September 23, 2013

Message from the Chief Executive Officer

As I sat in our living room watching the UT-Kansas State game this past Saturday, my three little ones were playing with a good mix of toys. Some of their toys include Legos. If anyone has experience 2, 4, and 5 year olds playing with Legos, one knows that they don’t really build the models as they are supposed to. They build things based on their imaginations. Out of the big pile of Legos, with lots of potential, the kids build a few good “toys” to play with. The rest of the Legos, with all the potential to be much more than they are separately, wait for another time to get picked up and put to play.

Harlingen is in the process of updating its comprehensive plan, as I hope you all know. During this process, many great ideas will be laid out. Some of those ideas may be more popular than others and will probably make the plan. The rest of the ideas, although full of potential, may have to wait, until we “play” again. So goes the planning process. Lots of great potential, but only the really good “toys” make it to the play area.

With that, I’ll say that if you want to play, you have to contribute to the pile! As part of the Harlingen community, we all have a duty to lay out all our “Legos” and see what comes together. Then we should all be prepared to play with those ideas that stand out. And play with these “toys” to their full potential.

The “playing” or planning starts now! The kickoff event for the comprehensive plan starts this week. Be sure to get involved. You can visit the Facebook page here and be sure to “LIKE” the page. You can also visit the City’s website for more information on the entire process and keep up with the progress on twitter.

Don’t misunderstand me, the comprehensive plan is by no means a child’s game or toy. It is a guide to future growth of our community, and HEDC is very happy that the City is undertaking this worthwhile project.

In other EDC news:

Our budget for the upcoming fiscal year was approved by the EDC Board and the City Commission. It’s an exciting program of work that lies before us and we are eager to see many of the projects we have been working on come to fruition.

Burlington Coat Factory opened its doors with a very nice ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, September 20th. I was glad to see that Burlington Coat Factory wasted no time in getting involved in the community by donating three huge pallets of merchandise to the Family Crisis Center. Another great site was the parking lot full of vehicles and the store getting some great foot traffic.

Aside from Board meeting and City Commission meetings, we also hadmeetings with the Harlingen Manufacturers’ Association (HMA) and the Harlingen Industrial Foundation, Inc. (HIFI) in the last two weeks. Ramiro Aleman and the rest of the HEDC staff lend our support to these two organizations that have a vital role in helping us promote industrial development in Harlingen.

Leadership Harlingen has a new class and began their course of work with Industry Day this past week. Participants in the class toured facilities for United Launch Alliance, Fed Ex, and others. They also heard from HMA and HIFI, and from HEDC. It was a pleasure and honor to address this fine group of young community leaders.

Also on the speaking circuit, Ramiro Aleman made a presentation to theFreedom Club from Texas Regional Bank, discussing our program of work, future and existing projects, and more.

There was also a site tour for a manufacturing company very interested in locating in Harlingen this week.

HEDC is also moving on to Phase II of AEP’s Site Certification program. After submitting information on the Harlingen Air Park, a 450-acre development on the east side of Valley International Airport, we were selected as a viable candidate to become a certified site by McCallumSweeney, a nationally-renowned site selection consulting firm based in South Carolina. A site visit from the consulting firm is scheduled in early November. This process is one way to gain additional recognition for our community. Industrial sites with all entitlements (zoning, utilities, other infrastructure) in place can have a huge advantage over other potential industrial sites because they can save valuable time for users seeking to build new facilities. HEDC is working with VIA staff to gain this certification, and to promote the Air Park.

AEP is also planning an economic development forum for the region next month. I will be part of a panel discussing regional economic development efforts.

Bechtel, one of the largest construction companies in the world, is the general contractor for the power plant project to be located east of the Air Park just of FM 509. We’ve been in several meetings with representatives from Bechtel and Workforce Solutions and TSTC discussing the labor requirements for the construction of this $500 million + project. The construction phase of the La Paloma Power Plant is expected to last about three years. In that time, over 600 construction workers will be needed to build the plant. Salary levels for these jobs are much higher than the prevailing County wage. This project is expected to have a huge impact on Harlingen beginning at the end of this year.

Lyle Garza is wrapping up the construction of the Bass Pro Shops boat storage area, and continues to work on the development of the approximately 2.1 acres of land that will complete the Bass Pro Shop project. Lyle is also completing work on our marketing program for the new fiscal year. We have some ideas on how we will be expanding on our “Come Home to Harlingen” campaign. Stay tuned for more details on that campaign.

Lyle is also working on preparations for our next retail trade show in Dallas in November. The Texas Dealmaking and Conference sponsored by ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) provides us with opportunities to promote our retail sites to potential retailers, restaurants, and developers from throughout Texas and the US. HEDC will be exhibiting at that show and we welcome any Harlingen broker or developer to join us in our booth as we push for increased retail activity to complement the existing retail base.

Finally, HEDC is doing its part in the development of the medical school as we help welcome UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to Harlingen this week.

Have a great week, and continue to build those “Legos” into ideas that will help propel Harlingen to the next level!

  • Upcoming Events
  • September 24, 2013 – HEDC Board of Directors’ Meeting at City Hall at 5:30 PM


  • September 25, 2013 – Comprehensive Plan Kickoff and Reception at City Hall at 4:30 PM


  • October 4, 2013 – RSTEC meeting to interview PR firms for potential campaign


  • October 6-9, 2013 – International Economic Development Council’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA


  •  October 10, 2013 – RGV LEAD’s Career and Education Expo


  • November 7-8, 2013 – International Council of Shopping Center’s Texas Dealmaking & Conference in Dallas

If you have any other events that you’d like for us to post on this newsletter, send us anemail with some information!

News from around the Harlingen area and beyond

With new challenges, hopes of Valley residents hinge on regional medical school

Valley cities on the rise for solar energy projects

Why small businesses and nonprofits can no longer ignore mobile (Video)

Boeing to close California facility by 2015

Former Foley’s exec criticizes downtown retail plan

Walgreens shift in health coverage called ‘tip of the iceberg’


Manufacturing Building Available for Lease ProLogis bldg 

Valley Industrial Park Building 1

1805 North Loop 499, Suite 110

Harlingen, TX 78550

72,000 Total SF available

24′ minimum clear height

and much more.  Call the Harlingen EDC office for more information at 216-5081.