NewsTalk Texas


CBRE: McAllen area industrial market 1Q 2015 

(6/30/2015 7:00:00 AM)

McALLEN - The McAllen industrial market started 2015 with positive net absorption.

The 21,600 sf of net absorption continued to decrease the market vacancy rate to 10.7 percent in 1Q 2015.

Though the reported net absorption is relatively small, market activity managed to offset 120,000 sf of newly vacated space and ultimately produced a sixth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption.

CBRE: McAllen Industrial Market 1Q 2015
Market Rentable
Net Absorp.
Net Avg.
McAllen 11,497,339 11.4% 12.8% -1,600 $3.85
Pharr 3,598,958 4.0% 6.1% 23,250 $5.62
Edinburg 2,245,771 12.4% 13.4% 0 $3.12
Hidalgo 1,435,748 16.3% 16.3% 0 $4.08
Mission 1,436,640 7.1% 25.9% 0 $4.20
Off-Park 2,283,597 14.4% 17.5% 0 $4.01
Totals 22,498,053 10.7% 13.3% 21,600 $4.06

Source: CBRE Research 1Q 2015

Full report? See Industrial MarketView 1Q 2015 (PDF)

More stats or stories? Visit McAllen Market Research and McAllen NewsTalk.

The Valley’s first solar energy company finds a home 


McALLEN - The Valley’s first solar energy installation company will move to McAllen and said they can lower energy bills.

Graeme Walker the CEO of Alba Energy found success in Austin, and his growing solar energy company decided to make the Rio Grande Valley a second home.

Next week, Alba Energy will open an office inside the old McAllen library. The third floor has been transformed into a new tech space.

The solar energy company is just one of eight tech and software startups that will call the new space home.

Alba Energy plans to install 15 to 20 solar systems per month in the Valley by the end of the year.

Read more at KGBT-TV.

Hidalgo, Cameron Counties unveil new aqueduct facility 


MERCEDES - The Hidalgo and Cameron Counties Irrigation District No. 9 will unveil a new aqueduct facility that is expected to service municipal water supplies throughout the Mid-Valley.

The aqueduct is part of a $4.5 million project funded in part, about $1.25 million to be exact, by a North American Development Bank grant.

The new aqueduct, constructed by Quest Ventures Southwest, is located adjacent to the old facility on Expressway 83 and Ohio Ave. in Mercedes.

It measures 290 feet long and 26 feet wide and has a maximum capacity of 600 cubic feet per second, transporting 380 million gallons per day and amounting to an average annual flow that is estimated at 40,000 acre feet.

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

Unemployment dips slightly across the Valley 


McALLEN - While local unemployment has dropped steadily for a few months, it bumped up again slightly last month across individual cities, the state of Texas and nationwide.

May’s unemployment rate for the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area sat at 7.2 percent, down from 7.3 in April.

However, city unemployment rates for McAllen, Edinburg and Mission increased about .1 percent to 4.6, 4.8 and 5.7 percent, respectively.

In Texas, the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent last month, up from 4.2 percent in April. The national rate was 5.5 percent, up from 5.4 percent.

Read more at The Monitor.

Also, visit the Texas Workforce Commission for more. 

McAllen's Veterans Memorial Stadium set for kick off  

(6/17/2015 7:15:00 AM)

McALLEN - When football players run out on Veterans Memorial Stadium for their first game Aug. 28, their cleats will touch new turf.

Located at 2001 N. Bicentennial Blvd. It is one of several new modifications — at $5 million — in sight for the stadium that originally opened in 1976.

Renovations include air conditioning for the restrooms and concession stands underneath the bleachers, ramps and new fencing, said Kevin Hitchcock, McAllen school district’s facilities director.

Despite a few rain delays, city and school district officials expect all the renovations to be complete by the end of the summer and to be able to use the field sooner.

The city pitched in $3 million, and the school district covered the rest. 

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

San Juan moves ahead on $1.8M drainage project  


SAN JUAN - City commissioners are moving ahead on a nearly $1 million drainage project near the Paseo De Las Flores and Las Brechas neighborhoods.

Commissioners selected the company owned by City Engineer Ronnie Cruz to perform consultant work for the project.

City leaders will be able to start using the $4.25 million that the Commission approved in April for street improvements and drainage improvements for Las Flores and Las Brechas neighborhoods.

City leaders estimated then the drainage improvements would cost about $1.8 million.

Read more about this story at The Monitor.

Mercedes' 20,000-SF dome-shaped Safe Room nears completion 


MERCEDES -  The 20,000-sf Safe Room and Community Recreation Center is nearly completion in August. The dome is capable of withstanding tornado and hurricane force winds of up to 200 mph.

The Texas Department of Emergency Management’s Texas Safe Shelter Initiative monolithic dome is located on the north end of Vermont Ave.

Currently, the cost of construction is $3.8 million, with 75 percent funded by FEMA grants.

The first phase of the project should be completed by August 15, 2015.

The city manager also stressed that the project has been several years in the making and is part of an ongoing master plan that will eventually include a sports complex and a park.

It will also serve as a recreation center equipped with a gymnasium, computer learning centers and meeting space.

Read more about this story at the Mid Valley Town Crier.

Edinburg: Santana Textiles job fair to hire 300 employees 

(6/12/2015 8:00:00 AM)

EDINBURG - Santana Textiles, a world leader in innovative denim fabrics, will be hosting a job fair on Wednesday, June 17, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

This is with the goal of hiring up to 300 employees for its upcoming start-up operations, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The job fair at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, which is located at 118 Paseo Del Prado by the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance complex in the southwest part of the city, is free and open to the public.

According to the company, Santana Textiles is seeking energetic, self-motivated and safety-oriented individuals for entry-level industrial maintenance technicians to highly experienced personnel.

Duties will vary based on job description from basic knowledge of hand and power tools to experienced technicians with knowledge of electronics, PLC, automation and testing equipment.

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

tag: McAllen-Edinburg NewsTalk Texas, McAllen-Edinburg Market Research

"Burrito fix" to McAllen with Chipotle Mexican Grill 


McALLEN - Chipotle Mexican Grill is set to open its first location in the Rio Grande Valley June 18.

The burrito chain will open at the Palms Crossing Town Center, 3400 West Expressway 83.

The location will be the first Chipotle south of Corpus Christi.

To read more about this story, visit The Monitor.

Rio Grande Valley cities keep growing 

(6/5/2015 7:30:00 AM)

McALLEN-EDINBURG-MISSION - Rio Grande Valley cities continue to grow and add population, according to the most recent U.S. Census’ annual estimates of resident population for cities above 50,000.

Edinburg was the Rio Grande Valley’s fastest growing city from 2013-2014 according to the census. It added 2,038 people and now sits at an estimated population of 83,014.

Pharr, McAllen and Mission were all closely behind as cities in Hidalgo County grew faster than their neighbors in Cameron.

Pharr was the second-fastest growing large city in the RGV, up 1.7 percent and 1,266 residents to 75,382, while McAllen — the largest city in Hidalgo County by far — grew by 1.0 percent and added 1,684 people to reach 138,596.

City 2013 Pop. 2014 Pop. % Number Tex.
Edinburg 80,976 83,014 2.5% 2,038 17
Pharr 74,116 75,382 1.7% 1,266 27
McAllen 136,912 138,596 1.0% 1,684 37
Laredo 249,297 252,309 1.2% 3,012 39
Corpus Christi 317,111 320,434 1.0% 3,323 42
Mission 81,599 82,431 1.0% 832 43
Brownsville 181,713 183,046 0.7% 1,333 50
Harlingen 65,898 65,914 0.0% 16 60

Read more about this story at the Valley Business Report.  

NAI Rio Grande Valley scoops retail, office, industrial 


McALLEN - Rio Grande Valley Market Data FY 2014-15 has been released.

Commercial categories include Class A and Class B office rent and vacancy.

Retail statistics for Downtown, Community Power Centers, Regional Malls are also available.

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission At-A-Glance‏
  Low High Eff. Avg. Vacancy
Downtown Office  
Class A $12.00 $25.00 $24.50 40%
Class B $8.00 $15.00 $15.50 20%
Suburban Office  
New construction $12.00 $26.00 $18.50 15%
Class A $10.00 $21.00 $20.50 20%
Class B $8.00 $15.00 $14.50 12%
Warehouse $3.00 $7.80 $4.80 12%
Manufacturing $5.25 $11.00 $8.75 6%
Flex $6.00 $9.00 $8.00 10%
Downtown $10.00 $21.00 $18.00 15%
Neighborhood service $12.00 $25.00 $21.00 12%
Power center $15.00 $30.00 $22.00 15%
Regional mall $30.00 $56.00 $45.00 4%

Source: NAI Rio Grande Valley

Check out development land in the full report.

Don’t forget! Visit McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Research

The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton McAllen opens 


McALLEN - The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton McAllen, a newly-renovated nine-story, 262-suite hotel located just one mile from the McAllen International Airport is open.

Formally, an Embassy Suites hotel, the new hotel reopens following a $10 million transformation that includes a complete redesign and updates to the lobby, atrium, restaurant, lounge, guest rooms, meeting rooms and indoor pool.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton McAllen is located at 1800 S. 2nd St.

Source: BusinessWire.

Rio Grande Valley unemployment rate continuous to drop  


McALLEN - The local unemployment rate continues to dip across the Rio Grande Valley, sliding below pre-recession lows in April.

At 7.3 percent, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area unemployment remains the highest in Texas and above the national average of 5.4 percent.

The Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area is also above the national average with an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, a dip from 7.1 percent in March and an even greater decline from 8 percent in April 2014.

Read more about this story at the Brownsville Herald.

See the Texas Workforce Commission.

Weslaco breaks ground on new Boys & Girls Club  


WESLACO - A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Boys & Girls Club of Weslaco.

Weslaco City officials gathered at the site of the new 12,000-plus-sf facility to be located at Mayor Pablo G. Peña City Park.

Assistance to the club and the city was a $400,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant to go toward the construction of the new club.

In total, officials say the project was budgeted for $1.4 million with $1.1 million going toward the facility’s construction.

The club’s executive director, Mary Lopez, confirmed that the non-profit organization would be able to accommodate as much as 400 children.

Officials say that the mayor wants it ready by February 2016, and he is putting a deadline on the architects.

To read more about this story, visit the Mid Valley Town Crier.

Edinburg becomes fastest growing city in South Texas 


EDINBURG - When Mayor Richard Garcia received the most current figures of the city's population, 89,000 people now call Edinburg home.

