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.

Hager Pacific targets Texas border town 


McALLEN - In a strategic buying spree, California-based Hager Pacific Properties (HPP) acquired eight properties in 90 days, of which four are in the border town of McAllen.

HPP acquired four multi-tenant industrial buildings in McAllen as part of an eight property, $20 million deal. The firm owns approximately 700,000 sf in McAllen, making it the largest private investor of industrial real estate in the market.

“Demand in McAllen is directly correlated to the strength of the Mexican economy which we believe has great potential,” said Rob Neal, Managing Partner with HPP. “The majority of our tenants are suppliers to companies manufacturing in Mexico. We are thrilled with the performance of our assets in McAllen.”

Other properties in the deal include

a distribution building in Central Los Angeles, Calif.;
an R&D complex in Pasadena, Calif.; and
two land sites near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Source: Globe St.

Makeover in Mission: downtown sees revitalization 


MISSION - The $2.5 million Conway Ave. renovation has begun in downtown Mission. A total of 14 blocks will become more pleasing to the eye and improve the business climate. The whole project is expected to take about ten months.

“This is something that is going to hit the heart of the community. We’re talking about dozens of businesses that are going to be affected by this change,” said City Manager Martin Garza.

Not only is Conway getting an update, but the Mission Economic Development Corporation is chipping in $100,000 for businesses in the affected area to update their building fronts.

The corporation is offering up to $10,000 for businesses that can match the funding for storefront renovations. The agency also is offering $3,000 grants for businesses that cannot afford to match.

In addition, the Mission Chamber of Commerce is aiding the cause of bringing customers to downtown with the GoMission discount card.

Between all the efforts, the city is creating a “brand-new retail environment that’s not only going to enhance the existing merchants, but also attract new retail merchants,” said George Myers, chamber president.

“The heart of every great city is its downtown. The Mission downtown is getting ready to get real exciting, so stand by,” said Myers.

Read more at the Mission Progress-Times.

Hidalgo County to build bridge near schools on Mile 17 1/2 


McALLEN, HILDALGO COUNTY - Hidalgo County Precinct 4, County Drainage District 1, McAllen and Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District (ECISD) will jointly fund a new road and bridge near the intersection of Rooth Rd. and Mile 17½ roads with North Ware Rd.

The project will connect three schools: Longoria Middle School, Flores-Zapata Elementary and IDEA Quest Academy and College Prep

The .4-mile piece of road will alleviate traffic problems and allow students commuting from the west to reach the schools by a more direct path than the current route that bypasses a canal just west of the campuses.

About 82 percent of the road is in McAllen, while 18 percent is under county jurisdiction, said Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios.

Funding for the project will include:

•  $500,000 from McAllen
•  $460,000 from ECISD
•  $280,000 from County Drainage District 1, and
•  $177,000 from Hidalgo County.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of March 2014.

Commissioners also approved more than $735,000 for six other road and drainage projects in Precinct 4.

Read more at The Monitor.

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission residential permits YTD 2013: RGVP 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION AREA - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its December 2013 residential building permit data for the area. Below is a sample of the entire report.

Residential Building Permits*
City YTD 2013 YTD 2012
McAllen $62,363,844 $73,593,753
Edinburg $56,459,277 $51,535,506
Mission $39,622,806 $35,454,972
Pharr $24,335,653 $23,186,700
Weslaco $11,457,706 $10,659,122
San Juan $6,307,688 $7,738,998
Hidalgo $5,959,800 N/A
Mercedes $3,728,430 $2,014,161
Alamo $3,569,897 $3,524,691
Donna $1,727,850 $2,400,211
Roma $1,466,796 $3,690,000
Total $216,999,747 $213,798,114

* Listed in descending order based on YTD 2013 values

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

McAllen area commercial permits Dec. 2013: RGVP 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its December 2013 commercial building permit data for the Rio Grande Valley. Below is a sample of the data.

