Royal Blue Grocery, a Texas bodega chain based in Austin, hopes to open its San Antonio location at 122 E. Houston St. in February, co-owner Craig Staley said in an email.
Work has already begun on the 3,000-square-foot, all-purpose store in the former circa-1912 Savoy Hotel, which developer Weston Urban owns. The upper floors belong to Scaleworks, a tech investment firm that moved into the Savoy a year ago. The bottom floors consist of five retail spaces that Weston Urban is working diligently to fill.
Royal Blue Grocery will offer a little bit of everything, "coffee and breakfast tacos, grab-and-go salads and sandwiches, grocery, beer/wine, snacks, beverages," Staley said.
Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to midnight daily.
Weston Urban has multiple projects currently in the works on the western half of downtown, including the 23-story Frost Bank tower under construction at Houston and Flores sreets; the complete refurbishing of the 21-story Milam building; and the expansion of tech incubator Geekdom inside the Rand building. Other major projects are on the horizon, including the development of 265 residential units across multiple properties Weston Urban has to deliver based on the labyrinthine agreement between it, the city and Frost Bank that has resulted in Frost's new tower.
It's also converting the green space in front of the old Frost Tower, also on Houston and Flores, into more of a park with furniture, art, fountains, retail and a restaurant.
On Wednesday, the Historic and Design Review Commission gave Weston Urban the go-ahead to work with city departments on alterations to the sidewalk directly in front of Royal Blue's space. Essentially, the front of the store will become a defined outdoor seating area outlined by planters. A bench perpendicular to the building would sit where the Savoy meets the neighboring Book Building. An ADA accessible ramp would also be created for the store.
Of the options presented to the commission, most of the commissioners, as well as city staff, favored one that would remove a tree and its planter, and recreate it, with a new planted tree, closer to the building's facade. This would allow more of a straight-line path for pedestrians walking up and down Houston Street, rather than the other option, which would leave the tree in place and have pedestrians zig-zag through the seating area.
The option commissioners and the city prefer still leaves six feet of sidewalk, which is the minimum width required by city code.
Royal Blue Grocery, which opened its first store in 2006, has six locations in Austin and two in Dallas.