That is a 19 percent increase since 2010 census was conducted.

Edinburg has become the fastest growing city in the South Texas Region which include San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Laredo.

Read more about this story at Your Valley Voice.

UTPA green lights $70M project in Edinburg 


EDINBURG - The University of Texas-Pan American, soon to be UT Rio Grande Valley, received the final green light to build what officials say will be the most modern building in the entire UT System.

The UT Board of Regents approved funding for a $70 million addition to UTPA’s science building located east of the library. At a recent board meeting, college officials presented the project’s final plans and received approval to move on with them.

The four-story, 115,000-sf addition will complete a 272,000-sf building dedicated to research and education in STEM fields — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The entire building will house 16 research labs, four teaching labs, 11 workstations, and 42 faculty offices.

Research in this building will focus on biomedical sciences, biology and some chemistry, while the teaching labs will focus on physics and geology, said Sadiq Shah, vice provost for research and sponsored projects at UTPA.

More about this story at the Valley Morning Star.

McAllen's wastewater plant to flow for decades to come 


McALLEN - The Public Utility will update its south wastewater treatment plant in its biggest project to date.

Public Utility Board of Trustees and City Commissioners broke ground on a $56 million expansion for the South Wastewater Treatment Plant that once complete will be able to accommodate McAllen’s growth for decades to come.

The expanded facility will better serve McAllen’s residents with a new safety disinfection processes, more energy efficiencies and a better odor control system.

The treatment plant expansion will be able to process the wastewater for 8,500 average homes in the city. It will be able to handle about 10 million gallons a day. The primary purpose of the water treatment plant is to remove and properly dispose of pollutants and disinfect the wastewater before it is returned safely to the environment.

Funding for the project consists of loans and grants through the Texas Water Development Board in a net amount of $45.93 million and $16.7 million from MPU’s bond, sewer depreciation and sewer capital improvement funds totaling a combined budget of $63.63 million. However, the overall cost of the job was reduced to $56 million after project engineers, Carollo Engineers, worked closely with CSA Construction, the builder, to find several reduction measures.

The construction is expected to be complete by mid 2018.

Read more about this story at KGBT-TV.

McAllen: planned major expansion for La Plaza Mall  


McALLEN - La Plaza Mall, a retail hub that has been in the Rio Grande Valley since 1976, will see major expansion in the coming years, according to a news release by the Simon Property Group.

New additions to the mall will include about 60 new specialty stores and eight restaurants, which are set to be completed by Texas’ tax-free weekend in 2017.

The first phase of the expansion will involve demolishing the Sears store in January 2016.

Further expansion will take place between Macy’s and JCPenney, which is expected to add another 20 to 25 shops and restaurants.

Two new parking decks will also be built. One deck will include a two-level, 500-car parking lot and will be located beside Macy’s. The other deck will be a two-level, 700-car parking lot that will serve JCPenney, Dillard’s and the mall, according to the news release.

More about this story at KGBT-TV.

McAllen's Art Center redo toward less 'vanilla' with $400K 


McALLEN - City Commissioners approved $412,000 for design changes to its $45 million performing arts center.

The additional money will go toward a less “vanilla” shade structure outside the center, lights that can be seen from the highway and “upper-end” carpeting at $27 a yard, said Greg Townsend, who specializes in strategic planning for the city manager’s office, at Monday’s workshop.

On April 27, 2015, city staff recommended putting funds aside to commission the creation of an art installation on the wall facing the center’s entrance. At Monday’s workshop, staff recommended asking residents to donate to fund the installation.

The city would need about $200,000 for the installation, city staff said.

The performing arts center was scheduled to open in summer 2016. That’s been pushed back to October due to the rain and design changes.

To learn more about this story, visit The Brownsville Herald.

Edinburg, McAllen: housing market on the rise 

(5/15/2015 7:30:00 AM)

EDINBURG, McALLEN - Sold signs hang next to new, single-family homes as open fields along Sugar Rd. continue to disappear in Edinburg.

“The economy is beginning to rebound and pretty much stabilizing now,” said Shavi Mahtani, owner of real estate development firm Domain Development. “It’s definitely on the upward trend."

Edinburg's new housing development, Summerset Estates, has more than 100 lots where custom luxury homes feature vaulted ceilings, stone floors and castle-like turrets.

The asking price for one of the four-bedroom/three-bath 3,241-sf homes is $259,000.

These lots are a small fraction of the 57,818 homes sold in Texas during first quarter 2015 — about a 4 percent increase from first quarter 2014, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing Report compiled by the Texas Association of Texas and The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

The report found that while there is increased demand for new homes the biggest gap is in the entry-level market. There is increasing demand for smaller homes in the $200,000 to $250,000 range.

The first quarter average price of a single-family home in McAllen was $128,305. That is slightly more than half the average statewide price of $240,303, according to the report.

“Home affordability is the key, in the McAllen area we have about 12 months worth of inventory, but that is down 14 months from a year ago,” said Adrian A. Arriaga, owner of AAA Real Estate & Investments, a commercial real estate firm in McAllen.

“That’s a 12 percent decrease, but in first quarter people don’t buy houses, they usually do it in the summer time because of family.”

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

No ad doesn't mean sunscreen! See McAllen-Edinburg Market ResearchMcAllen-Edinburg NewsTalk and Brownsville-Harlingen NewsTalk.

Family trip! McAllen flying to Orlando 


McALLEN - Allegiant seasonal nonstop flights between McAllen and Orlando and Los Angeles are set to return this spring.

Flights to Orlando will run from May 27, 2015, to August 17, 2015, four times per week to Sanford International Airport.

Flights to Los Angeles are set to resume June 4, 2015, through August 16, 2015, twice weekly on Sundays and Thursdays to Los Angeles International Airport.

Allegiant recently announced it will add service from Brownsville to Las Vegas, in addition to the yearlong service it already flies nonstop from McAllen.

To read more about this story, visit The Monitor.

See McAllen-Edinburg Market Research and Brownsville-Harlingen Market Research.

McAllen-Miller flying high with 55,000-SF expansion 

(5/12/2015 10:00:00 AM)

McALLEN - McAllen-Miller International Airport recently completed a major $26 million expansion.

The project modernized the passenger terminal and added 55,000 sf of new space to the existing 100,000-sf building. The project cost about $26.4 million.

“When you have a large, growing population like we have here in the Valley, it was easy to decide there should be an investment,” said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar.

The new airport boasts an additional gate, spacious lobby, renovated food court, extra retail space and a new baggage-handling system.

The new screening system allows screeners to handle 600 bags every hour.

American Airlines, United Airlines, Aeromar and Allegiant currently serve the McAllen airport.


Need a visual? See the expansion here.

TAR's most, lease profitable home remodels for McAllen 


McALLEN - The Texas Association of Realtors has released its 2015 edition of the Texas Remodel Valuation Report, which is based on data from the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling magazine.

Remodeling projects were popular and profitable in McAllen in 2014. The five most profitable projects recouped an average 108.2 percent of the total project cost.

Stone veneer accents were the most profitable projects, recouping 119.4 percent of the project cost, while upscale garage additions were the least profitable, recouping only 53.9 percent.

Here are the top and bottom projects, ranked by recoup cost:

Top, bottom projects by recoup cost
Top five projects Bottom five projects
Project % of cost
Project % of cost
Stone veneer accent 119.4% upscale garage addition 53.9%
Window replacement (vinyl) 116.5% sunroom addition 55.8%
Siding replacement (vinyl) 108.2% master suite addition 57.9%
Backup power generator 98.5% home office remodel 58.9%
Upscale window replacement (vinyl) 98.4% upscale bathroom remodel 62.8%

Source: Texas Association of Realtors

See the 2015 Remodel Valuation Report Texas Association of Realtors.

Three fast food chains racing into Pharr 


PHARR - Chick-Fil-A, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers are coming to Pharr.

The three chain restaurants will be located at the corner of South Jackson Rd. and West Kelly Ave. near At Home and Costco.

City Manager Fred Sandoval, also the CEO of the development corporation, said the three chains will bring in about $15 million in land value and improvements.

Freddy’s is slated to open September 1, 2015.

Chick-Fil-A's plan is either to close the McAllen location when the Pharr restaurant opens or open the new store and turn the McAllen restaurant into a drive-thru only location.

Chick-Fil-A has filed paperwork with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for the $900,000 development, which is expected to begin construction in August and open in January 2016.

Read more at The Monitor.

Edinburg: Applause for UTPA $32M performing arts center 

(4/27/2015 7:30:00 AM)

EDINBURG - The University of Texas-Pan American has unveiled its 95,000-sf Performing Arts Complex.

The $32 million three-building complex includes a new auditorium, music classrooms and faculty offices.

The 60,000-sf performing arts building can seat up to 1,000 people.

Read more at The Monitor and Your Valley Voice.

NewsTalk Texas, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Research

McAllen: not wasting any time on $56M Wastewater expansion 


McALLEN - Public Utility Board of Trustees and City Commissioners broke ground on a $56 million expansion for the South Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Once complete, it will be able to accommodate McAllen’s growth for decades to come.

The South Wastewater Treatment Plant is located at 4100 Idela in south McAllen.

The treatment plant expansion will be able to process the wastewater for 8,500 average homes in the city. It will be able to handle about ten million gallons a day.

The South Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion is expected to be completed in three years.

McAllen also has a North Wastewater Treatment Plant on Sprague Rd. near 23rd St.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

Raising the bar! McAllen's booming retail market 


McALLEN - The City of McAllen recorded its highest local sales tax first quarter of this year by collecting more than $17.5 million in retail taxes in January, February and March, according to the Texas Comptroller.

McAllen, the region’s largest city retail market by a commanding margin, is up 2.3 percent over first quarter of last year, and it is the largest year-over-year gain for first quarter in three years.

The next largest sales tax collections by a city in Hidalgo County was Edinburg at $5.12 million for first quarter 2015. In the Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville came in second to McAllen at $9.54 million.

Stores and eateries like Forever 21, HomeGoods, Wallbangers, HEB, Starbucks, Koko’s, Walmart Neighborhood Market and many others have opened their doors recently in McAllen.

Famous brands like Chipotle, Zoe’s Kitchen, Corner Bakery and Nothing Bundt Cakes are also on the way.

Coinciding with McAllen’s record retail reach are some of the lowest unemployment rates in years.

Read more at the City of McAllen.

See the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for more information.

McAllen crown jewel: 104,000-SF River Valley Center sells 

(3/24/2015 7:45:00 AM)

McALLEN - River Valley Center, a Class A regional power center has sold to a private real estate firm specializing in the development of Target Centers and development properties.

