Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Harlingen has land for Valley medical school

Harlingen has land for Valley medical school
By Lynn Brezosky - Express-News Web Posted: 03/30/2010 4:58 CDT

HARLINGEN — This city's hopes of hosting a full-scale medical school in the Rio Grande Valley got a boost Tuesday when Mayor Chris Boswell announced a 35-acre land donation to site the facility.

The announcement accompanied a California consulting firm's presentation of a strategy to expand the Regional Academic Health Center, an arm of the University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio, into a campus where the Valley's first new class of doctors could graduate as early as 2021.

Some 800 UTHSC-SA students have completed their third and fourth years at the RAHC since it opened in 2002.

The RAHC has two buildings in Harlingen in addition to research branches at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg and the University of Texas-Brownsville. It is part of a growing medical complex in Harlingen that includes two hospitals, a veterans care center now being expanded and a comprehensive health clinic.

Read more

Manufacturing Jobs Alive and Well Here, Says Rio South Texas Economic Council

Press Release
Manufacturing Jobs Alive and Well Here, Says Rio South Texas Economic Council  03.31.10, 09:27 AM EDT

EDINBURG, Texas, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. That's what Rio South Texas has in more plentiful supply than most U.S. cities. In fact, recently ranked McAllen and Brownsville the 3rd and 4th fastest growing job markets in the United States, respectively. Manufacturing jobs are front and center stage.

To ensure continued job health, the 21 economic development members of the Rio South Texas Economic Council (RSTEC) are collaborating to compete on the world stage to bring new manufacturing jobs to the region.

"We know what manufacturers want, and Rio South Texas delivers the goods," says Alma Colleli, Executive Director of San Benito Economic Development Corporation. "We are ideally located to offer the competitive advantages and global logistics companies are demanding. We have the low wage, skilled workforce in Mexican maquiladoras (assembly plants) across the border. The region also has the infrastructure and multi-modal transportation and distribution systems required to compete in the global market - international bridges, rail, seaport, major highways. We have the industrial parks and land to offer build-to-suit solutions. Finally, Rio South Texas has the capital, research base, favorable taxes, incentives and low cost of doing business in a business-friendly area that offers great quality of life."

Extensive research has uncovered six core industry segments that RSTEC will be targeting:
-- Auto manufacturing & suppliers...

Read more 

Perryman: McAllen Has Been a Great Place to Weather the Recession

Perryman: McAllen Has Been a Great Place to Weather the Recession

McALLEN, March 30 - When considering the best place destined to weather the current recession, there is no place better than McAllen, according to renowned economist Ray Perryman.

As the keynote speaker at the city's 2010 Economic Forecast Summit on Tuesday morning, Perryman gave his predictions on how the region will fare as the recession moves into the recovery phase.

“You couldn't find a better state to be in than Texas during something like this, you can't find a better city to be in than McAllen at this time,” Perryman told summit attendees. “That's not to say there haven't been hardships like job losses, but on virtually every truth that is right in evaluating cities and how they did, McAllen is somewhere in the Top 5 best cities to weather this whole situation.”

Tantamount to the region's success in the current downturn include some early net job growth, steady employment, and a “healthy set” of banks, Perryman said. The region has also piqued the interest of companies, who are looking for an ideal place for low-cost production.

“Companies are becoming absolutely obsessed with cost control in the economy, and that makes us more attractive in a lot of areas. So, we are forecasting growth over the next term,” Perryman said. "

By the numbers, experts at the summit predicted that jobs in border MSAs will likely grow from 1 to 4 percent in 2010 as a forecasted improvement in electronics and auto manufacturing will stimulate job growth along the border. Job growth in Texas will likely...

Read more

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Texas banks lending more

Texas banks lending more
Borrowers shunned by national banks finding funds here

Austin Business Journal
By: Christopher Calnan ABJ Staff
Friday, March 19, 2010  Modified: Monday, March 22, 2010, 12:00am CDT
Bucking the national trend, Texas banks continued to increase their lending levels during 2009 compared with 2008. Industry observers point to Texas’ stronger economy combined with the state’s mortgage restrictions as enabling banks to maintain lending levels during the recession.

Texas’ 629 banks reported $247.1 billion in loans and leases last year versus $233.5 billion during 2008 and $229.1 billion during 2007, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Nationally, total loan and lease balances declined to $7.2 trillion during 2009 compared with $7.8 trillion in 2008 and $7.9 trillion in 2007.

