezad Kapadia, managing partner of Tri-Star Group, which is leading the project.
He and other investors gathered at the site Wednesday to kick off the project with an overview of what is to come, a prayer and a blessing.
A Wendy’s restaurant and Shell gas station/convenience store will be built in a completely new building along the north edge of the existing parking lot.
The former grocery store will have a retail space along the Cedar Bayou Road side, most likely a cell phone store, and a 24-hour washateria along the other side.
The center part of the building, 24,000 square feet, will be a mini-mall with spaces for small businesses and a food court.
Partial demolition has begun on the building, removing front and side walls to prepare for a new look to go with the new use, but the core of the building will remain with extensive renovation.
Construction is expected to take 10 to 12 months, he said.
Kapadia said many of his company’s investments are in Houston suburbs, so rapidly growing Baytown is a natural extension.
Instead of joining the rush to build on the north end of town, he said they chose to invest south of Highway 146.
The indoor mall will only be open part of the week, Thursday-Sunday, he said. “It will have the look and feel of being a miniature mall.”
“We’re hoping to be an economic option for somebody who wants to start a business on the weekend — everybody knows about a side hustle,” he said.
All of the investors in the project started as very small businesses, he said. “We want to get a space for local businesses to flourish.”
The new mall doesn’t have a name yet, Kapadia said. The company hopes to get input for a name that would build community identification with the location.
He said he hopes the redevelopment of the vacant store front will help jump-start development in the surrounding neighborhood.
As the investors gathered to formally mark the kickoff with a groundbreaking, Kapadia’s father, Aslam Kapadia, spoke of the two years already devoted to planning and building partnerships.
H-E-B closed the location when it opened Joe V’s Smart Shop at 3500 Garth Road in January, 2012. The company later opened an H-E-B store at 6430 Garth Road in December, 2017.