The Austin Chronicle

Wal-Mart Clan Buys Tex-Mex Site

By Amy Smith, August 23, 2013, News

Hard to believe that the shuttered Nuevo Leon restaurant – once a popular spot for Democratic campaign fundraisers and kickoffs – is now owned by an entity tied to a company Austinites have battled for more than a decade: Wal-Mart.

An investment group called WPC LLC – an arm of Walton Enterprises, the holding company for Wal-Mart's Walton family heirs – closed on the East Sixth Street tract early this year, but the property's future remains unclear. Rumors suggest the site is slated for a small-scale Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, similar to ones in Plano and other cities, but a Wal-Mart representative said there are no plans for a neighborhood-style Wal-Mart in Austin anytime soon. The rep also said properties acquired specifically for Wal-Mart retail stores are purchased under the Wal-Mart name, while other investments are made by Walton Enterprises or one of its entities.

Current market trends point to an apartment development as a more likely use for the site; the description of one online sales listing said the property could accommodate 200 units. It's comprised of three parcels in the 1500 block of East Sixth, covering just under 1.4 acres near Plaza Saltillo and the Cap Metro rail station. The Travis County Appraisal District lists the combined parcels' appraised value at around $1.8 million.

Former Nuevo Leon owner Rachel Davila could not be reached for comment. The sale of the restaurant for an undisclosed sum allowed the hard-working mother and grandmother to retire at 77. The restaurant served its last meal on March 2 after 31 years in business.

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