City YTD 2013 YTD 2012
Commercial Building Permits*
McAllen $87,926,157 $98,739,677
Mission $68,236,202 $12,386,032
Edinburg $66,813,813 $48,870,968
Pharr $63,419,899 $98,122,587
San Juan $34,957,576 $2,276,000
Hidalgo $20,980,280 N/A
Alamo $18,034,594 $38,073,848
Weslaco $14,508,950 $7,847,080
Mercedes $10,482,005 $2,512,733
Donna $2,440,708 $2,305,000
Roma $1,420,000 $1,600,000
Total $389,220,184 $312,733,925

* listed in descending order based on YTD 2013 values

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

Mexican fresh imports super way not 'Pharr' to Texas 


PHARR, LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY - A super highway connecting the Cities of Mazatlan and Matamoros will result in an import boom for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, courtesy of fruit and vegetable traders in Mexico. The highway is scheduled for completion in first quarter 2014.

Traders will have the option to shorten their trip to the Valley by six to eight hours by taking the super highway up through Pharr. Transportation costs from Mazatlan to the Lower Rio Grande Valley could be reduced by up to $1,500 per load, according to Texas A&M Center for North American Studies.

Texas could serve as the hub of fresh produce trade between Mexico and the United States, and towns such as Pharr already have plans underway to receive the influx of goods, according to Hector Garza, industry relations director of the Texas International Produce Association.

“Because Pharr is in a unique spot and it’s got the Pharr Bridge produce terminal, instead of going to Brownsville they can jump off and go straight to Pharr and from there head north or northeast where the majority of the produce goes to,” said Garza.

Pharr also has the benefit of an overweight truck terminal to receive loads that otherwise may be too heavy to enter the United states.

By 2020, fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico to Texas are forecast to grow an outstanding 73 percent in comparison to 2012, equivalent to 615,000 truckloads, according to Texas A&M.

Texas is expected to account for over half of fruit and vegetable imports arriving to the United States from Mexico. At the heart of this growth will be the Rio Grande Valley, forecast to receive almost 60 percent of total produce imports from Mexico to Texas by 2020.

To take on this boom, Pharr will need to equip its facilities with additional inspectors, including an entomologist from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Total jobs in Texas supporting produce imports are forecast to grow from just over 3,000 in 2012 to almost 7,000 in 2020. That compares 10,000 jobs between Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California combined, according to Texas A&M.


Rio Grande Valley enplanements 2013 


McALLEN - The McAllen International Airport has released year-end 2013 enplanement (passengers boarding the plane) data for the Rio Grande Valley.

Airport YTD 2013 YTD 2012 Chg.
Rio Grande Valley Enplanements
McAllen International (MFE) 352,589 332,984 6%
Valley International Airport (Harlingen-HRL) 304,051 327,921 -7%
Brownsville South Padre Island International (BRO)* 83,634 82,789 1%
Total Rio Grande Valley boardings 740,274 743,694 - .5%

*data through November 2013

Source: McAllen International Airport

Edinburg Doctors Hospital opening four buildings in 2014 


EDINBURG - Four construction projects are underway at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, located at 5501 S. McColl Rd.

As it transitions to a healthcare system, Doctors Hospital is spending about $8 million to construct three new buildings:

•  a bariatric and metabolic institute,
•  a urology institute, and
•  the Edinburg branch of Harvard Medical School-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center.

A 13,000-sf expansion of the conference center on the hospital’s campus is the fourth project.

The expansion is the latest for the facility that opened as an outpatient clinic in 1997 and grew into a 30-bed hospital in 2003. The hospital currently houses 530 beds.

The hospital contributes more than $6.7 million in property and sales taxes annually and employs 3,600 people.

Read more at The Monitor. Listen to Podcast 202 for more news from the Real Estate Center.

See previous story Edinburg Conference Center $2.5M upgrade set.

Mexican sales tax hike seen as border boon for Texas 

(1/15/2014 10:00:00 AM)

TEXAS - Mexico has raised its federal sales tax in border regions from 11 percent to 16 percent, which matches the rest of the country.