The 103,949-sf McAllen property is located at 1316 E. Expressway 83, and was 95 percent occupied at the time of the sale.

Tenants include national retailers such as Best Buy, Sketchers, David's Bridal, Lakeshore Learning Store, Sherwin Williams, Sally Beauty, among others.

The center is considered a "crown jewel" of South Texas and Northern Mexico given its location in a top trade area.

Cushman & Wakefield Texas Retail Advisors represented the seller, South Carolina-based Edens Investment Trust, in the transaction.

Source: San Antonio Business Journal

McAllen's first step to $2B Tres Lagos development 

(3/13/2015 8:00:00 AM)

McALLEN - The McAllen City Commission approved a $2 billion plan for a 2,571-acre master-planned development in far north McAllen.

The community, Tres Lagos, will include residential, commercial and government subdivisions using sustainable and smart technology.

McAllen commissioners approved an agreement between the City and Rhodes Enterprises (Tres Lagos developer) for Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) number one, and adopted an interlocal agreement between the City and Hidalgo County for participation in the TIRZ.

Rhodes Enterprises will invest over $232 million in public infrastructure to grow the area into a great place to live, work and play for generations to come.

Private investment in construction of homes and businesses is projected to be over $2 billion over the 30-year build-out period with an estimated creation of 8,000 jobs.

Read more about McAllen’s TIRZ from McAllen’s Information Office.

McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr retail 4Q 2014: Burbach 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, PHARR - The local retail market contained nearly 19.6 million sf as of fourth quarter 2014, according to Burbach & Associates and CoStar Group. The overall vacancy rate was 6.2 percent in 4Q 2014.

The average total market rental rate was $14.88 per sf, with Greater McAllen showing $15.49 per sf.

McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr Retail Market Summary 4Q 2014
Market SF (000) Vacancy Rate/SF
General retail 9,867 5.0% $12.87
Mall 2,205 4.5% N/A
Power center 1,669 3.6% $22.56
Shopping center 5,627 10.0% $16.45
CBD McAllen 1,278 7.1% $10.72
Greater McAllen 12,942 6.2% $15.49
Edinburg 3,417 5.0% $14.32
Pharr 1,957 8.3% $12.61
Total 19,594 6.2% $14.88

Source: Burbach & Associates, CoStar Group

Click here to see the report.

For more stats, see Office, Retail and Industrial under McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Research.

Big-box retailer spurs excitement in Donna 


DONNA, HIDALGO COUNTY - The Walmart Supercenter has opened at 900 N. Salinas Blvd.

Anne Hatfield, regional director of communications for Walmart, said that the retail store has created approximately 300 new jobs in the area.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Donna location includes a full service pharmacy, bakery, deli and fuel station.

The Donna location is the latest in Hidalgo County for Walmart, which has recently added new regular-sized stores in Edinburg and Hidalgo, as well.

The company has also opened its smaller Neighborhood Market stores in Weslaco and McAllen, with a second location set to open there along with another in Mission.

Read more at The Monitor.

Edinburg dribbles to $68M sports facility 

(3/5/2015 6:28:00 AM)

EDINBURG - The Bert Ogden Arena is underway along Expressway 281 at Alberta Rd. With 8,500 seats, the facility will be the largest in the Rio Grande Valley.

The arena will become the new home of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

The $68 million sports and entertainment venue is set to open by October 2016 — almost a year earlier than previous announcements.

Edinburg’s city council in January agreed to use two tax increment reinvestment zones to pay $30 million in bonds to fund the public’s share of the arena’s cost.

Alonzo Cantu, majority owner of the Vipers and the arena’s main developer, will cover the remaining $33 million of the project, Mayor Richard Garcia said Thursday.

Cantu donated the land for the arena to a local government corporation.

The city is partially funding the project with a $30 million bond that will be repaid using two tax increment reinvestment zones that include the new arena, an HEB store and a Walmart.

The arena is expected to create about 150 new jobs, Garcia said.

It will also be available for public use such as school graduations, forums and concerts. Land surrounding the arena will include pad sites for hotels and restaurants.

Read more at The Monitor.

Up, up, up! Edinburg construction hits $120M 


EDINBURG - According to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, total construction in Edinburg in 2014 was $120.5 million.

This number does not include the ongoing and approved building of new facilities at UT-Pan American, which is valued at nearly $140 million.

Total construction in 2013 was $123 million, putting both years at the highest in the city’s history.

The figures are based on the value of work listed in the required building permits issued by the city’s Code Enforcement Department.

Mayor Richard García, who also serves as President of the Edinburg EDC, said additional construction projects are set to begin in 2015.

One project is the $55 million, 115,799-sf, 8,500-seat special events arena at the corner of I-69 Central and Alberta Rd. This will serve as the home for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

“An economic study conducted by The University of Texas-Pan American predicts a $45 million economic increase annually within the arena area, and $1.3 billion in economic benefits over the next 30 years in that region of our community,” said Garcia.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

McAllen redo, rename: Embassy Suites to DoubleTree 


McALLEN - About $10 million worth of renovations are underway as the Embassy Suites is overhauled and reinvented to a DoubleTree. Opening is slated by mid-May.

The 262 two-room suite hotel, 1800 S 2nd St., was built in the mid-1980s.

Ed McClure, CEO of San Antonio-based Phoenix Hospitality Group, said because of the location and history of the old Embassy Suites it made sense to preserve it — as the cost to build a new hotel of the same size would be up to $40 million

There will be more than 13,000 sf of event space, a Starbucks coffee shop and a renovated indoor pool.

McClure said one distinction is the full-service aspect with catering and room service made to order. The local management will stay the same.

Read more at The Monitor.

McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr industrial 4Q 2014: Burbach 

(3/2/2015 8:00:00 AM)

McALLEN, EDINBURG, PHARR - The local industrial market contained nearly 16.7 million sf as of fourth quarter 2014, according to Burbach & Associates and CoStar Group. The overall vacancy rate was 15.0 percent in 4Q 2014.

The average total market rental rate was $4.58 per sf, with Greater McAllen featuring $4.38 per sf.

McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr Industrial Market Summary 4Q 2014
Market SF (000) Vacancy Rate/SF
Warehouse space 16,323 14.9% $4.41
Flex space 362 16.1% $9.47
CBD McAllen 27 0.0% N/A
Greater McAllen 11,643 16.6% $4.38
Edinburg 1,892 16.4% $4.02
Pharr 3,122 8.0% $6.76
Total 16,685 15.0% $4.58

Source: Burbach & Associates, CoStar Group

Click here to see the report.

For more stats, see Office, Retail and Industrial under McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Research.

McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr office 4Q 2014: Burbach 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, PHARR - The local office market contained nearly 6.9 million sf as of fourth quarter 2014, according to Burbach & Associates and CoStar Group. The overall vacancy rate was 9.2 percent in 4Q 2014.

The average total market rental rate was $14.59 per sf, with Greater McAllen featuring $14.31 per sf.

McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr Office Market Summary 4Q 2014
Market SF (000) Vacancy Rate/SF
Class A 211 7.4% $22.78
Class B 5,467 8.8% $14.45
Class C 1,249 11.6% $12.24
CBD McAllen 538 15.0% $10.58
Greater McAllen 4,371 7.2% $14.31
Edinburg 1,495 13.7% $15.37
Pharr 523 8.1% $12.36
Total 6,927 9.2% $14.59

Source: Burbach & Associates, CoStar Group

Click here to see the report.

For more stats, see Office, Retail and Industrial under McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Research.

McAllen: hotel $2.3M upgrade for Residence Inn 


McALLEN - Encore Hospitality LLC, a subsidiary of Encore Enterprises Inc., has purchased a Residence Inn hotel in McAllen.

"We plan on investing over $2.3 million in the renovation of the hotel and our goal is to complete the renovation by January 2016," Glenn Pedersen, president of Encore Hospitality LLC.

The McAllen Residence Inn features 78 rooms, an outdoor pool and 350 sf of meeting space.

Encore will budget approximately $30,000 per room to upgrade the property in the next 12 months.

Read more at GlobeSt.

CBRE: McAllen industrial market 4Q 2014 


McALLEN - CBRE Research reports a fifth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption in the McAllen industrial market.

The fourth quarter 2014 net absorption of 63,447 sf decreased the market vacancy rate to 11.3 percent and elevated the year-to-date net absorption to 550,293 sf.

McAllen manages to weather a significantly large vacancy this quarter, and ultimately outperform the previous two years in 2014.

The largest reported vacancy during fourth quarter 2014 was by International Paper as they vacated 211,208 sf as part of a contraction.

The McAllen industrial market includes 22.3 million sf of space spread across five major submarkets including Mission, Edinburg, Pharr, Hidalgo and McAllen.

Most of the major industrial areas are south of Hwy. 83, near international bridges connecting the U.S. with Reynosa, Mexico.

U.S.-Mexico trade is the major driver of industrial demand in McAllen in addition to produce distribution from South Texas and Mexico.

CBRE: McAllen Industrial Market 4Q 2014
Market Rentable
Net Avg.
McAllen 11,497,177 1,380,013 12.0% $3.93
Pharr 3,609,899 197,903 5.5% $5.42
Edinburg 2,244,241 255,208 11.4% $3.12
Hidalgo 1,435,748 231,850 16.1% $4.17
Mission 1,436,640 101,560 7.1% $4.20
Off-Park 2,149,098 354,598 16.5% $3.22
Totals 22,372,803 2,521,132 11.3% $3.92

Source: CBRE Research 4Q 2014

For CBRE’s full report, click here.

tag: McAllen-Edinburg-Mission NewsTalk Texas

New year, new school for students in Pharr and San Juan 


PHARR, SAN JUAN - Over 1,300 Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD students started 2015 in new state-of-the-art facilities. In Pharr, Palmer Elementary has opened on Hall Acres Rd. while San Juan opened Austin Middle School on Stewart Rd.

Pharr: The new Geraldine Palmer Elementary at 1200 W. Hall Acres Rd. in Pharr replaces a much older campus. The school houses a little over 600 students pre-k to fifth grade.

The 88,478-sf building cost almost $13 million and includes special features like a high-efficiency HVAC system, LED lighting, instructional gardens and state-of-the-art technology and system controls.

San Juan: The new Austin Middle School campus is a 150,350-sf building located directly behind the old home of the Bruins.

Close to $24 million went into building the school, which currently houses about 800 students, sixth through eighth grade.

