NewsTalk Texas

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission

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

(9/11/2014)

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.

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

(9/8/2014)

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.

RGVP McAllen-Edinburg-Mission permits: July 2014 

(9/8/2014)

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

Walmart Neighborhood Markets check out the Valley 

(9/4/2014)

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 

(9/4/2014)

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 

(9/2/2014)

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” 

(8/25/2014)

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 

(8/22/2014)

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 Glassdoor.com.

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 Glassdoor.com.

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? 

(8/15/2014)

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 

(8/12/2014)

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
SF
Vacant
SF
Vacancy
Rate
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 

(7/16/2014)

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 

(7/9/2014)

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 

(7/1/2014)

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 

(6/18/2014)

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 

(6/10/2014)

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

McAllen Paradise Village fetches $4M 

(6/3/2014)

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.

CBRE: McAllen industrial market 1Q 2014 

(6/3/2014)

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

(5/20/2014)

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 

(5/20/2014)

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 

(5/1/2014)

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 

(4/25/2014)

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 

(4/25/2014)

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 

(4/9/2014)

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. 

(3/31/2014)

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
2013
YTD
2014
Chg.
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 

(3/18/2014)

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 

(3/7/2014)

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 

(3/5/2014)

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.

RGVP McAllen area commercial permits Jan. 2014 

(3/4/2014)

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

Fly from McAllen to LA for $99 

(3/4/2014)

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.

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 

(2/26/2014)

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 

(2/21/2014)

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 

(2/21/2014)

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 

(2/20/2014)

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 

(2/18/2014)

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 

(2/7/2014)

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 

(2/3/2014)

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 

(1/31/2014)

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 

(1/31/2014)

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 

(1/28/2014)

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.

Read more at FreshFruitPortal.com.

Rio Grande Valley enplanements 2013 

(1/24/2014)

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 

(1/23/2014)

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 

(1/9/2014)

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 

(12/19/2013)

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 

(12/18/2013)

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 

(12/17/2013)

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 

(12/12/2013)

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 

(12/3/2013)

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 

(11/27/2013)

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 

(11/27/2013)

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  

(11/26/2013)

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 

(11/25/2013)

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  

(11/20/2013)

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  

(11/15/2013)

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 

(11/13/2013)

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  

(11/4/2013)

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 

(11/1/2013)

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 

(10/27/2013)

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 

(10/21/2013)

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 

(10/16/2013)

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  

(10/8/2013)

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 

(10/4/2013)

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 

(10/1/2013)

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 

(9/30/2013)

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 

(9/20/2013)

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 

(9/20/2013)

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 

(9/16/2013)

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 

(9/5/2013)

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!

Edinburg pops with Cinemark Movie Bistro  

(8/29/2013)

EDINBURG - Cinemark Holdings Inc. will open the company’s first Cinemark Movie Bistro in Edinburg on August 30. The new, six-screen theater is located at 2001 W. Trenton in the Trenton Crossroads Plaza.

This will be Cinemark’s first combination dinner-and-a-movie venue in the Rio Grande Valley.

Cinemark purchased the site in November 2010 that was originally to open as an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in 2007, but was never completed. Cost of renovating and remodeling the theater were estimated at $800,000, according to state filings.

Although Cinemark is leasing about 70,000 sf in the Trenton Crossroads Plaza, there is still about 70,000 sf left to lease out. The Cinemark theater will serve as the anchor for the plaza.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal. Listen to Podcast 185...for this story and more!

McAllen retail boom strikes $22M 

(8/28/2013 10:00:00 AM)

McALLEN - The City of McAllen has partnered with The Retail Coach, a national retail expansion and development consulting firm. Recent permits show a beginning investment of $22 million in about 36 new businesses that have opened or are under construction.

Leading the way in the investment is a $6 million Hawthorn Suites, currently under construction, and a $3 million office retail complex called The Grove.

Currently, more than 1.3 million people reside in the retail service area, and McAllen is also a shopping destination for residents of Monterrey and other major Mexican cities.

The city is in a long-term strategy to develop its western corridor from the McAllen Convention Center west to Taylor Rd. with new office complexes, hotels, restaurants and retail stores, and the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

Horns orange sweet with Rio Grande Valley university 

(7/23/2013)

BROWNSVILLE, EDINBURG - The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg signed to merge with the University of Texas at Brownsville in Cameron County. A major boon to come with the merger is a regional medical school that officials point to as transformational.