Mexican shoppers spend more than $4.5 billion a year in Texas border cities, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Mexican border crossers account for 58 percent of retail sales in Laredo and 42 percent in McAllen.

The tax hike will cause Mexican shoppers to spend between 5 percent and 10 percent more on the United States side of the border in 2014, according to Thomas Fullerton, an economics professor at University of Texas at El Paso.

“This tax increase gives Mexican nationals an excuse to shop and spend money on the U.S. side,” said Steve Ahlenius, president of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

Read more at The Monitor.

Edinburg Conference Center $2.5M upgrade set 


EDINBURG - The Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance is undergoing $2.5 million in renovations, which began in November 2013. The center is located near the intersection of McColl and Dove.

The 38,000-sf conference center, which opened in 2011, features a 1,000-seat auditorium and four 80-seat multipurpose rooms.

Construction in Edinburg reached almost $119 million between January 2013 and November 2013, about $23 million more than during the same period in 2012.

“Our hotbeds have been by the university and by the hospital region, and these are natural funnels for retail development and commercial construction,” said Agustín García, of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

Something going up, Edinburg! Permits up by 23.6 percent 

(12/20/2013 6:13:00 AM)

EDINBURG - The city’s November 2013 building permits saw a 23.6 percent year-to-date increase, according to the Edinburg building report. So far in 2013, the city has issued 7,487 permits compared to 7,331 during the same time in 2012.

The largest increases were in the issuance of commercial permits up by more than 38 percent followed by commercial alterations up 30.1 percent and new home permits up 14.2 percent.

“Edinburg has a lot of room for growth all over town. Right now, what we’re seeing is that businesses are choosing our busiest corridors that have the largest traffic counts like Trenton/I-69 Central and University Dr.,” said Mayor Richard H. Garcia.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

Edinburg annexes over 2,000 acres 


EDINBURG - The Edinburg City Council has voted to annex 17 unincorporated areas covering over 2,000 acres. The move will provide city services like police coverage, street maintenance and drainage systems to about 3,000 people on all sides of the city.

Four of the annexed areas are on the city’s southern border, five are on the west, four border the north and three are on the eastern edge.

Adding the existing properties will bring in an estimated $700,000 annually in property tax revenue, and vacant land will allow the city flexibility as it continues aggressively planning commercial expansions.

The city’s planning department estimated the annexations would require about $6.2 million in capital investments in streets, sewage and utilities. Property taxes for the newly annexed land will increase 63.5 cents per $100 of property value.

Read more at The Monitor.

Direct Energy $685M fires up Mission sale 


MISSION, PARIS, BASTROP - Direct Energy, a subsidiary of Centrica PLC, is set to sell its Texas gas-fired power stations to Blackstone for $685 million.

The three units, located in Paris, Bastrop, and Mission, have a combined capacity of 1,295MW — about 2 percent of the state’s total capacity.

The Texas power market is projected to be among the fastest-growing in the U.S., according to North American Electric Reliability Corp. State regulators are considering changes to market rules that would pay power producers to keep excess generation capacity in reserve as population growth threatens to outstrip supplies — a potential boon for the industry that UBS says could be worth $2.8 billion a year.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Pharr pops in new 16-screen Cinemark Town Center 


PHARR - The 16-screen Cinemark Town Center, located in El Centro Mall at 600 N. Jackson Rd., has opened its doors. The theater contains a 65,856-sf ground floor and an 18,860-sf mezzanine, according to state filings.

The largest of the location’s theaters is the XD auditorium, which has 500 seats, a 72-foot floor-to-ceiling screen and more than 50 surround sound speakers.

Cinemark Town Center will be a major anchor for the redevelopment of El Centro Mall.

El Centro is partially through a demolition that will replace all but the Convergys call center at the location. A Main Event entertainment venue will take up about half the new space with bowling, laser tag, rock climbing, arcades and miniature golf.