PSJA ISD has been renovating or replacing older facilities for over five years now, ensuring the 31,000 plus student body is in quality classrooms and schools districtwide.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

McAllen: out with the old, in with the 87,700-SF H-E-B 


McALLEN - McAllen's newest H-E-B supermarket has opened at South Second St. and Expressway 83.

The value of construction is $9.8 million, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

The 87,700-sf location replaces the H-E-B store on South 10th St., which opened in 1961.

The new location boasts a produce section 50 percent larger than the old location, more fresh food options, a larger pharmacy and a 12-pump fuel station.

Read more at The Monitor.

Mission: Southwest Steel snags land for 100,000-SF facility 


MISSION - Fresh railroad tracks will pave the way for a Southwest Steel Coil (SSC) new $10 million, 100,000-sf metal processing facility just south of Expressway 83 near Conway Ave.

The factory to be built on a seven-acre site inside the Mission Business Park will begin to transform 50,000 pound steel coils and open by October 2015 said Ed Camden, president of Southwest Steel Coil, a subsidiary of Calstrip located in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

“By this time next year we’ll be in full operation,” Camden said. The company expects to create at least 25-40 jobs at the facility.

A skilled machine operator position can earn up to $21 per hour with full benefits, whereas a semi-skilled crane worker can make up to $14 per hour. Salaried support positions are also expected.

SSC, located in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, processes and distributes flat-rolled steel and aluminum.

The Mission Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) authorized the sale at the end of October and has authorized $450,000 in incentives for the company.

“The project is a big deal for us,” said Alex Meade, MEDC chief executive officer. “The company is looking at investing between $16 million and $20 million.”

Read more at the Mission Progress-Times and The Monitor.

tag: McAllen-Edinburg-Mission news, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission data, Brownsville-Harlingen data, Brownsville-Harlingen news,

Job prospects? McAllen area ranks second in U.S. job outlook 

(1/8/2015 6:45:00 AM)

McALLEN-EDINBURG-MISSION - According to ManpowerGroup and its Employment Outlook Survey, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA has the second strongest job prospects for first quarter 2015, coming in only behind Cape Coral, Fla.

ManPower found that of those local companies interviewed, 31 percent plan to hire more employees, putting the Net Employment Outlook* at 29 percent. Only 2 percent expect to reduce staff, 66 percent expect to maintain levels and 1 percent are unsure.

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality, Other Services and Government. Hiring in Information is expected to remain unchanged.

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed in the United States, 19 percent expect to add to their workforces, and 6 percent expect a decline in their payrolls during 1Q 2015.

Seventy-three percent of employers anticipate making no change to staff levels, and the remaining 2 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring plans.

When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook* is 16 percent, a one point increase from the 4Q 2014 Net Employment Outlook* of 15 percent.

Job Prospects for McAllen-Edinburg-Mission
Don’t Know Net Employment
1Q 2015
31% 2% 66% 1% 29%
Q4 2014
(previous quarter)
31% 6% 62% 1% 25%
Q1 2014
(one year ago)
27% 4% 67% 2% 23%

*The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

“Where Are the Jobs” offers a snapshot of data and trends from the survey, including key state and metro area Outlooks along with an industry forecast.

To view the infographic or press releases for other Metropolitan Statistical Areas or states, visit

$23.5M McAllen Airport expansion completed 


McALLEN - A $23.5 million expansion is completed and now open at McAllen-Miller International Airport.

"We've got the expanded restaurant area and newsstand area, an expanded waiting area and 40,000 additional sf that we added," said Elizabeth Suarez, the city's aviation director.

Work continues on two of the airport’s six gates — one more than before — as workers finish up installing exterior sprinkler systems. That phase of the project is expected to finish in January 2015.

Additionally, work continues on expanding the Transportation Security Administration passenger screening area, which is expected to be complete by February 2014.

The airport handles about 60 percent of commercial traffic in and out from the Rio Grande Valley.

Read more at KRGV-TV and The Monitor.

Rio Grande Valley apartment market overview Oct. 2014 


RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Apartment MarketData Research Services LLC released October 2014 data. The multifamily market data represent three months trailing (August–October 2014).

As a rule these represent all properties except those that are leased but not occupied units. Totals include one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units.

Multihousing Market Condition Comparison Aug.–Oct. 2014
Rio Grande Valley Texas
Units Occ. Rate Size Units Occ. Rate Size
< 1970 993 96.6% $0.724 809 132,294 96.4% $0.852 832
1970's 4,505 97.2% $0.727 828 383,819 95.8% $0.841 818
1980's 2,681 98.7% $0.802 761 488,257 96.9% $0.928 780
1990's 3,287 97.5% $0.764 832 226,024 97.4% $1.080 922
2000's 6,721 97.4% $0.737 933 366,007 97.4% $1.046 963
2010's 1,246 95.7% $0.767 943 70,963 97.2% $1.194 927
Totals 19,433 97.4% $0.748 862 1,667,364 96.8% $0.966 859

Rate: Rental Rate is the average market rate expressed as ($/SF/month).
Size: The average size of each unit expressed as (SF/unit).

Click to see the October 2014 Rio Grande Valley report, including previous data.

Source: Apartment MarketData Research Services LLC, San Antonio

Remember, this report and other data are available under Multifamily in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Data Sources.
(Texas real estate news)

UTPA unveils $12 million 40,600-SF facility in Edinburg 

(12/2/2014 6:58:00 AM)

EDINBURG - The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) has opened its $11.9 million, 40,600-sf Student Academic Center (STAC), which is the first new building constructed on the campus since 2007.

The three-story building will house several of UTPA’s services and programs, such as the University Writing Center, the Learning Framework Program and the Guerra Honors Program.

UTPA officials will also unveil a bronze monument of Spanish explorer José de Escandón y Helguera. Known as the “father of the Rio Grande Valley,” de Escandón established several villages along the Rio Grande River in the 18th century. The monument will be located at the west entrance of the STAC facing University Drive.

Read more at the University of Texas-Pan American.

McAllen ranked most affordable city in the U.S. 

(11/18/2014 6:45:00 AM)

McALLEN - McAllen has been ranked the most affordable urban area in the nation, according to The Council for Community and Economic Research.

The economic research council surveyed the average prices of gasoline alongside the cost of milk, eggs, bananas and even haircuts and doctor’s visits. In total, more than 90,000 prices of 60 different items were tracked in 264 urban areas in the United States.

In McAllen, a 2,400-sf home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms would run homebuyers an average of $222,333 while the same type of home would cost $240,971 in Austin and a whopping $533,500 in Seattle.

Average monthly rent is $752 for an unfurnished two bedroom, 950-sf apartment in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area versus $869 in San Antonio and $1,043 in Austin for the same setup.

Austin is 15 percent more expensive than McAllen and the cost of living in Seattle is 61 percent higher. Washington is 70 percent more pricey than McAllen and Manhattan in New York City is 163 percent more costly.

Another Rio Grande Valley city, Harlingen, ranked third after Ashland, Ohio, in the report.

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

RGV ranks nationally with nearly $10B in exports 


THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY - The Rio Grande Valley’s (RGV) $9.887 billion in exports would rank 32nd nationally and fifth in Texas if the McAllen and Brownsville areas were combined, according to the RGV Partnership,

Out of 400 metro areas measured by the International Trade Administration (ITA) in 2013, the McAllen area ranked 54th Brownsville ranked 58th.

The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area exported $5.265 billion in trade during 2013, a 1.3 percent increase over 2012, and the Brownsville-Harlingen area shipped out $4.622 billion, up 1 percent.

Total exports of the RGV outperformed larger metro areas such as Austin-Round Rock, Kansas City, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Tampa-St. Petersburg. Rankings only account exports, not if the exported goods were produced in a particular market.

The McAllen area ranks in the exportation of computer and electronic product manufacturing, electrical equipment, appliances components, transportation equipment and machinery manufacturing. The Brownsville area’s primary exports were nearly the same while also exporting chemical manufacturing.

Other Texas metro areas making the list were Houston at the top with $115 billion, Dallas ninth, San Antonio 16th, El Paso 22nd, Austin 37th, Beaumont 39th, Laredo 50th and Corpus Christi 56th.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

See the full ITA report here.

$7.3M affordable housing underway in Starr County 


RIO GRANDE CITY, STARR COUNTY - A new $7.3 million 60-unit affordable housing complex has broken ground on a ten-acre lot located near the intersection of FM 3167 and a new Stripes store.

One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be offered, with rent ranging from $200 to $700 per month with yearlong leases.

Fifty of the units are set aside for residents in Starr County whose annual income is $31,440 or less for a four-person household, while ten spots will be market rate.

Developers for the project said the future road will be called Butterfly Garden Dr. with foliage to promote native habitat for the insect in addition to barbecue grills, playground and community building.

Funding for the project included $4.7 million in federal and state tax credits, a $1 million loan from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, through the Multifamily Investment Partnership program and private financing.

Starr County offered tax abatement for ten years valued at $105,000 in 2013 and Rio Grande City waived construction permits and fees.

Read more at The Monitor.

RGVP McAllen-Edinburg-Mission permits: Sept. 2014 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its September 2014 residential and commercial building permit data. Below is a sample of the entire report.

Residential/Commercial Building Permits Sept. 2014
Residential Building Permits   Commercial Building Permits
Sept. YTD 2014 YTD 2013 City Sept. YTD 2014 YTD 2013
$4,623,298 $61,105,781 $45,100,384 McAllen $3,453,700 $92,437,816 $64,617,771
$4,043,629 $41,253,363 $45,108,631 Edinburg $5,820,342 $62,648,633 $48,750,403
$2,639,194 $31,352,342 $31,026,717 Mission $3,985,256 $56,966,271 $66,120,602
$1,651,977 $21,045,642 $17,754,241 Pharr $2,066,600 $34,850,491 $57,480,531
$890,760 $3,917,270 $2,515,368 Alamo $1,067,201 $1,307,103 $17,938,694
- $1,740,500 $1,078,575 Donna - $13,347,000 $590,708
$32,195,578 $268,922,798 $243,071,007 Total* $30,835,783 $388,884,755 $473,403,456

*Totals represent values of all Rio Grande Valley area cities.

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

CBRE: McAllen industrial market 3Q 2014 


McALLEN - CBRE Research reports a fourth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption in the McAllen industrial market.

The third quarter 2014 net absorption of 146,976 sf decreased market vacancy rate to 11.4 percent and elevated the year-to-date net absorption to 486,846 sf.

McAllen seems to be on track to outperform 2012 and 2013 with a fourth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption in the industrial market.