The University of Texas at Brownsville and UT-Pan American will create a new University of Texas institution.

An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 new jobs are expected to be created through this "South Texas Project." Average salaries will be $60,000 — much higher than what most in the Valley currently earn.

The Board of Regents unanimously approved a $44.8 million deal in Brownsville that allows the UT System to buy and exchange property with the University of Texas at Brownsville’s neighbor, Texas Southmost College (TSC).

UT regents asked no questions when it came to the eight parcels of land in the deal with TSC. Three different leases — a total of up to $3.6 million — were also approved for Brownsville property on Alton Gloor Boulevard, Price Road and downtown on Madison Street.

Read more at the Brownsville Herald and The Monitor.

HOLT CAT facility breaks ground in Edinburg 

(7/22/2013)

EDINBURG - HOLT CAT Equipment and Engine dealer started construction on its new 38,000-sf building, which will be a state-of-the-art parts, rental and full-service center. The structure is valued at $7 million.

The new store location will be the anchor facility for the area and is expected to open in second quarter 2014. Currently, there are more than 70 HOLT employees in the region and once the store comes online, HOLT anticipates adding up to 25 high-paying jobs to the total Rio Grande Valley count.

“Today’s expansion of our operations in Hidalgo County we hope will help to facilitate growth in the community,” said Allyn Archer, HOLT CAT’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “With the future development of Interstate 69 and other planned construction, we look at these stores to be an investment for the next 30 to 40 years.”

Read more at the Edinburg Review.

McAllen's Neuhaus Tower goes to Austin buyer 

(7/17/2013)

McALLEN - Neuhaus Tower, a 17-story, 242,693-sf office has sold. Brookfield Asset Management sold the Neuhaus Tower — McAllen’s tallest building — to Austin-based Cielo Realty Partners.

The 33-year-old tower, located at 200 South 10th St. in McAllen’s central business district, is now about 70 percent occupied. The Class A property is leased to multiple tenants and is anchored by JPMorgan Chase Bank.

Read more at The Monitor.

Edinburg building for a retail boom 

(7/16/2013)

EDINBURG - More than 50 retailers opened up shop in the city during the past year with a similar number projected for this one. Edinburg has been actively engaged in courting retailers for years.

It scored its first major project with the development of the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, the shopping center at Trenton and US 281 that is now the base of the city's sales tax activity.

While the Shoppes is planning a 90,000-sf expansion later this year, it’s now part of a larger trend of development within the city.

Walmart announced it would open a third Edinburg location next summer near the intersection of Expressway 281 and Canton Road. With its development, Edinburg joined McAllen and Brownsville as the only Valley cities with three or more Walmarts.

Starbucks is planning its first two locations in the city with one store off Jackson and University and another at Trenton and US 281, licensing records show.

Chick-fil-A is planning a store across from the university, and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is opening restaurants near the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley and near University Drive and McColl Road.

Gus Garcia Jr., the newly appointed executive director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corp. comparing his city to Frisco, the rapidly growing suburb north of Dallas, Garcia said Edinburg is a "well waiting to be tapped" by retailers.

Paul Rodriguez, CEO of Valley Land Title Company, said Edinburg’s rapid development is helped by its evenly distributed population growth — with retail and commercial activity spread throughout the city — and its access to assets such as the University of Texas-Pan American, an expanding medical community and the future Interstate 69 corridor.

See The Monitor for the entire story.

Puck flies to Killer Bees Rio Grande Valley 

(7/2/2013)

HIDALGO - The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees are returning to the State Farm Arena and will begin play in the North American Hockey League 2013-14 season.

The $20 million State Farm Arena features 6,800 seats, 25 suites, and 500 club seats. The property also includes 2,200 surface parking spaces on site, a 2,000-sf lounge, a 1,000-sf bar, and a 300-sf pro shop at 2600 N. 10th St.

“As we continue to solidify and strengthen our footprint in the South, the Rio Grande Valley and communities of Hidalgo and McAllen have established themselves as those that can fully support an NAHL team,” said Mark Frankenfeld, Commissioner of the North American Hockey League.

“The puck’s going north and if people get in our way we’re going to go through them,” Coach Joe Coombs said. “These are young men, they’re not boys. They all have hair on their chest. It’s going to be a great brand that we feel can work monetarily.”