Read more at The Monitor.

Penske pounces on Pharr dealerships 


PHARR - Penske Automotive Group Inc. has acquired Frank Smith Toyota-Scion, located at 1625 West Expy. 83, and Frank Smith Hyundai, located at 1605 West Expy. 83.

The dealerships are located on an 18-acre site that includes a 28,000-sf, 38-service bay collision repair center and an 8,500-sf delivery/detail center.

The acquisitions add to the company's existing operations in Austin, Houston and Round Rock, and are expected to generate approximately $200 million in annualized revenue.

Michigan-based Penske Automotive Group Inc. is an international transportation services company, operating retail automotive dealerships, Hertz car rental franchises and commercial vehicle distribution.

Read more at PRNewswire.

Edinburg Vipers strike $50M home 


EDINBURG - A $50 million 115,799-sf arena will be constructed off I-69 on Alberta Rd. Once completed, the arena, whose anchor tenant will be the RGV Vipers, will feature 8,500 seats and 2,400 parking spaces.

The arena will provide the local economy with a $96 million increase during the construction stage and $45 million annually once it’s operating.

The arena is expected to be completed by 2015, but the team plans to honor the reminder of their contract with State Farm Arena, which will keep them there for the next three years.

The Vipers have played at the State Farm Arena since their foundation in 2007, and are currently champions of the NBA Development League.

Read more at Your Valley Voice.

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission residential permits Oct. 2013: RGVP 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION AREA - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its October 2013 residential building permit data for the area. Below is a sample of the entire report.

City YTD 2013 YTD 2012
Residential Building Permits*
McAllen $51,088,854 $64,919,757
Edinburg $49,077,239 $45,127,399
Mission $33,778,796 $29,465,427
Pharr $20,774,784 $19,692,072
Weslaco $10,669,255 $10,012,122
San Juan $5,520,830 $6,850,998
Hidalgo $5,404,150 N/A
Mercedes $3,055,170 $1,788,391
Alamo $2,994,265 $3,183,619
Donna $1,492,575 $1,909,492
Roma $1,386,796 $3,690,000
Total $185,242,714 $186,639,277

* Listed in descending order based on YTD 2013 values

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission commercial Oct. 2013: RGVP 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its October 2013 commercial building permit data for the Rio Grande Valley. Below is a sample of the data.

City YTD 2013 YTD 2012
Commercial Building Permits*
McAllen $70,132,571 $94,577,057
Mission $66,947,202 $10,528,097
Pharr $59,651,120 $81,161,237
Edinburg $57,127,034 $47,121,558
San Juan $34,880,576 $1,926,000
Alamo $18,027,194 $24,021,348
Hidalgo $20,291,210 N/A
Weslaco $12,818,950 $3,747,088
Mercedes $5,748,005 $2,307,733
Roma $900,000 $1,000,000
Donna $890,708 $805,000
Total $347,414,570 $267,195,118

* listed in descending order based on YTD 2013 values

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

Pharr, Donna businesses expand operations  


PHARR, DONNA - Bebo Distributing Inc., located at 1413 W Military Hwy. in Pharr, will expand by 20,000 sf to include cold rooms and other facilities, according to Jimmy Garza, director of operations. Construction is scheduled to begin early in 2014 and should be completed by August 2014.

Bland Distribution Services, located at 2243 North Goolie Rd. in Donna, has finished a project that expanded its facility to 100,000 sf, 75,000 sf of which is refrigerated. The estimated cost of construction was $1.1M, according to state filings.

In addition, Bland added custom packaging to the services it offers its customers, according to general manager Nick Sanchez.

Read more at The Packer, Bebo Distributing Inc. and Bland Distribution Services.

School's in: $196M approved for new RGV university 


EDINBURG, BROWNSVILLE - The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved $196 million from the Permanent University Fund for a new regional university and medical school in South Texas. The new university represents a merger between the University of Texas at Brownville (UTB) and the University of Texas-Pan American.

