January 25, 2013

Message from the Chief Executive Officer

My 4 year old son, Joseph, had “show and tell” at his school today. As you can imagine, four-year olds don’t usually make presentations, and thus find this type of activity difficult. For his assignment, Joseph took his 1st place soccer trophy to school. He also donned his soccer uniform, complete with shin guards, to round out his presentation. Even though we talked about what he would discuss, it was more of a question and answer session than an actual presentation. Joseph mentioned that his team, the “Superstars” went undefeated during their summer season. His teacher says he did a good job of explaining the trophy and the reason for his success. Well, I guess that’s all relative.

Some of us had the pleasure of watching another “show and tell” on Friday as well. Mayor Boswell made his annual State of the City address during the Harlingen Rotary Club luncheon at The Reese. Unlike my son’s presentation, we heard a polished and succinct report on many of the accomplishments the City has enjoyed in the past year. We also heard about the great opportunity that we have in supporting the merger of UTB, UTPA and the RAHC into a new world-class university with a medical school. Let’s hope that our state legislators all join together to make this proposal a reality that will create unparalleled economic opportunities for South Texas.

If you were looking for our newsletter last week, I just want to let you know that the flu struck the Garza household like it never had before. Two of my little ones got the flu, as did my wife and I. So, with all of that ugliness hanging around, writing was too much for this scribe last Friday.

There’s much going on in economic development this week and next. We had a visit earlier this week from Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, SBA’s Regional Administrator. She hosted an economic development roundtable at the Harlingen SBA office attended by HEDC, San Benito EDC, La Feria’s city manager Sunny Philips, Cynthia Sakulenski with the Valley’s Hispanic Chamber, John Stossi with UTB and a few others. Ms. Olivarez reviewed some of SBA’s programs and mentioned that her agency and others such as the Department of Commerce stand ready to help businesses grow. If you know of someone who is interested in learning more about the SBA’s programs or how other federal agencies could help expand a business’s markets, we’ll be glad to help make the connections.

In case you didn’t know, Harlingen EDC has teamed up with Accíon Texas, a non-profit lender, to assist local small businesses with loans up to $50,000. Accíon handles all the applications, including underwriting, while we provide an interest rate buy down subsidy to qualified applicants. Typically, interest rates are at about 12.5%, but with our buy down participation, a qualified borrower could end up paying as little as 2.5% interest on a loan. Our office can assist applicants in the process and is ready to provide additional information for interested parties.

HEDC and the developers at Cameron Crossing are working diligently to open up some additional property within Cameron Crossing, nearing completion of some environmental clean-up on-site. The developers tell us they are also preparing to do some additional landscaping which will help beautify some of the main entrances to the property. We are also nearing completion of the Bass Pro Shops boat storage facility, and will soon be preparing to complete the last segment of the parking area for Bass Pro Shops. AT&T’s new store is also nearing completion and should be open within the next 30 days or so.

Another project soon to begin at Cameron Crossing is a new hospitality development. More on that in the near future.

As the Mayor mentioned during his address, commercial construction activity has increased tremendously in the past year here. Expect that trend to continue as other prospects we have been working with will soon be making announcements.

We will have our next Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 pm at The University Center. Other activity coming up includes Rio South Texas Economic Council’s Annual Meeting next Wednesday. Next week’s newsletter will provide you with more details on those meetings and more.

Finally, the RGV Partnership’s Legislative Tour is in full swing this weekend. Aside from visiting the RAHC earlier this week, the Tour will stop by some other Harlingen spots including a tour of TRP’s facility in our industrial park tomorrow.   We’ll be there tomorrow at 2:30 PM.

Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Upcoming Events

  • January 24-27, 2013 – RGV Partnership Legislative Tour


  •  Jan. 26, 2013 – Duke Energy turns on the turbines in Willacy County


  • January 29, 2013 –  HEDC Board of Directors’ meeting


  • January 30, 2013 – RSTEC Annual Meeting in McAllen



  • MD&M West – Feb. 12-14 in Anaheim

News from around the Harlingen area and beyond

Manufacturing Building Available for Lease or Sale

710 N. Commerce Street

+/- 31,000 SF space with offices, air-conditioned warehouse/mftg space, near rail and highways.  Call the Harlingen EDC office for more information at 216-5081.