In the South Division, seven teams will compete: the Amarillo Bulls, Corpus Christi IceRays, Odessa Jackalopes, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Texas Tornado, Topeka RoadRunners and Wichita Falls Wildcats.

The NAHL is the oldest and largest junior hockey league in the United States, with 24 teams representing 13 states.

Junior hockey is 20 and under for better hockey players (they aspire to play college and/or pro) than high school and club teams.

Earlier this year, the North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced that the Wenatchee Wild were relocating their membership to Hidalgo.

Read more at the The Monitor, Junior Hockey.com and the City of McAllen. See more news at NewsTalk Texas.

McAllen airport halfway through $28M expansion 

(6/26/2013 1:45:00 PM)

McALLEN - Work on McAllen-Miller International Airport’s $28 million terminal expansion project, which will add 55,000 sf and overhaul existing space, recently passed the halfway mark.

The two-year project remains on schedule for completion next March, said Airport Director Phil Brown.

As part of the project, construction workers knocked down the terminal’s south wall and built a temporary partition. They will move the wall farther into the terminal within the next few months, temporarily reducing the waiting area for passengers, said Kristi Taylor-Salinas, the airport’s properties and compliance manager.

McAllen-Miller will have a larger terminal with more post-security food options, new seats with outlets to recharge electronic devices and a family restroom. It will also add a gate, allowing McAllen-Miller to handle six planes.

Extra space will allow the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint to handle crowds by opening an additional screening lane.

Along with construction work, D&M Coffee will open a presecurity food and beverage kiosk and a post-security gourmet coffee bar.

Since 2002, passenger boarding numbers had steadily increased, according to Federal Aviation Administration data. Enplanements at McAllen-Miller peaked in 2007, when about 413,000 people boarded flights.

When the recession hit, enplanements dropped sharply and continued falling for the next five years. In 2011, about 332,000 people boarded planes at McAllen-Miller, according to the latest numbers from the federal agency’s website.

Read more at The Monitor.

LA calls on Hidalgo's Tres Puentes industrial for $8.6M 

(6/14/2013)

HIDALGO - The 313,120-sf Tres Puentes Distribution Center, located at 1501 International Blvd., has been sold to BH Properties LLC for $8.6 million.

“This marks our second property in the submarket (with the prior purchase in McAllen). We will look to add to our border holdings in Texas, Arizona and California over the next two years,” said Executive Vice President and general counsel of BH Properties Steve Jaffe.

BH Properties LLC is a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate investment firm.

Read more at PRLog.

Edinburg’s Las Violetas to blossom with new owner 

(6/13/2013)

EDINBURG - Ruben Gutierrez Construction Inc. has sold the 96-unit Las Violetas Apartments at 2102 Elisa Ln.

The unit mix is comprised of one-bedroom/one-bath units and two-bedroom/two and one-half bath units for a total of 88,132 rentable sf. The complex is situated on 7.2 acres

Read more at GlobeSt.com.

Pharr produce park ripens with $11M 

(6/11/2013)

PHARR - The 90-acre Pharr Produce District located near Military Highway and Cage Blvd. has broken ground and will soon hold subdivided lots for distributors after an $11 million city investment.

The development is a strategy to get produce distributors to settle in Pharr before a federal permit allows the competing Anzalduas International Bridge to begin crossing truck traffic in 2015.

“This is going to become one of the biggest things we have ever done as far as bringing people from Mexico,” said Mayor Leo Palacios.

Engineering and subdividing the land has been slowly underway since 2012, but now that construction is beginning, the project is expected to be finished in late 2013 or early 2014. It involves putting in streets, utilities, and drainage for 31 lots where distributors will build their own cold storage areas.

The project also involves a partnership with neighboring Bebo Distributing, which donated about nine acres to the city to provide an easement and drainage ditch for the park and will be able to tap into the infrastructure there. The company also indicated plans to be one of its first builders.

“Our goal is to recover 100 percent of the cost of this project within five years,” Finance Director Juan Guerra said. “But if the crossings increase then the city wins in the long run, whether the cost is recovered or not.”

Read more at The Monitor.

Routes will help riders to cross Valley 

(6/6/2013)

McALLEN - Valley residents will have more transit options available beginning in September 2013 when Metro Connect begins service, providing express transit among McAllen, Brownsville, South Padre Island, and the University of Texas-Pan American.