A new $70 million science building in Edinburg will feature about 120,000 sf of research labs and classroom space for students studying biology, physics, chemistry, math, pre-med and environmental studies.

A $54 million, 140,000-sf academic building in Brownsville will house classes being conducted in space leased from Texas Southmost College, which had a partnership with UTB until last year. The regents also funded $18 million for the acquisition of several buildings and facilities owned by Texas Southmost College.

The new university is expected to enroll its first class in fall 2015.

The 88,000-sf South Texas Medical Academic Building in Edinburg will be devoted to teaching facilities for first- and second-year medical students. The building will include an auditorium, digital library, clinical skills center, preclinical laboratories and an anatomy teaching facility. The first medical school class is expected to enroll in summer/fall 2016.

Read more at The Monitor.

Junior’s Supermarket opens in Alton  


ALTON, HIDALGO COUNTY - Junior’s Supermarket, located at the corner of Alton Blvd. and Main Ave., has opened its doors and will create approximately 100 new jobs. The estimated cost of construction was $3.7 million, according to state filings.

Amenities of the new store include a restaurant and rental spaces that currently hold T-Mobile, Hello-Kitty merchandise shop, nail salon, jewelry store and IBC bank.

“This type of development is actually what we have been working so hard for,” said Mayor Salvador Vela. “Like a pebble in a still pond, this will create a ripple effect for the entire community.”

Read more at the Mission Progress-Times.

Teleperformance speed dials Edinburg with 400 new jobs  


EDINBURG - Teleperformance will add 400 new positions to its 28,000-sf location at 1701 S. Closner Blvd. The company signed a ten-year lease at the facility, which currently has more than 700 employees.

Plans call for a 24,000-sf expansion to add another 350 work stations, for a total of 800.

Renovations are already underway and the company is ready to add to their workforce before the end of 2013, according to Miranda Collard, USA President of Operational Delivery. The new positions will focus on customer service, billing and product support for a large consumer products company.

Edinburg holds one of the lowest unemployment rates in Hidalgo County and the state at 7.3 percent, and a workforce of over 34,000.

Teleperformance is a global customer service, technical support, call center, debt collector and social media.

Read more at the Valley Town Crier.

Palmhurst H-E-B spice rack big in Texas 


PALMHURST - H-E-B has opened its new 97,000-sf store at 120 E. Mile 3 Rd. The estimated cost of construction was $6 million, according to state filings. The store brought 235 new jobs to the area.

“We have the largest spice section in the state of Texas,” said Gracie Villarreal, H-E-B Palmhurst unit director. Additionally, the store pharmacy will feature a home delivery system within ten miles with orders of two prescriptions or more.

The store is powered 20 percent with solar energy and 80 percent electricity. “We’re looking at how we can help the consumer in this area,” said Villarreal.

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

Edinburg's $3.5M Women’s Corner underway  


EDINBURG - The $3.5 million Women’s Corner at Edinburg Regional Medical Center is under construction with completion set for January 2014.

The facility will include six labor and delivery rooms, 13 post-partum rooms and a 12-bed nursery. It will bring in 35 new jobs and the staff anticipates 800 deliveries for the first year.

Additionally, it will be the only Valley facility partnered with a dedicated children’s hospital.

“The Valley’s population is growing at a steady rate of 5.9 percent, anchored in the North McAllen/Edinburg area. We have listened to our community leaders who have said it is time for medical services in Edinburg to keep up with the rapidly growing population,” said Jennifer C. Garza, CEO of Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital.

Read more at Your Valley Voice and Edinburg Regional Medical Center.

Elsa: H-E-B here everything is better 


ELSA - H-E-B has opened its new 43,000-sf store located at 512 E. Edinburg Ave. The estimated cost of construction was $8.67 million, according to state filings.

The new store will create 62 new jobs and employ 172 people.

Expanded offerings include a bakery and deli, a drive-thru pharmacy and a business center. Additionally, retail space adjacent to the store will be available for lease.

