It has been a two-year wait, but the old Sears building at Ross and Greenville has been demolished and construction of a Fiesta grocery store is underway.

Fiesta plans to open next summer, says Bernie Murphy, Fiesta’s director of public affairs. The new store, which will be 48,000 square feet, will bring an international food selection and more than 200 new jobs to our neighborhood, Murphy says.

“It has been a long time, but it has been worth it,” says City Councilman Chris Luna, who helped interest Fiesta in the site.

“It will be a great day when we have the grand opening.”

Fiesta plans to lease space to other retail stores at the shopping center, but no stores have been named by the company.

Maxine Aaronson, a member of the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association, says she is delighted Fiesta is finally coming to our community. She has discussed neighborhood concerns with Fiesta officials as the project has developed.

Aaronson says she hopes a bank and a hardware store move into the center.

“People will use the grocery store,” Aaronson says. “There will be places where we can shop. I think we’re going to see a lot of neighborhood services.”

Fiesta will carry a large section of Hispanic foods and an expanded produce section to satisfy people with different cultural backgrounds, says Barry Hart, Fiesta’s research and analysis manager.

“We see ourselves as an international store,” Hart says. “We know the community has a good-sized Hispanic population, so we’ll be prepared to serve that population, as well as all others.”

The store also will carry the basics expected of any grocery store, Hart says.

Talk about Fiesta moving into our neighborhood began in Spring 1993, when Sears closed its doors. Construction was delayed by debates over preserving the Sears building. A severe asbestos problem and the difficulty involved with turning a department store into a grocery store led Fiesta to rebuild.

Fiesta is based in Houston, where it has 32 stores. There is one Fiesta in Austin and two in Dallas. The company has a reputation for being involved in the communities where it does business, Luna says.

Fiesta chose our neighborhood as its third Dallas location because of the demographics, Hart says.

“Fiesta sees itself as a company that has been serving neighborhoods that don’t get the attention from retailers that other neighborhoods get, like those in the suburbs,” Hart says.

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