The net absorption of 146,976 sf was the result of 373,602 sf of total gross absorption after the largest building in the market became leased.

The largest reported vacancy during Q3 2014 was by Sharp Electronics as they vacated 102,200 sf as part of a market relocation.

The McAllen industrial market includes 22.3 million sf spread across five major submarkets including Mission, Edinburg, Pharr, Hidalgo and McAllen.

Most of the major industrial areas are south of Hwy. 83, near the international bridges connecting the U.S. with Reynosa, Mexico. U.S.- Mexico trade is the major driver of industrial demand in McAllen in addition to produce distribution from South Texas and Mexico.

CBRE: McAllen Industrial Market 3Q 2014
Market Rentable
Net Avg.
McAllen 11,497,177 1,517,256 13.2% $3.86
Pharr 3,569,899 265,268 7.4% $4.35
Edinburg 2,237,969 44,000 2.0% $3.12
Hidalgo 1,435,748 231,850 16.1% $4.17
Mission 1,436,640 101,560 7.1% $4.45
Off-Park 2,149,098 384,645 17.9% $3.61
Totals 22,326,531 2,544,579 11.4% $3.92

Source: CBRE Research 3Q 2014

For CBRE’s full report, click here.

For more news, click McAllen-Edinburg-Mission NewsTalk Texas.

TAMUK engineers innovative program in Weslaco  


WESLACO - Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) will offer engineering educational and research programs at the Citrus Center, located at 312 N. International Blvd.

While a limited amount of courses will be offered in January 2015, the first cohort of engineering students is expected to be admitted in fall 2015.

The initiative will make it possible for engineering students in Rio Grande Valley to earn a TAMUK degree from the Weslaco campus.

Initial offerings from this engineering initiative will include bachelor's programs in chemical, environmental and natural gas engineering.

Students will receive the first two years of instruction from Rio Grande Valley community colleges before transferring to the Weslaco campus for their third and fourth years of college.

Officials are planning to add more bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs to their Weslaco campus as the initiative grows. Research programs in nanotechnology, robotics and environmental engineering will also be housed at this campus.

The new program may become the first step toward creating a Texas A&M University - Rio Grande Valley.

Read more at The Monitor and the University Herald.

'Natural growth' worth $100 million in SW McAllen 


McALLEN - Economic incentives are often used to spur commercial development and bring jobs, but city leaders said they realized there is $100 million worth of what they’ve dubbed “natural growth” in southwest McAllen, according to construction permits in the past 18 months.

In other words, commercial operations are opening up shop without any of the usual deal sweeteners frequently offered by municipalities to lure in companies.

The Palms Crossing shopping center accounts for much of the growth.

Other businesses include retailers and restaurants such as Harley Davidson, Tilted Kilt, Rodizio Brazilian Steak House, Saltgrass Steak House as well as local favorites like Blue Onion restaurant, RGV Cupcake Factory and Los Asados.

The $45 million McAllen Performing Arts Center broke ground in summer 2014, and a $20 million Embassy Suites Hotel is also under construction next to the convention center.

“We’re now adding the extra dimension of the performing arts center and with that comes all the hospitality and industry growth,” said Rebecca Olaguibel, the city’s retail and business development director of the 150-room hotel with swimming pools, a spa and executive meeting rooms.

Hotel tax revenue is also sky high, according to the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, though mainly due to the presence of National Guard members currently deployed to help secure the border.

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

Mercedes replaces 87-year-old firehouse with $2.6M facility 


MERCEDES - A $2.6 million, 17,500-sf fire station is Mercedes’ new crown jewel for first responders. It replaces the former station four blocks away, which was built in 1927.

Mercedes’ fire department employs six paid firefighters supported by 17 volunteers, according to Fire Chief Jaime Garcia. Four times larger than the old fire station, the new building will allow the city to add three new paid positions in the next year.

“The new facility has dorms, showers, and restrooms that will allow us to staff 24/7,” said Garcia of the two dormitories that can accommodate up to 14 firefighters and kitchen area.

The new fire station will allow for around-the-clock protection, and could reduce fire insurance premiums for business owners in the city — something officials hope will spur more economic development.

Read more at The Monitor.

Edinburg's ticket for over $2M IMAX theater 


EDINBURG - Carmike 20 will add an IMAX movie theater, the first one in the Rio Grande Valley. The $2.5 million dollar project could commence as soon as October 2014.

Movie-goers may be able to watch films on an IMAX screen as soon as May 2015.

Currently, the next nearest IMAX movie theaters to the Valley are in Corpus Christi or Monterrey.


Listen to Podcast 231 for Small Towns, Big Deals.

Eagle Ford Shale business boom in deep South Texas 


SOUTH TEXAS - The Eagle Ford Shale is bringing a lot of new jobs and businesses to deep South Texas. New hotels, restaurants, stores and various chains are coming to small towns on rural highways like Carrizo Springs, Cotulla and Tilden.

The region has the lowest unemployment rate in the State of Texas at 3 percent; everyone who wants a job has one, but to fill the rest workers are imported from the Rio Grande Valley and other regions.

The oil boom has created a "ripple effect" in Cotulla where new hotels, restaurants and businesses are springing up like weeds, according to La Salle County Judge Joel Rodriguez.

La Salle County had a total property tax base of $200 million dollars in 2008 but today it's at $7.9 billion thanks to the boom. The county is using the money to invest in improving the water infrastructure and rural highways.

With new drilling permits still being issued by the Texas Railroad Commission, the boom is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Eagle Ford Shale oil boom is expensive and requires a lot of water in an arid area, according to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at the University of Texas-Brownsville. The expense of providing water to the oil fields usually falls on the shoulders of the government.

The oil boom must be able to last at ten years or more to be beneficial, “otherwise, it will just benefit speculators and Wall Street," said Correa-Cabrera.


TeleTech to open 35,000-SF facility, hire 200 in McAllen 


McALLEN - TeleTech Holdings Inc. will open a 35,000-sf facility at 1812 S. 16th St. in first quarter 2015. The company will initially create more than 200 jobs in the surrounding area with the ability to expand up to 600 positions.

TeleTech's new customer experience center will provide an array of communications services on behalf of a nationally-recognized bank.

"…Access to McAllen's more than 50,000 local higher education students and population growth of three times the national average create a constant influx of new talent to the local area," said Martin DeGhetto, chief operations officer at TeleTech.

"This is a great economic indicator of the possibilities McAllen has to offer, and we are delighted to have TeleTech contribute such a large number of career paths for the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley,” said Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen EDC.

Read more at PRNewswire.

RGVP McAllen-Edinburg-Mission permits: Aug. 2014 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its August 2014 residential and commercial building permit data. Below is a sample of the entire report.

Residential/Commercial Building Permits August 2014
Residential Building Permits   Commercial Building Permits
Aug. YTD 2014 YTD 2013 City Aug. YTD 2014 YTD 2013
$6,964,983 $56,482,483 $41,549,393 McAllen $2,865,762 $88,984,116 $60,476,066
$3,252,961 $28,713,148 $28,718,813 Mission $3,525,700 $52,981,015 $65,815,639
$2,865,375 $37,209,734 $41,041,541 Edinburg $17,342,065 $56,828,291 $47,789,683
$2,590,477 $19,393,665 $16,429,707 Pharr $344,750 $32,783,891 $55,548,498
$97,453 $3,026,510 $2,314,965 Alamo $33,053 $239,902 $17,885,793
$82,000 $1,740,500 $1,003,575 Donna $50,000 $3,347,000 $590,708
$27,382,003 $236,727,220 $222,163,723 Total* $55,832,131 $358,048,972 $458,500,951

*Totals represent values of all Rio Grande Valley area cities.

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

See RGVP Brownsville-Harlingen permits: Aug. 2014

McAllen: Conn's signs 353,602-SF Class A lease 

(10/1/2014 6:00:00 AM)

McALLEN - Conn's Inc. has leased an entire 353,602-sf distribution facility at 6900 International Pkwy. in the Sharyland Business Park. Worthington Property Investments LLC owns the facility.

The facility benefits from the park's convenient proximity to U.S. Expy. 83 and the Anzalduas International Trade Bridge that offers a direct distribution route between the U.S. and Mexico border.

Other high-profile tenants within the Class A, 1,200-acre industrial park include Panasonic, Emerson Electric, Black & Decker and Motorola.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Rio Grande Valley housing market heats up 


RIO GRANDE VALLEY - There were 430 home starts during second quarter 2014, up 18 percent from 2Q 2013, according to Metrostudy. Furthermore, there were 470 closings in 2Q 2014, up 39 percent over 2Q 2013.

Through 2Q 2014, there have been 1,850 total starts — up 12 percent from 2Q 2013.

There were 1,874 new home closings in the year ending 2Q 2014 (up 11.3 percent) from 1,684 in 2Q 2013.

The top 58 subdivisions ranked by annual starts garnered a 54 percent share of the 2Q 2014 annual rate, and the remaining 387 subdivisions generate the other 46 percent share of annual starts.

Inventories are improving, prices are rising, and there is a good pocket of construction in the most active subdivision group.

For the near future, there will be a core group that generates more than 50 percent of all new home construction, holding tighter inventories and exhibiting better trends.

Read more at Metrostudy.

La Joya ISD starts $14M sports complex: soccer, swim, golf 


MISSION - La Joya ISD has broken ground on a sports complex at 7400 W Expy. 83 which will include a $9.5 million natatorium, $2.5 million soccer fields and tennis courts and a $2 million planetarium.

The land for the complex, newly named Howling Trails Golf Course, was purchased for $5 million in March 2014.

Construction is expected to take 12 to 14 months, and the complex will eventually include seven summer water attractions.

The indoor natatorium will include a climate controlled water system and a ten-lane competition pool, according to School Board President Esperanza “Espie” Ochoa. The facility will also have a competition diving well and a spectator area with a capacity of 500.

Read more at the Mission Progress-Times.

RGVP McAllen-Edinburg-Mission permits: July 2014 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its July 2014 residential and commercial building permit data. Below is a sample of the entire report.

