New H-E-B location benefits tuition costs

Libby Cohen

An agreement between UT Austin and H-E-B to bring the supermarket closer to campus was passed at the UT System Board of Regents meeting last week. 

H-E-B will replace the Randalls at the corner of Exposition and Lake Austin boulevards, providing students living in West Austin with a closer H-E-B location. UT will also benefit from this lease change as the property is owned by the University. Regent member James C. Weaver presented the motion to the board, and it passed on Wednesday with the board’s full support.

J.B. Bird, director of media relations for UT, said the deal remains to be fully negotiated between UT real estate representatives — including Amy Wanamaker — and H-E-B. Once launched, Bird said the new location will be one of the revenues that helps UT lower tuition. 

“The leases from these properties generate revenue for the University, and that revenue helps keep tuition low,” Bird said. “One of the reasons we can keep costs down is because of the generosity of our donors, including Colonel Brackenridge who gave us this tract over a century ago.”

In addition to this cost benefit, students who shop at H-E-B and live in West Campus will have a shorter travel time for their weekly grocery store visit. 

Petroleum engineering sophomore Grant Gillespie said this new location will benefit his schedule as he lives west of campus.

“The fact that it is closer will definitely be better for those who live on this side of campus,” Gillespie said. “The one over by I-35 is the one we go to now, and so not having to fight traffic to get that way will be more efficient.” 

Leslie Sweet, Austin and Central Texas’ director of public affairs for H-E-B, said she could not confirm the date for the launch of the new H-E-B location, but finding the middle ground between residents of West Austin and UT are the next steps. 

“We will not have a time frame until we fully understand the development constraints and neighborhood requests,” Sweet said. “The process now begins to engage with the City of Austin, the University of Texas, community leaders and neighbors to ensure we provide our future customers with a state of the art shopping experience that will be a welcome addition to the West Austin community.”