The routes will be serviced by Valley Transit Company, making the project a public-private partnership featuring municipalities leveraging $313,222 in local funds to pay for the nearly $1.9 million project.

Construction has ended at McAllen’s Central Station and at Brownsville’s La Plaza, connecting the two, along with South Padre Island, will be the next step.

Design work is continuing on South Padre Island’s new transit hub, which SPI Transit Director Jesse Arriaga said will be multimodal and feature a transfer station.

The green line connecting McAllen to UTPA will cost 50 cents for students and $1 for other riders. The red line will take passengers between McAllen and Brownsville for a $5 fare and will include connections to Valley Transit’s Harlingen terminal.

The blue line, which will run between South Padre Island and Brownsville, will make stops at the Brownsville SPI International Airport as well as downtown, and will be a free service.

The express routes will run 365 days a year, and will feature free Wi-Fi service.

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

Donna North HS to open $52M doors in fall 2013 

(6/4/2013)

DONNA - Donna North High School with 321,000 sf is scheduled to open in the fall 2013. It has a capacity of 2,500 to 2,700 students, according to Ernest Lugo, president of the Donna Independent School District Board of Trustees.

The $52 million project, which also includes an athletic complex, is situated on a 96-acre site.

Functional areas of the new high school will include 52 general classrooms, business labs, science labs, fine arts classrooms, an auditorium and stage, a library, a competition gymnasium and locker rooms, an auxiliary gymnasium, special education classrooms, an administration area, a kitchen and a central plant.

PBK is the architect of record for the project and Skanska USA Building Inc. is the construction manager.

Read more at The Monitor and Donna ISD.

Donna luxury RV resort acquired by Florida buyer 

(5/30/2013)

DONNA - A South Florida-based investment partnership has purchased Palm Shadows Resort located at 200 N. Val Verde Rd. for $6.5 million while also taking out a $4.5 million loan.

The luxury RV resort is a 450-unit gated community and features an 8,000-sf clubhouse with stage and dance-floor, billiards room, pool and a lounge that offers free entertainment several nights a week.

With its warm weather, lack of state income tax and relatively low cost of living, Texas, much like Florida, has become a haven for retirees —Texas boasts a considerable number of RV resorts that cater to retired individuals.

Read more at PRWEB.

Rio Grande Valley commits to clean future 

(5/22/2013 6:45:00 AM)

EDINBURG, LA FERIA - Republic Services Inc. has dedicated a state-of-the-art landfill and transfer station to meet the Rio Grande Valley's waste needs for the next 100 years.

The new La Gloria landfill, located in Edinburg, is a highly-engineered facility and was designed as a safe, environmentally sound system for waste disposal.

The 2037-acre landfill replaces Republic's Rio Grande Valley Landfill in Donna that was filled to capacity.

With an estimated life of more than 100 years, La Gloria will serve the entire Rio Grande Valley. Both the landfill and transfer station will accept material from residents, contractors, third-party waste haulers, as well as from Republic's local operations.

Permitted material includes municipal solid waste, liquids, green waste and special waste.

The La Feria transfer station, located in La Feria, is a 14,000-sf facility that also will serve the Rio Grande Valley.

Transfer stations are conveniently located sites that receive solid waste, consolidate loads and optimize hauling to disposal sites. Efficiency in the number and capacity of loads traveling to a landfill means controlled costs and less air pollution because fewer trucks are required to travel those distances.

Waste from the La Feria transfer station will be hauled to the La Gloria landfill.

Read more at PRNewswire.

Alton: City on the grow 

(5/21/2013)

ALTON, HIDALGO COUNTY - With a new fire station on the way and several new franchises, Alton is living up to its slogan: City on the Grow.

Construction plans have passed the City of Alton Planning Department processing stage for a new McDonald’s. The location will be on Alton Blvd. The first franchise business in Alton arrived in 2013 with the opening of the Golden Chick on Adams St. and Alton Blvd.

Two months later, a Subway restaurant opened in the city off of 5 Mile Line.

Other local businesses include El Pedregal, a Mexican restaurant located in the same shopping plaza as the Subway on 5 Mile Line at the Alton City Centre.

A new Junior’s Supermarket property has already poured the foundation and installed plumbing. Assistant City Manager Steve Peña said the public will be able to see walls going up soon.