The nationwide decrease is being attributed to several factors, including federal requirements that mandate banks to keep more cash on hand than previous years.

The increased activity in Texas is a positive if it was prompted by business expansion, but not if it was caused by increased credit card debt, industry experts said. The FDIC doesn’t break down the type of lending that has occurred, but local bankers indicate that much of the increased activity is the result of businesses coming to Texas banks after being shunned by national giants.

Lending levels are important to the state because they fuel growth — enabling businesses to expand and residents to complete projects such as building new homes or starting new businesses, said John Heasley, general counsel for the Texas Bankers Association.

Locally, high oil prices and banking regulations adopted in Texas following the real estate bubble of the late 1980s and early 1990s largely muted the recession’s effects. Those regulations, coupled with the Lone Star State’s diversity of business sectors, are contributing to the strong lending position, Heasley said.

“We’re still very strong in our fundamentals,” he said. “For a major state, we have the healthy economy and healthy environment for borrowers and lenders.”

Last year, U.S. banks...

Click here to read more

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little Known Area One of Nation's Largest Regions

Little Known Area One of Nation's Largest Regions

Region is 3rd Largest Market in Texas and 23rd Largest Market in United States

EDINBURG, Texas, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- What region of the United States straddles two countries, has a total population of 2.3 million, is the 8th fastest growing area in the U.S. and is located within 150 miles of 10 million people? What is being described here is Rio South Texas, the largest U.S./Mexico border region that is also among the country's largest metropolitan areas.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rio South Texas is the 23rd largest market in the country. The region encompasses the four southernmost counties in Texas – Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy – along with the cities of Reynosa, Matamoros and Rio Bravo in Tamaulipas, Mexico. The market is not quite as large as Pittsburgh, but bigger than Portland/Vancouver.

Rio South Texas is also the third largest market in Texas, behind Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington and Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, respectively 4th and 6th largest MSAs in the United States.
The Cities of Rio South Texas

The major U.S. cities of Rio South Texas include: Brownsville, the region's largest city located at the very southernmost tip of Texas; Harlingen, which is roughly 25 miles north of Brownsville; and McAllen, located some 35 miles to the west of Harlingen. The region also includes the Gulf of Mexico beach resort city of South Padre Island and a number of other communities such as San Benito, Port Isabel, Weslaco, San Juan, Pharr, Edinburg, Mission, Roma and Rio Grande City.

Reynosa, just across the border from McAllen with a population of 750,000, is the largest Mexican city in the region. Rio Bravo lies in the center of the regional border and has a population of about 84,000 and Matamoros, just south of Brownsville is home to 423,000. All of these cities are in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

"What's interesting is that few people know about this area, which happens to be not only one of the largest population centers in the country, but also a fast-growing business hub," said Keith Patridge, President of the McAllen Economic Development Council. "The Rio South Texas Economic Council (RSTEC) is charged with first – getting this huge area on the map in terms of awareness, and second to tell our story about why this is a viable region for locating anything from a small business to a global manufacturing facility."

To promote the collective assets of the region, RSTEC was formed in 2008. Representing all economic development interests in the region, the 21 RSTEC members are collaborating to attract private sector investment, economic diversification and business expansions in six core industry segments.

Click here to view online article

Media Contact:
Sofia Hernandez
Toll Free Line: 1-888-RSTEC01 (888-778-3201)
Direct Line: 956-607-1197

SOURCE Rio South Texas Economic Council

McAllen economy recognized — again

McAllen economy recognized — again

March 23, 2010 9:56 PM
Sean Gaffney
The Monitor

McALLEN — Greater McAllen has topped another list for economic performance, this time as the only U.S. metro area among the nation’s 100 largest to register net job growth since the onset of the recession.

McAllen area employment grew 0.7 percent...

Click here to read more

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

McAllen economy ranked among nation's strongest by Brookings Institution

McAllen economy ranked among nation's strongest by Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution - March 2010 MetroMonitor
March 17, 2010

The McAllen area ranked among the 20 strongest-performing metropolitan economies in the nation during the last three months of 2009, according to a study to be released today by the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C.

Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and Dallas-Fort Worth also ranked in the top 20 in economic performance among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, according to the institution's MetroMonitor barometer.