H-E-B will donate a total of $34,000 to the Elsa Public Library, Edcouch-Elsa ISD, the City of Elsa and its volunteer fire department.

Read more at The Monitor.

McAllen Walgreens brings $2.3M 


McALLEN - The Walgreens property, located at 2300 Pecan Blvd., has been sold for $2.284 million. The 13,029 sf building, fully leased to Walgreens, sits on a 1.57-acre parcel near South Texas College.

The seller was an East Coast institution and the buyer was a private Midwest based investor.

Walgreens has five years of lease term remaining on an original 25-year lease.

Read more at Real Estate Rama.

McAllen flies nonstop to San Luis Potosi, Mexico 

(10/23/2013 7:00:00 AM)

McALLEN - Aeromar will offer direct flights from McAllen International Airport (MFE) to San Luis Potosi, Mexico (SLP). Flights will depart out of MFE to SLP on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with enhanced seasonal service during the Easter and Christmas vacation periods.

The flights will begin in November 2013, with one way fares starting at $230. The route of the 46-passenger ATR 42 airliner will provide additional service to Mexico City.

“Our expanding network, combined with our business investment shows our commitment to working alongside McAllen International Airport to bring international travel options to the Rio Grande Valley and to making McAllen International Airport a truly international gateway,” said Fabricio Cojuc, Aeromar executive VP chief planning and commercial officer.

“This partnership has led to simple and safe alternatives for our communities in the Rio Grande Valley to connect with family and/or business in Mexico,” said Steve Ahlenius of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

Palmview awarded $31.5M for wastewater treatment 


PALMVIEW, HIDALGO COUNTY - Some $31.5 million in Texas Water Development Board financing will help residents get their first wastewater treatment system.

The Agua Special Utility District received approval for the funding to construct a system to provide wastewater treatment to 3,000 residents in the city.

Out of the total $31.5 million awarded, $1.8 million is a loan, $365,000 is loan forgiveness from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $29.3 million is a grant from the Economically Distressed Areas Program.

The utility district will also receive an additional $8 million grant from the North American Development bank to include toward the project.

Currently, Palmview residents have septic systems, which are small scale sewage systems with no connection to main pipelines.

The money is expected to become available in March 2014 and construction for the project will begin during the summer 2014, according to Francisco Flores, Agua SUD district manager. The entire project is expected to be completed by early 2016.

Read more at The Monitor.

McAllen: $3.6M to expand Public Safety Building 


McALLEN - The City Commission has approved a nearly $3.6 million expansion of the McAllen Public Safety Building located at 1601 North Bicentennial Blvd. The project will include a 15,800-sf addition and the renovation of nearly 13,600 sf of existing space.

The Public Safety Building was completed in 2003 for an estimated construction cost of $8 million, according to state filings. The building holds the McAllen Police Department and city Municipal Court.

The two-story addition includes an auditorium-style “roll call room” and additional space for the department’s crime scene investigation unit. New offices for sergeants and lieutenants, training areas and conference rooms will occupy the remaining space.

Construction, expected to take about 340 days, will start in December 2013 or early January 2014, said City Engineer Yvette Barrera.

Read more at The Monitor.

Edinburg, Vipers sport shelter in $7.5M facility  


EDINBURG - The City of Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers have broken ground on a new $7.5 million, 84,000-sf sports and wellness center at 315 E. Palm Dr. Construction is expected to take six to eight months.

The current 20,000-sf Edinburg Parks and Recreation center will be torn down along with the South Park baseball fields to be replaced with the new facility, which will contain:

• multiple basketball courts;
• gymnasiums;
• dance studio;
• boxing gym;
• game room; and
• a computer room.

Most of the funding will come from the city and Edinburg Development Corporation (EDC) while being leased out to the Vipers. About $1.8 million will come from federal funding, as the facility will also be utilized as a dome shelter for natural disasters.