Residential/Commercial Building Permits July 2014
Residential Building Permits   Commercial Building Permits
July YTD 2014 YTD 2013 City July YTD 2014 YTD 2013
$9,197,596 $49,517,500 $35,933,255 McAllen $51,756,073 $86,118,354 $56,546,966
$3,971,760 $25,460,187 $18,521,763 Mission $36,072,200 $49,455,315 $61,139,200
$9,865,561 $34,344,359 $35,891,321 Edinburg $7,180,129 $39,486,226 $30,993,145
$1,761,239 $16,803,188 $15,242,329 Pharr $703,775 $32,439,141 $52,645,221
$170,000 $1,658,500 $868,575 Donna $774,000 $13,297,000 $92,208
$546,280 $2,929,057 $2,127,894 Alamo $37,660 $206,849 $17,537,484
$25,512,436 $130,712,791 $108,585,136 Total $96,523,837 $221,002,885 $218,954,224

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

HOLT CAT to hire 60, boost Edinburg economy by $20M 


EDINBURG - The newly opened HOLT CAT facility, located south of FM 490 near the South Texas International Airport, will add 60 new jobs, some of them paying nearly $30 an hour.

Hourly wages of up to $29 an hour for a certified technician with experience working on heavy machinery and diesel engines will be offered. Other projected jobs range from salaried management to warehouse workers, and sales coordinators and representatives, which will be comparable to area wages.

“This industry adds more opportunities for higher-paying jobs for the residents of Edinburg,” said Nelda Ramirez, assistant executive director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corp (EEDC).

The project will be an economic multiplier of around $20 million for local governments through employment, state and local property taxes, according to the EEDC.

HOLT CAT has invested $10 million in the project, including a 47,000-sf facility situated on 35 acres, which is seen as a spark for the new I-69 Corridor. The EEDC approved more than $350,000 for infrastructure improvements on the land as an economic incentive.

The company will continue its operations in Weslaco, which has been around for 80 years, but will move a few employees to the new site, according to Edward Craner, HOLT CAT senior vice president of strategy and marketing.

Read more at The Monitor.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets check out the Valley 


RIO GRANDE VALLEY - In Weslaco, the 41,000-sf Walmart Neighborhood Market, located at 1600 South Texas Blvd., has opened its doors. The estimated cost of construction was nearly $2.2 million, according to state filings.

“The new store will create at least 60 new jobs in the community…and also revitalize and bring foot traffic to an area that was not commercialized before,” said Joey Treviño, Weslaco Economic Development Chief.

The Neighborhood Market is a concept that Walmart bills as a traditional grocery store at one-fifth the size of a Walmart Supercenter.

McAllen's second neighborhood market is slated to be completed on the northeast corner of North 23rd St. and West Dove Ave. by October 2014.

Mission’s neighborhood market is also slated to be completed in spring 2015 at the intersection of Bryan Rd. and Hwy. 83

In addition to the neighborhood markets, there are recently-minted supercenters in Edinburg, Hidalgo, and Elsa with more to break ground in Donna and Los Fresnos over the next year.

Read more at the Mid-Valley Town Crier and The Monitor.

Listen to Podcast 226 for more Small Towns, Big Deals.

HOLT CAT digs new 47,000-SF facility in Edinburg 


EDINBURG - HOLT CAT, the Caterpillar equipment and engine dealer, has opened its new 47,000-sf full-service facility at 10701 US 281 N.

The new location expands the company’s presence in Hidalgo County, which currently includes a HOLT Truck Center.

Construction value is estimated at $7 million.

The new Edinburg location is going to make it easier for customers operating in the Rio Grande Valley to have convenient access to the heavy equipment products and services they need, according to HOLT CAT General Manager Dave Harris.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

LIsten to Podcast 226 for this story and more.

325,000-SF Mission factory draws incentive 


MISSION - Royal Technologies has opened its $45 million, 325,000-sf factory on Trinity Rd. in the Mission Expressway Business Park. The Mission Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) has agreed to invest $2.7 million in the company.

Of the $2.7 million provided by the MEDC, $1.3 million will come from city coffers as a direct economic incentive, and $1.4 million is the value of tax abatements for the property, said MEDC CEO Alex Meade. The payments are to be spread over the course of eight years.

In 2013, Royal Technologies purchased Hi-Tech Plastics, an injection molding company that supplied parts to maquiladoras in Reynosa.

The new factory opened officially in July 2014, but has been operating in stages since April 2014, said plant manager Trung Nguyen. “In general, we make plastic cases for professional power tools, chair components for office furniture and interior pieces for automobiles,” said Nguyen.

About 50 machine operators and production supervisors were hired as part of the expansion so far, although up to 400 jobs are expected over the next few years.

Manufacturing in the Valley makes up only 5 percent of the industry, but it accounted for $3.7 million in exports for McAllen, according to the International Trade Commission in 2012.

Read more at The Monitor.

Music to McAllen’s ears: $45M arts center underway 

(8/26/2014 6:45:00 AM)

McALLEN - The $45 million, 93,000-sf McAllen Performing Arts Center has broken ground on the southeast side of the McAllen Convention Center grounds. Scheduled to open in fall 2016, the 1,800-seat center is projected to draw over 200 shows annually.

The auditorium will feature adjustable acoustics, a robust acoustical shell with a celestial ceiling, and four levels of seating, with 1,093 seats in the main auditorium level, 422 seats in the first balcony level and 301 seats in the upper balcony.

Furthermore, the facility will be across the street from the new six-story, $20 million Embassy Suites hotel and next to the Veterans War Memorial of Texas.

“The citizens of McAllen will soon have one of the best venues in the country to enjoy musicals, the symphony and recitals. It will be a fun gathering place for McAllen and Valley families,” said Mayor Jim Darling.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

Pharr parties at 58,000-SF “Eat, Bowl, Play” 


PHARR - Main Event Entertainment has opened its 58,000-sf "Eat, Bowl, Play" facility at 500 N. Jackson Rd. The estimated construction cost totaled $2.5 million, according to state filings.

Like other Main Event locations, the Pharr installation features state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a multi-level laser tag arena and a gravity rope course, along with 100+ deluxe videogames. The facility also boasts regulation-size billiard tables, full-service bars and dining, and free Wi-Fi access.

A subsidiary of Australia-based Ardent Leisure Group, Dallas-based Main Event Entertainment specializes in high-volume state-of-the-art family entertainment centers. The company currently has 20 locations throughout Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Illinois.

Read more at the Vending Times.

Breadwinners burgeon as 1,000 new jobs come to the Valley 


RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Four businesses bringing over 1,000 new jobs, all expected to pay above minimum wage, will come to the Rio Grande Valley over the next year, according to the McAllen Economic Development Corporation.

California-based Southwest Steel Coil, a subsidiary of Calstrip Industries, will open a 60,000-sf manufacturing plant in either McAllen or Mission and hire 50 employees. A skilled machine operator position can earn up to $21 per hour with full benefits, and a semi-skilled crane worker can make up to $14 per hour.

Colorado-based Teletech, which contracts for customer service phone operations, plans to invest $3.7 million for a 36,000-sf building in McAllen and will create 650 jobs. The average hourly wage for a customer service representative at Teletech can range from $9.60 to $14, according to

The Woodlands-based Conn’s Home Plus, a home goods and electronics store, will take over a 325,000-sf distribution warehouse in Sharyland Plantation in Mission and will add 80 jobs. The average salary for a warehouse worker is $10 per hour, according to

Monterrey, Mexico-based SFT Food Tech, which supplies prepared and frozen food to retailers, will build a 90,000-sf building on South Bentsen Rd. in McAllen, an investment worth up to $12 million that will create 300 jobs.

In 2013, McAllen spent $1.2 million on infrastructure along South Bentsen Rd. that included a $600,000 matching grant from the United States Department of Commerce.

Read more at The Monitor.

Winter Texans retiring from Rio Grande Valley? 


RIO GRANDE VALLEY - For decades, the Rio Grande Valley has been a winter refuge, but the heydays for retired short-term residents, dubbed Winter Texans, are gone, according to a recent report from the University of Texas-Pan American’s Business and Tourism Research Center.

Last year, the Valley lost 33,000 Winter Texans, leaving 100,000 behind, many of whom have migrated south for several years, said the bi-annual report that surveyed 88 parks and nearly 1,400 people.

Winter Texans spent $710 million last season during the winter months as recreational vehicle parks swelled and bluegrass festivals rolled through the area. That accounts for a more than 11 percent drop since 2009-2010, when they spent more than $800 million.

As Winter Texans grow older, 62 percent of respondents in the report noted that health was a factor in them not returning while concerned family members were the second reason.

Perceptions of drug violence ranked third — a departure from the last survey taken in 2012, when it ranked atop the list.

Mobile home park manager Gail McDaniel said reservations are strong and most Winter Texans are not worried about border violence.

Read more at The Monitor.

CBRE: McAllen industrial market 2Q 2014 


McALLEN - Industrial real estate activity continues on a good path as the McAllen industrial market produced a third consecutive quarter of positive net absorption, according to CBRE’s 2Q 2014 Industrial MarketView.

The net absorption of 298,896 sf sets a new 11-quarter-high dating back to 3Q 2011 and keeps the transitioning market afloat.

The current vacancy rate of 12.0 percent is up 50 basis points (bps) quarter-over-quarter and 200 bps year-over-year. Despite the higher vacancy rate, the consecutive positive net absorption benefits the transitioning market after a handful of large vacancies pushed the vacancy rate up in 2013.

Q2 2014 recorded an increase of $0.06 per sf in the average annual asking industrial lease rate from $3.83 to $3.89 per sf. Although the vacancy rate sits at 12 percent, the market remains relatively active, which continues to marginally increase asking rates.

The supply of industrial buildings in McAllen increased in 2Q 2014 with the addition of two existing buildings that were previously not tracked.

This quarter also saw the delivery of 348,000 sf for Royal Technologies in the Mission submarket, making it the single largest construction project seen since 2005.

CBRE: McAllen Industrial Market 2Q 2014
Market Rentable
McAllen 11,497,177 1,711,597 14.9%
Pharr 3,549,899 197,903 5.6%
Edinburg 2,237,969 44,000 2.0%
Hidalgo 1,435,748 231,850 16.1%
Mission 1,436,640 101,560 7.1%
Other 2,149,098 384,645 17.9%
Totals 22,306,531 2,671,555 12.0%

Source: CBRE Research 2Q 2014

For CBRE’s full report, click here.

For more news, click McAllen-Edinburg-Mission NewsTalk Texas.

Rio Grande Valley residential, commercial permits May 2014 

(7/22/2014 8:00:00 AM)

RIO GRANDE VALLEY - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released the May 2014 Business Barometer which includes building permit statistics. Here's a sample.

