H-E-B will open its long-anticipated MacGregor grocery store on Wednesday, bringing fresh food, a pharmacy and conveniences such as curbside pickup and home delivery to Houston’s Third Ward.

The 90,000-square-foot store, which straddles the wealthy Museum District and the lower-income MacGregor neighborhood, sits in an area considered to have low access to quality food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After the Kroger on Old Spanish Trail closed in 2017, residents in the predominantly African American neighborhood had to drive outside of their community to shop for fresh produce, meat and seafood.

“It’s a blessing to the community,” longtime resident Beverly Jones, 61, said of the new H-E-B store during a private preview event Tuesday. “We’ve needed it for some time.”

RELATED: City to lend H-E-B $13.9M to build store near Museum District

H-E-B’s MacGregor Market, which replaces a smaller H-E-B Pantry store less than two miles away on Old Spanish Trail, carries 50,000 products, including the grocer’s private label and organic offerings. The store also features a bakery, meat and seafood counters, a deli and the largest “Meal Simple” prepared foods section in the grocery chain.

“We knew that healthy and affordable options was sorely lacking in this neighborhood,” said Lisa Helfman, H-E-B’s Houston director of public affairs.

H-E-B began thinking about replacing its 23-year-old Pantry store in the Third Ward five years ago. The San Antonio-based grocer worked with the city of Houston, which spent $13.9 million in expiring federal grant dollars to purchase a nine-acre tract from the Houston Community College system and sell the property to the Houston Housing Finance Corp, which is leasing the property to H-E-B.

Check back later for more on this developing story.

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