The Vipers’ coaches will office out of the facility, but the organization’s business staff will remain at their current offices in McAllen. The facility will also have three restaurants, according to Gus Garcia, EDC Director.

The Vipers are a National Basketball Association Development League team who won their second championship last season. The Houston Rockets have control of the D-League team’s basketball operations while local ownership retains control of the business.

Read more at The Monitor.

Weslaco announces Walmart Neighborhood Market 


WESLACO - A new 41,000-sf Walmart Neighborhood Market will be constructed at the corner of Texas Blvd. and 18th St. The store will employ 95, and is expected to open in summer 2014.

The Economic Development Corp. will be providing the store $150,000 worth of incentives. The store will be the first Neighborhood Market in the area and the first south-side grocery in Weslaco.

“Walmart’s placement of a Neighborhood Market in south Weslaco positions it closer to our southern neighborhoods including Progreso, Progreso Lakes, and the Progreso International Bridge, which creates a more expansive economic footprint,” said Joe A. Martinez, Economic Development Corporation of Weslaco Board Member.

Read more at The Monitor and the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation.

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area residential permits 2013: RGVP 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION AREA - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its August 2013 residential building permit data for the area. Below is a sample of the entire report.

Residential Building Permits*
City YTD 2013 YTD 2012
McAllen $41,549,393 $51,577,651
Edinburg $41,041,541 $37,035,258
Mission $18,521,763 $24,645,349
Pharr $16,429,707 $16,001,196
Weslaco $9,046,480 $7,994,130
San Juan $4,682,471 $4,933,442
Hidalgo $3,670,770 N/A
Mercedes $2,617,305 $1,528,521
Alamo $2,314,965 $2,934,325
Roma $1,280,796 $2,740,000
Donna $1,003,575 $1,909,492
Palmview $395,000 $662,112
Palmhurst $120,000 $3,973,000
Total $142,673,766 $155,934,476

* Listed in descending order based on YTD 2013 values

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission commercial permits 2013: RGVP 


McALLEN, EDINBURG, MISSION - The Rio Grande Valley Partnership has released its August 2013 commercial building permit data for the Rio Grande Valley. Below is a sample of the data.

Commercial Building Permits*
City YTD 2013 YTD 2012
Mission $61,139,200 $9,259,540
McAllen $60,476,066 $81,086,927
Pharr $55,548,498 $8,070,394
Edinburg $47,789,683 $24,277,368
San Juan $34,880,576 $1,826,000
Alamo $17,885,793 $500,148
Weslaco $10,427,000 $3,747,088
Hidalgo $4,896,690 N/A
Mercedes $4,243,505 $2,157,733
Donna $590,708 $805,000
Roma $150,000 $1,000,000
Total $298,027,719 $132,730,198

* listed in descending order based on YTD 2013 values

Source: Rio Grande Valley Partnership

McAllen’s Neuhaus top-to-bottom renovation starts 


McALLEN - Cielo Realty Partners has begun renovations on the 239,000-sf, 17-story Neuhaus Tower located at 200 South 10th St. The Hidalgo County Appraisal District values the Neuhaus Tower and surrounding nine-acre property at $9 million.

Built by McAllen State Bank, the 33-year-old Neuhaus Tower has offices that have not been renovated since the 1980s. “We’re long-term owners,” said Managing Partner Rob Gandy. “So we want to go in here and really invest the capital that is needed to last another 10-15 years.”

Three floors — the 15th floor (formerly occupied by L-3 Communications) and the 17th floor (which housed the Tower Club restaurant) remain unoccupied. Overall, tenants occupy about 73 percent of the building.

Austin-based Cielo Realty Partners purchased the Neuhaus Tower from Brookfield Asset Management, a Toronto-based company in July 2013.

Read more at The Monitor.

See previous story McAllen's Neuhaus Tower goes to Austin buyer.

