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Fidelis breaks ground on HEB-anchored shopping center in Willis community

September 7, 2021

Fidelis, a Houston-based commercial real estate company, has broken ground on The Market at Willis Shopping Center.

The project is at the southeast corner of Interstate 45 and FM 1097 in Willis, north of Conroe. Construction on the first phase of the shopping center, anchored by an H-E-B, has already started. The grocery store will occupy more than 110,000 square feet, according to Fidelis' marketing brochure for The Market at Willis.

The Market at Willis is part of a new 510-acre master-planned community on the former Moran Ranch land. Houston-based Satya Inc. and Stolz Partners of Alpharetta, Georgia, teamed up to purchase the tract in Montgomery County in 2019, and Fidelis bought its initial 31.6 acres for the shopping center shortly thereafter. Fidelis later purchased two adjacent tracts, bringing the future shopping center to 69.7 acres.

Phase one is expected to create over 200,000 square feet for retail, restaurants and service tenants. So far, restaurants include Crust Pizza at 3,000 square feet, Mod Pizza at 2,800 square feet and Akashi Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar at 6,000 square feet, according to the brochure. Retailers include the Texas Hair Team at 1,600 square feet, Great Clips at 1,200 square feet and Community Dental Partners at 2,000 square feet.

“With the closest retail shopping center over 5 miles away, this property will provide much-needed restaurants and shopping options to the immediate area,” said Lynn Davis, co-president and chief leasing and development officer for Fidelis. “We are excited to partner with H-E-B and bring one of the largest retailers in the United States to Willis.”

Willis has seen rapid growth in the past few years, which is part of the reason for building the shopping center, Fidelis said. The Market at Willis is expected to open in 2022 with continued growth planned. Phase two construction will begin in the third quarter of next year and will include a three-story, garden-style multifamily complex with 250 apartment homes.The overall Moran Ranch master-planned community also is expected to include some 900 homesites on approximately 230 acres, Satya CEO Sunny Bathija told the Houston Business Journal earlier this year. The future community will be across I-45 from The Woodlands Hills, a 2,055-acre master-planned community being developed by The Woodlands-based Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC).

“H-E-B is thrilled to become a part of the Willis community,” said Martha Barrera, H-E-B's public affairs manager in Houston. “We will build and tailor this state-of-the-art store to thoughtfully cater to the community of Willis, Texas. We’re ready and excited to build a great store Willis can be proud of for years to come.”

San Antonio-based H-E-B has a few other stores in the works around Houston, as well. Also in Montgomery County, Austin-based Stratus Properties Inc. (Nasdaq: STRS) has broken ground on a new mixed-use development in Magnolia that will be shadow-anchored by an H-E-B.

South of Houston, Texas real estate firm Weitzman is building Manvel Town Center, which will also be anchored by an H-E-B. The store, which is expected to open in late summer 2022, will span more than 100,000 square feet and will include a fuel station and car wash. Florida-based Regency Centers (NYSE: REG) has partnered with CDC Houston Inc. to develop a retail center called Eastfield at Baybrook also anchored by a 106,000-square-foot H-E-B, which is slated to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

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