The new businesses, local and franchise, are creating more jobs, which Peña believes is helping the city grow at a steady rate. He said it has spurred a multitude of multifamily housing construction.

In 2010, the population for Alton stood at 12,315. Peña estimates a current population of 15,000.

There is also expansion of city facilities. Last month, Alton broke ground on a new fire station south of Alton City Hall.

The fire station project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

Read more at the Progress Times.

800,000 SF goes in McAllen, El Paso buy 

(5/9/2013)

McALLEN, EL PASO - Sixteen buildings totaling more than 800,000 sf in McAllen and El Paso have been acquired by Hager Pacific Properties. Hager Pacific acquired the distressed assets from CIII Capital Partners for approximately $17 million in an all-cash transaction.

Of the 16 properties in Hager Pacific’s new portfolio, 11 are in McAllen, ranked seventh in CNN’s 2012 list of fastest growing cities in the U.S.

Meanwhile, El Paso is a strategic location where warehouses are primarily used to either store raw materials bound for the Juárez maquiladoras or store outbound finished products.

Hager Pacific is now one of the largest industrial real estate owners in the El Paso and McAllen markets, and continues to pursue industrial investments priced at $3 million and greater throughout the United States.

Read more at Marketwired.

Listen to Podcast 171 for this story and more!

Edinburg Sugar Road units underway 

(5/8/2013)

EDINBURG - Ground has been broken on the first phase of Villages at Sugar Road. The property, located just west of US 281, fronts Sugar Rd. near Alberta Rd. and is fairly close to University of Texas-Pan American.

The initial phase, consisting of approximately 168 units, is slated for a January 2014 completion.

Villages at Sugar Road also has two commercial pad sites that could accommodate at least a 3,000-sf commercial or retail building. Addison-based RightQuest is developing the property on behalf of JTMR LLC.

Read more at GlobeSt.com.

Mission Dollar General sold in twofer 

(5/7/2013)

MISSION - Two build-to-suit Dollar General stores located in Mission, Texas, and Sullivan, Missouri, have been sold to American Realty Capital Trust V Inc.

The purchase price of the properties was $2.2 million, exclusive of closing costs, and the properties were purchased at an average capitalization rate of 7.7 percent.

The Dollar General stores contain 18,126 rentable sf.

Read more at PRNewswire.

Impact of Mexican shoppers: $5.1 billion 

(4/30/2013)

RIO GRANDE, EL PASO, BEXAR COUNTY - Mexican nationals are coming to Texas and causing an economic impact, according to IBC Bank, Visa Inc., the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos.

Mexican nationals spent more than $5.1 billion in 20 border counties in 2011 and 2012.

Mexican shoppers spent more than $850 million in Hidalgo County in 2012, the highest of any county in the study.

El Paso, Webb and Bexar counties, were next on the list. Mexican national spending in El Paso County in 2012 was just under $450 million.

Cameron County ranked No. 5 among the 20 counties, with Mexican nationals spending roughly $225 million in 2012.

An estimated 49 percent of transactions are conducted with cash, for instance. Visa card purchases, however, represent 29 percent of spending by Mexican nationals.

Spikes in Mexican national spending coincide with heavy travel periods: the Christmas holidays, Easter and summer vacation. The research was conducted by SABER Research Institute, an economic development think tank that is an alliance between the San Antonio chamber and St. Mary’s University.

Read more at The Brownsville Herald.

Listen to Podcast 170 for this story...and more!

Mission: 325,000-SF manufacturing facility coming 

(4/17/2013 10:33:00 AM)

MISSION - Royal Technologies Corporation has chosen to expand its operations in Mission after acquiring 12 acres in the Mission Expressway Business Park.

The company plans to break ground on a 325,000-sf, Class A manufacturing facility in April and expects to have the facility complete by early 2014. The expansion will create a minimum of 100 jobs.

In April 2012, Mission-based Hi-Tech Plastics and Michigan-based Royal Technologies formed an alliance to better serve the region, combining Hi-Tech Plastics custom molding and Royal Technologies’ advanced engineering and manufacturing services serving industries as diverse as automotive, furniture, and consumer products.

In December 2012, Royal Technologies acquired Mission-based Hi-Tech Plastics with the intention of increasing their facility, employment, and production in Mission.

Royal Technologies employs approximately 900 employees throughout the U.S, not including the 85 included in the acquisition of Hi-Tech Plastics or the 100 new jobs that will be created later this year.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

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