$10.4M flows to Edinburg for plant upgrades 


EDINBURG - The City of Edinburg has been awarded $10.425 million to expand the existing West Water Treatment Plant located at 1752 South Mon Mack Rd.

The treatment plant’s capacity is currently 8 million gallons per day, and the newly allocated funds will allow the city to increase capacity by 8 million gallons more.

“This is an exciting day for Edinburg. This loan will allow us to meet our current water demand for the more than 82,000 residents of Edinburg and welcome future growth both residential and commercial,” said Mayor Richard H. Garcia.

Some expansion features include:

  • a 2 million gallon ground storage tank;
  • two bulk storage tanks;
  • a filter building and gallery;
  • a sludge dewatering building; and
  • a maintenance building.

The West Water Treatment Plant is one of two the city owns and operates. The Downtown Plant has a capacity of 10 million gallons per day.

Read more at the Valley Town Crier.

McAllen industrial snapshot: 1Q 2013 

(9/16/2013 10:00:00 AM)

McALLEN - South Texas Commercial Real Estate has compiled an overview of McAllen's industrial market for first quarter 2013. Here's a taste of what you will find in the full report under industrial in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Market Data Sources.

McAllen MSA Industrial Market Overview
Statistics Industrial
Total SF 14,729,582 SF
Vacancy rate 11.78%
Under construction* 175,000 SF
Standard Class A/B rent rate** $0.28 to $0.32/SF/month
Standard Class B/C rent rate** $0.25 to $0.28/SF/month
Net absorption -133,101 SF
Gross absorption YTD*** 259,257 SF

*Includes speculative construction, owner-occupied construction, and build-to-suit for lease construction.
**Average Lease Rate (NNN Lease) will vary based on size and quality of building, location of building, lease term, financial strength of tenant, and improvements required by tenant.
***Includes all buildings leased, vacant buildings sold and build-to-suit to own or lease.

Source: South Texas Commercial Real Estate

See the full 1Q 2013 report.

For McAllen area news, see McAllen NewsTalk Texas.

McAllen: Harbour splashing fun planned 


McALLEN - The Harbour, a 19-acre waterside entertainment development, located near the intersection of I-2/Expy. 83 and Bentsen Rd., has broken ground. Amenities of the development will include a 40,000-sf family entrainment complex, a four-story hotel and restaurants surrounding a lake.

Hurricane Alley, the family entertainment complex, will be the main attraction. The complex will include a 22-lane bowling alley, laser tag, billiards and “an elevated ropes course,” according to the company.

Grupo Feruan, the developer, acquired the 14-acre property in May 2012, according to Hidalgo County Appraisal District records, which estimate the land’s market value at nearly $3.3 million.

The McAllen City Commission authorized economic incentives for Grupo Feruan USA by offering a ten-year property tax agreement on the development’s lake and family entertainment complex, according to Keith Patridge, McAllen Economic Development Corp. CEO.

The deal also included a sales tax rebate agreement, which takes effect when the entertainment complex’s taxable sales hit $4 million. Other incentives include half-off the building permit and job creation incentives, said City Manager Mike Perez. Additionally, McAllen also agreed to fill the lake.

Construction on The Harbour’s major attractions should be completed by July 2014, but construction of individual restaurants, retail and office locations may continue until 2016, according to the development’s traffic impact analysis.

Read more at the Monitor.

Walmart Supercenter hits Hidalgo shelves in 2014 


HIDALGO - The first Walmart store in the City of Hidalgo is expected to open in summer 2014 near the intersection of South Jackson Rd. and West Dicker Dr. The 36.93-acre lot’s market value is nearly $1.3 million.

The 182,000-sf Hidalgo Walmart Supercenter will feature a full line of groceries as well as a bakery, delicatessen and fresh produce, dairy, meat and frozen food sections.

The store also brings new career possibilities to the area with approximately 300 jobs. The average wage for regular, full-time hourly associates in Texas is $12.68 per hour.

Read more at Your Valley Voice and The Monitor

Listen to Podcast 186...for this story and more!

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