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Rio Grande Valley Commercial Real Estate Growth is Happening

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Claudia Ayarzagoitia, Retail Source Real Estate

Growth. It is occurring all across the Rio Grande Valley. From the residential sector to the retail development industry, regional statistics indicate there is an overwhelming boom in the Valley. The rise in the region’s population and the increasing number of yearly visits from Mexican nationals, among other factors, are contributing to the boom.

The Rio Grande Valley commercial real estate industry has seen steady, consistent growth over the last two years. National retailers looking to incorporate themselves into the local economy or expand their existing business include Main Event Entertainment, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Dave & Busters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, HomeGoods, Chick-fil-A and Walmart.

Local and international retailers including Super Cream Restaurant & Bakery, Kurai Sushi Buffet, and Dona Tota are also expanding in the region.

Other entities helping to spur growth in the commercial real estate industry are the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) campuses in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville, and a number of large investment retail projects in the upper and mid-valley including the development of the 8,500-seat Bert Ogden Arena in Hidalgo County.

Impact of UTRGV
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is less than two years old and boasts more than 2,300 employees on multiple sites. In addition to the two main academic campuses in Edinburg and Brownsville, the university system also utilizes a campus in Harlingen at the UTRGV Regional Academic Health Center. This office serves the university’s administration staff, led by Dr. Guy Bailey, president of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The university’s growth stretches from one end of south Texas to the other as it acquires commercial real estate property. Mercedes is home to a new 12,000-square-foot facility that will house the Knapp Family Practice Residency Program, a partnership between the university and the Knapp Medical Center.

This partnership and residency program has also attracted a new 120-bed nursing facility, which will be constructed near the residency program facility. These two projects will create hundreds of employment opportunities for the construction and operation of each facility.

Another university growth project is the UTRGV School of Medicine. This project alone is set to increase the commercial real estate acreage of the largest university in the region. This branch of UTRGV will feature multiple learning sites, including one site in Edinburg, one in Weslaco and one in Harlingen. In addition, it will bring more future physicians into the region, which will require housing. This too will bring the possibility of new businesses, requiring the purchase of commercial real estate property owned by the spouses of the physicians.

Growth Abounds
The commercial real estate industry is in a prime state right now in the Rio Grande Valley, offering opportunities for major retailers to come in to the market and service the region’s growing population. In addition, it is an opportune time for local and international retailers to stake their claim on the region’s market.

Claudia Ayarzagoitia is a broker for Retail Source, a commercial real estate brokerage firm based out of McAllen. The firm specializes in retail site selection, ensuring the most potentially profitable and visible retail areas in south Texas. The company’s website is www.retailsourcere.com.

— This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Texas Real Estate Business.

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