Rio Grande Valley Residential and Commercial Building Permits
Residential Building Permits   Commercial Building Permits
May YTD 2014 YTD 2013 City May YTD 2014 YTD 2013
$4,821,256 $23,935,160 $25,988,817 Brownsville $17,799,000 $31,663,320 $35,118,551
$370,000 $1,408,500 $826,175 Donna $11,773,000 $12,373,000 $92,208
$3,418,220 $20,560,439 $28,168,625 Edinburg $9,217,418 $30,128,994 $15,627,223
$1,341,365 $6,263,527 $6,779,191 Harlingen $627,100 $10,767,248 $64,646,688
$6,968,379 $31,948,184 $25,855,123 McAllen $5,175,200 $21,462,081 $39,501,678
$5,153,137 $19,504,881 $15,893,067 Mission $3,358,900 $10,175,815 $60,775,000
$2,840,683 $11,913,261 $10,422,224 Pharr $1,159,956 $30,971,113 $26,262,949
$1,022,789 $4,669,153 $6,130,480 Weslaco $3,500,000 $8,773,544 $6,813,000
$30,134,490 $140,202,561 $139,855,054 Totals* $62,737,974 $172,625,922 $262,955,376

*Totals include all cities in the Rio Grande Valley.

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

Retail industry grows by 90,000 SF in Palmhurst 


PALMHURST, HIDALGO COUNTY - Turner Busby Development has broken ground on its 90,000-sf development, Palmhurst Village Center, adjacent to the new H-E-B property on Mile 3 Rd. and Conway Ave.

The center will be built at a cost of more than $20 million and divided into three separate pad sites.

A number of stores have committed to spots in the center, including: Ross, Rue 21, CATO, Shoe Show, AT&T wireless, WB Liquors and Aqua Dental.

The project is currently underway with completion scheduled for October 2014. Ross and the main tenants would move in during the first quarter 2015. The McDonalds, which is a stand alone restaurant, is expected to completed by August.

The new shopping center follows the opening of a Walmart Supercenter and an HEB Mercado.

Read more at the Mission Progress-Times.

Listen to Podcast 222 for this story and other Small Towns, Big Deals.

McAllen airport becomes busiest in South Texas 


McALLEN - The McAllen International Airport had a good month in May with 34,371 boardings, making the month the busiest May in seven years and the airport the busiest South Texas airport so far this year.

Total enplanements through May 2014 were up to the highest point in six years with 152,497 passengers departing from McAllen.

Including deplanements, the McAllen airport saw nearly 68,000 passengers go through its doors in May.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

Embassy Suites at McAllen Convention Center underway 


McALLEN - City leaders came together with Goldstein Financial LLC of South Padre Island and broke ground on the $20 million, six-story Embassy Suites at McAllen’s Convention Center complex.

The 150-room, full-service hotel will be the signature hotel at the McAllen Convention Center.

Construction is expected to begin in August in the southwest section of the Convention Center’s oval park, and be completed in approximately 18 months.

The hotel will include one- and two-room suites, an indoor pool and spa, 12,660 sf of ballroom and meeting space and 3,763 sf of restaurant, food and beverage space.

The Embassy Suites completes the City’s plan for the development of the Convention Center complex. A recently approved $45 million Performing Arts Center is planned for the southeast side.

The new hotel will be within walking distance of the Convention Center and the Palms Crossing retail center.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

City of Edinburg eagles with $4M nine-hole golf course 


EDINBURG - The shareholders of Ebony Hills Golf Course are collectively getting $4.25 million from the sale of the nine-hole course to the City of Edinburg.

The golf course’s ownership had been trying to sell the course to the city for at least 16 years, but negotiations did not start in earnest until the city’s 50-year lease on the property at 300 West Palm Dr. expired last year.

As for Edinburg residents, City Manager Ramiro Garza said the sale will not cause taxes to go up, as the city is paying for the course by issuing $2.3 million in bonds and by relying on existing sales and property taxes.

Read more at The Monitor. Listen to Podcast 219.

Rio Grande Valley residential, commercial permits YTD 2014 


RIO GRANDE VALLEY - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released the April 2014 Business Barometer including building permit statistics. Here's a sample.

Rio Grande Valley Residential and Commercial Building Permits
Residential Building Permits   Commercial Building Permits
April YTD 2014 YTD 2013 City April YTD 2014 YTD 2013
$6,211,414 $19,113,904 $21,437,719 Brownsville $125,000 $13,534,320 $34,034,551
$4,844,138 $17,142,219 $15,999,195 Edinburg $914,590 $20,911,576 $13,638,993
$1,249,036 $4,922,162 $5,569,951 Harlingen $3,512,643 $10,140,148 $62,866,872
$7,384,436 $24,979,805 $21,866,952 McAllen $2,334,940 $16,286,881 $31,571,249
$3,178,675 $14,351,744 $11,426,413 Mission $1,054,700 $6,816,915 $1,372,895
$2,574,159 $9,072,578 $8,645,578 Pharr $7,354,212 $29,811,157 $25,251,929
$617,526 $2,173,969 $793,000 San Benito $916,806 $1,539,975 $1,342,000
$84,760 $2,320,920 $669,741 South Padre $119,500 $456,990 $1,926,327
$28,819,108 $107,697,767 $107,412,403 Totals* $17,985,870 $106,600,995 $183,294,527

*Totals include all cities in the Rio Grande Valley.

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

CBRE: McAllen industrial market 1Q 2014 


McALLEN - The McAllen industrial market includes 22.1 million sf of space spread across five major submarkets including Mission, Edinburg, Pharr, Hidalgo and McAllen.

CBRE Research reports a second consecutive quarter of positive net absorption in the McAllen industrial market. After a slow start in the first three quarters in 2013, McAllen has managed to stay afloat as it reports positive net absorption with only three reported vacancies in 1Q 2014.

The vacancy rate for industrial real estate in McAllen continued to decline in 1Q 2014 with 40,974 sf of net absorption across the market. The net absorption figure for 1Q 2014 surpassed the 8,126 sf reported during 1Q 2013.

Of the 160,305 sf of total gross absorption, the largest new deal signed was by Emerson Company for 48,000 sf in McAllen.

CBRE: McAllen Industrial Market 1Q 2014
Market Rentable SF Vacant SF Vacancy Rate
McAllen 11,667,051 1,870,111 16.0%
Pharr 3,548,950 146,954  4.1%
Edinburg 2,193,969 0 0.0%
Hidalgo 1,434,498 208,100 14.5%
Mission 1,162,080 0 0.0%
Other 2,108,298 315,098 14.9%
Totals 22,114,846 2,540,263 11.5%

Read more at CBRE or see the full 1Q 2014 Industrial MarketView under Industrial in McAllen Market Data Sources.

McAllen Paradise Village fetches $4M 


McALLEN - Boerne-based Calton Investments acquired the 82-unit Paradise Village Apts. at 4210 N Main St. in for $4.3 million, or about $52,000 per unit.

The 75,112-sf property sits on approximately 3.5 acres and consists of ten two-story buildings. The complex is comprised of a mix of one- and two-bedroom units.

The complex was 98 percent leased at the time of sale.

Read more at CoStar Group.

McAllen salutes Veterans with $20M, 60,000-SF clinic 


McALLEN - The new $20 million, 60,000-sf Veterans Administration outpatient clinic, located at 901 E. Hackberry Ave., has opened its doors.

The clinic, principally a primary care facility, will feature specialty care in three areas: optometry, prosthetics and physical therapy.

The facility will also have areas dedicated to women’s health and behavioral health, along with psychological, psychiatric, and peer support services available on-site.

More than 60 staffers will transfer to the new location from the clinic’s former location on South Second St., and additional hires are planned.

Officials expect to treat more than 10,000 patients annually at the clinic, said Hugo Martinez, agency spokesman. Nine teams of primary care providers will feature a primary care doctor, a registered nurse, a licensed vocational nurse and a social worker.

Read more at The Monitor.

Pharr At Home in 107,000-SF furnishing store 


PHARR - At Home has broken ground on its 107,000-sf home furnishings store near the intersection of West Kelly Ave. and South Jackson Rd. The estimated cost of construction is $7.4 million, according to state filings.

The store, situated on eight acres, is scheduled to open in October 2014, according to Fred Sandoval, director of the Pharr Economic Development Corp.

At Home will hire over 20 employees, according to Dean Zurmely, vice president of real estate. Additionally, Garden Ridge will both run and own Pharr’s At Home store.

“We’re currently undergoing a name change, and a corporate identity change, and so that’s why some of you might know us as Garden Ridge,” said Zurmely.

The Pharr At Home location will be the store’s first in South Texas. At Home will be part of the redevelopment of a 40-acre area southeast of Interstate-2 and Expy. 83.

The city invested some $16 million in the 40-acre location around 2011, and At Home paid approximately $2.6 million for their space.

Read more at the Monitor.

Pharr: Texas Attorney General's Office underway 


PHARR - A new 50,000-sf building set to house services for the Texas Attorney General's Office is under construction.

Located at 3308 N. Jackson Rd. — at the southeast corner of the intersection with West Eldora Rd. — the building is scheduled for a summer opening, said Janece Rolfe, office spokesperson.

The building will eventually include office space for three divisions: child support department, Medicaid fraud control and consumer protection department.

Employees from the Office of the Attorney General's McAllen regional office and field office as well as its Edinburg office will transfer to the new location in Pharr this summer. Weslaco's child support office and McAllen's Medicaid fraud location are scheduled to transfer to the Pharr building in October 2015.

Once their employees have moved to the Pharr office, these five state Attorney General office locations across the county will shut down.

About 230 people will be working at the facility come October 2015.

Read more at The Monitor.

Walmart to hire nearly 695 between three new RGV locations 


HIDALGO COUNTY - The 185,000-sf Walmart, located at 3000 Jackson Rd. in Hidalgo, will open its doors in July 2014 and hire about 300 associate positions. The estimated cost of construction is $13.5 milllion, according to state filings.

Walmart will further expand its presence in the Rio Grande Valley by opening two other locations in the region. The Elsa store will employ 300 associates when it opens in August 2014. The estimated cost of construction is $10 million, according to state filings.

The McAllen neighborhood market will employ about 95 when it opens in July 2014. The estimated cost of construction is $2.2 million, according to state filings.

Read more at The Monitor.

Edinburg unemployment declines 


EDINBURG - Edinburg’s 6 percent unemployment rate in March 2014 was down from the February 2014 and January 2014 rates of 6.6 percent each, according to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the Texas Workforce Commission.

During March 2014, only McAllen had a better unemployment rate at 5.9 percent, while the other major communities in the Valley ranged from 6.8 percent (Harlingen) to 9.5 percent (Brownsville).

The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates in the single-digits during March 2014: Mission with 7.3 percent; Pharr with 7.8 percent; and Weslaco with 9 percent.

Hidalgo County averaged a 9.4 percent unemployment rate in March 2014, while Cameron County averaged an 8.8 percent unemployment rate in March 2014.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Texas fell to 5.5 percent in March 2014, down from February’s rate of 5.7 percent. The unemployment rates in Edinburg and in Texas remain well below the national rate of 6.7 percent.

Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,671 persons employed in the city during March 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen, posted larger numbers at 63,401 and 58,848 individuals, respectively.

Edinburg’s labor market has always remained strong in deep South Texas, with only one month since 2005 — June 2011 — being the only month when the unemployment rate was in double-figures at 10 percent.

Read more at Your Valley Voice. For the full report, see Texas Workforce Commission.

For more employment statistics, see Employment under McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Data Sources.

Mission’s flourishing first quarter 2014 


MISSION - The City of Mission unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in February 2014, marking the fourth straight year the jobless rate has dropped year-over-year in February, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

In February 2014, 29,929 were employed in Mission, an increase of 727 new jobs since February 2013. Mission's overall jobless rates were lower than both Hidalgo and Cameron Counties and several other cities.

During first quarter 2014, sales tax allocations were up 4.2 percent over the same period in 2013. For 1Q 2014, sales tax revenues totaled $3.9 million, the best ever three-month start to a year for Mission.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

For the full employment report, see the Texas Workforce Commission.

Rio Grande Valley enplanements Jan.-Feb. 


McALLEN - The McAllen International Airport released January and February 2014 enplanements (passengers boarding the plane) data for the Rio Grande Valley.

Rio Grande Valley Enplanements Jan.–Feb.
Airport YTD
McAllen International (MFE) 49,383 52,464 6.0%
Valley International Airport (Harlingen-HRL) 47,368 52,195 10.0%
Brownsville South Padre Island International (BRO)* 6,449 7,622 18.0%
Total Rio Grande Valley boardings 103,200 112,281  8.8%

*data through January 2014

Source: McAllen International Airport

Embassy reserves $20M hotel in McAllen 


McALLEN - A $20 million, 150-room Embassy Suites will constructed at McAllen’s Convention Center complex. Goldstein Financial LLC will build the 134,350-sf hotel — the only convention center hotel project south of San Antonio.

The six-story hotel will feature:

•  one- and two-room suites throughout;
•  12,660 sf of ballroom and meeting space;
•  3,763 sf of food and beverage space;
•  209 parking spaces;
•  an indoor pool and spa; and
•  a full restaurant.

The Embassy Suites is set to occupy the southwest section of the Convention Center’s oval park, which is within walking distance of the Convention Center and Palms Crossing, a major retail center. A $40 million Performing Arts Center is planned for the southeast side of the Convention Center.

Construction on the hotel is expected to begin in fall 2014, with completion scheduled for spring 2016.

South Padre-based Goldstein Financial LLC will pay the City of McAllen $2.1 million for the property. Goldstein owns the Hilton Garden Inn and La Quinta Inn & Suites on South Padre Island.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

Pharr and Port of Corpus Christi enter alliance 


PHARR - The City of Pharr will sign today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Port of Corpus Christi Authority to generate new business by promoting the land and seaport route between the Pharr International Bridge and the Port of Corpus Christi.

The alliance is meant to increase the logistical attractiveness of both locations, increasing job opportunities and revenues.

The Pharr International Bridge has more than 940,000 annual commercial truck crossings, and is the seventh busiest commercial truck crossing port in the United States. The bridge is ranked second in the United States and first in Texas for agriculture product crossings.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

Weslaco packing onion business in 30,000 SF 


WESLACO, HIDALGO COUNTY - Tex-Mex Sales LLC has expanded its onion processing operations at 504 E Railroad St. by 30,000 sf, according to co-owner Michael Davis.

Tex-Mex also added a second 5,000-sf cooler and a second 8,000-sf drier storage facility.

The effort has dovetailed with Tex-Mex’s rollout of its proprietary Onion Care packing and shipping process.

Read more at The Packer.

Fly from McAllen to LA for $99 


McALLEN - Allegiant Air will begin flying non-stop from McAllen-Miller International Airport Los Angeles International Airport in June 2014.

The one-way, non-stop flights will cost $99.

Allegiant is known for low-cost flights to Las Vegas and other vacation destinations.

Read more at The Monitor and Allegiant.

RGVP McAllen area commercial permits Jan. 2014 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION AREA - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its January 2014 commercial building permit data for the area. Below is a sample of the entire report.

Commercial Building Permits*
City Jan. 2014 Jan. 2013
Edinburg $11,203,982 $3,328,550
McAllen $4,096,550 $3,664,456
Mission $2,859,000 $474,850
Pharr $2,128,002 $3,614,111
Mercedes $110,000 $0
Total $20,397,534 $11,081,967

* listed in descending order based on Jan. 2014 values

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

RGV building boom best in five years 

(3/3/2014 6:41:00 AM)

RIO GRANDE VALLEY - According to Rio Grande Valley Partnership, 2013 was the busiest for commercial and residential construction in the Valley in at least five years.

In 2013, Valley cities recorded $926.8 million in building permits, an approximate 5 percent jump over 2012’s construction. Harlingen and McAllen led the building boom with $134.9 million in commercial construction and $62.3 million in new home construction, respectively.

Harlingen, McAllen, Edinburg, Brownsville and Mission all broke the $100 million mark in permitted construction activity. Mission more than doubled from 2012 to 2013, and San Juan’s permits quadrupled in value.

Total Permit Values Commercial and Residential
RGV’s Ten Largest Cities*
City/Area 2013* 2012* $ Growth* % Growth*
Harlingen $150.3 $100.4 $49.9 49.7%
McAllen $150.3 $172.3 -$22.0 -14.6%
Edinburg $123.2 $100.4 $22.8 22.7%
Brownsville $120.9 $88.1 $32.8 37.2%
Mission $107.8 $47.8 $60.0 125.5%
Pharr $87.7 $121.3 -$33.6 -38.3%
San Juan $41.2 $10.3 $30.9 300%
Weslaco $26.0 $18.5 $7.5 40.5%
Mercedes $14.2 $4.5 $9.7 215.5%
San Benito $12.5 $7.2 $5.3 73.6%
RGV Cities $926.8 $875.9 $50.9 5.8%

*Ranked by 2013 permit value, all values in millions of dollars.

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

Tolls higher at McAllen bridges 


McALLEN - Beginning in March 2014, vehicles crossing the Hidalgo-Reynosa and Anzalduas bridges to Mexico will pay a toll of $3.25, an increase of twenty-five cents. Collecting the extra quarter will boost revenue at Hidalgo-Reynosa by $60,000 to $65,000 per month, said Rigo Villarreal, superintendent of bridges. Revenue at the Anzalduas bridge would jump $18,000 to $20,000 per month.

The higher toll will partially fund major capital improvements, including repairs at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge and commercial truck infrastructure at Anzalduas.

McAllen and Hidalgo jointly own the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. McAllen and Hidalgo also own the Anzalduas Bridge along with Mission. Both bridge boards approved the higher toll and forwarded the recommendation to McAllen, which runs day-to-day operations.

Nearly all other Rio Grande Valley border crossings already collect $3.25 from passenger vehicles headed to Mexico.

The Cameron County border crossings, the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge, already collect $3.25 from southbound passenger vehicles.

Unlike the Rio Grande Valley’s government-owned bridges, the privately owned Progreso bridge collects $2.50 from southbound passenger vehicles. The privately owned Starr-Camargo bridge in Rio Grande City collects $3.

Read more at The Monitor.

$54M, 88,260-SF Edinburg construction for medical school 


EDINBURG - The University of Texas System Board of Regents has approved construction plans for a $54 million, 88,260-sf UT Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV) medical school building.

The facility will include lecture halls that can convert into smaller breakout rooms for multiprofessional education and simulated patient cases. The space will also allow for incorporation of future phases of the medical school.

Core administrative offices, including offices for the medical school dean and approximately 30 faculty members, will be located in the building as well.

To make room for construction, the university will have to demolish Lamar Academy, which houses the ROTC program and the service-learning center, among others, according to UT-Pan American President Robert Nelsen.

The project will be paid for by the Permanent University Fund, and will be ready for the first class of medical students scheduled for the summer or fall 2016.

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

Edinburg: 27% sales tax revenue increase 


EDINBURG - Local sales taxes totaled over $2.1 million in December 2013, compared to almost $1.7 million in December 2012, representing a 26.55 percent increase, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

“The City of Edinburg is growing exponentially. New major retailers, such as the H-E-B to be built next to the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, and other stories and restaurants, are being announced on a regular basis,” said Mayor Richard García.

Edinburg far outpaced other key Valley communities in the rate of improvement, with only Pharr, which reported an almost 15 percent rate of growth, registering a double-digit increase for that key holiday season month.

All cities in Hidalgo County generated a combined total of $16,677,172 in local sales tax revenue in December 2013, compared to $15,680,551 in December 2012, an improvement of 6.35 percent.

All cities in Cameron County generated a combined total of $7,007,182 in local sales tax revenue in December 2013, compared to $6,548,118 in December 2012, an improvement of 7.01 percent.

State tax revenue from retail sales in December 2013 was $2.3 billion, up 8.3 percent compared to December 2012. “Sales tax revenue has increased for 46 consecutive months,” said Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

For more cities and counties, see the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

UTPA's spring jump in 2014 enrollment 


EDINBURG - Preliminary spring 2014 enrollment figures at The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) show a record 18,821 students enrolled, up 6.4 percent since spring 2013.

UTPA's large fall 2013 freshman class — 20,053 — and an increase in undergraduate retention have made a significant impact in spring 2014 enrollment. Graduate enrollment has also increased significantly with the addition of new online programs, particularly in the accelerated online format

The enrollment in master's degree programs rose from 2,032 in spring 2013 to 2,308 in spring 2014, a 13.6 percent increase.

Online enrollment (at least one class) increased 22.5 percent — from 3,968 in spring 2013 to 4,859 in spring 2014.

The biggest jump came in online fast track programs, which increased 513.9 percent.

In addition to a master's in business administration online fast track program, first offered in spring 2013, UTPA also starting offering in spring 2014 online fast track master's programs in public administration and special education.

All seven of the University's colleges saw increases in student enrollment. The largest increase of 14.6 percent was in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, which saw its enrollment go from 1,696 in spring 2013 to 1,947 in spring 2014.

The College of Health Sciences and Human Services continues to have the largest college at UTPA with 3,974 students, compared to 3,800 in spring 2013.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

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