Click here for full report

Mayor Cortez, supporters lobby for youth park expansion, sale of Westside Park

Mayor Cortez, supporters lobby for youth park expansion, sale of Westside Park
McAllen voters will decide in May special election

March 16, 2010 9:13 PM
Nick Pipitone
The Monitor

McALLEN — Mayor Richard Cortez and several supporters urged voters Tuesday to approve two separate ballot propositions that would usher in big changes to the city’s parkland and change the city’s tax rate for the first time in over a decade.

McAllen voters will decide in a May special election whether the city should issue $35 million worth of bonds to build a youth baseball and softball complex, expand the city’s lone youth soccer complex, build a giant new tennis center and renovate Municipal Park.

A second proposition will authorize...

Click here to read more

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NAI Rio Grande Valley's own Mike Blum weighs in on the importance of border infrastructure and why it is crucial to the growth of McAllen/Reynosa

NAI Rio Grande Valley's own Mike Blum weighs in on the importance of border infrastructure and why it is crucial to the growth of McAllen/Reynosa
McAllen Economic Development Corporation

Building up the infrastructure between the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and Northern Mexico has long been a goal for citizens and public officials. Even with the recent opening of the Anazalduas International Bridge, the fastest growing area on the U.S.-Mexico border faces challenges, in part to the burgeoning population.

Mike Blum, former city planner for the City of McAllen and current partner and managing broker for NAI Rio Grande Valley offered his insight and opinion on “Building Up Border Infrastructure.”

Click here to hear the full report from the Ron Whitlock Reports show.

New Owner for 'Empire State Building of the Valley'?

New Owner for 'Empire State Building of the Valley'?
The Brownsville Herald

HARLINGEN (Brownsville Herald) – Some call it “the city’s biggest eyesore.” Others say it’s the Empire State Building of the Rio Grande Valley.

But the 81-year-old Blaschka Tower has survived three hurricanes and served as a fallout shelter in World War II. And now the nine-story, mostly vacant structure may get a new owner.

Grupo Ayusa, a Brownsville-Matamoros development company, has approached owner Wayne Blaschka and the city about purchasing the 40,000-sf building.

Officials said the group wants to rename it Centennial Tower and use the top two floors for its own office. Grupo Ayusa also plans to turn the first floor into a restaurant or café and lease the remaining floors as office space.

Downtown District board member Bill DeBrooke said it would cost about $4 million to clean and inspect the inside of the building to make it inhabitable for business.

Click Here to Read More from The Brownsville Herald

Tyco flows into $20M expansion in Harlingen - Rio Grande Valley, TX

Tyco flows into $20M expansion in Harlingen
Harlingen Economic Development Corporation

(Harlingen) - Tyco Flow Control plans on a multimillion dollar investment to add a 33,000-sf expansion and additional equipment to its 80,000-sf facility. The expansion could bring the total investment in the Harlingen facility to nearly $20 million.

Tyco Flow Control currently employs 120 people with plans for over 50 new jobs with the expansion.

Construction will commence as soon as plans are complete and the estimated new jobs are planned to be added within one year of occupancy.

The expansion will allow Tyco Flow Control to provide four product brands including industry-leading valves and controls, services, and other solutions, to customers in more than 60 countries.

“Harlingen has always been a productive location for Tyco Flow Control,” according to Ed Rushing, vice president of operations. “The continued positive business climate of Harlingen and work by the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation helped us to decide to expand our Harlingen facility.”

Source: Harlingen Economic Development Corporation

88,000-SF Boys & Girls Club of Los Fresnos construction

88,000-SF Boys & Girls Club of Los Fresnos construction
The Brownsville Herald

(Los Fresnos) - The Boys & Girls Club in Los Fresnos should have a new 88,000sf home at Memorial Park by April.

The new complex will cost about $1.4 million. A full-sized gym is part of the first phase of construction. The next stages will add more offices, an exercise center and storage space.

The new space will allow better service to the city’s student population of a little more than 9,000 children.

Click Here to read more from The Brownsville Herald

Mixed-use space under construction in Brownsville

Mixed-use space under construction in Brownsville
The Brownsville Herald

Retail options near the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB-TSC) campus are expanding. University Plaza, a 6,000-sf shopping mall between Burger King and Expy. 77/83 on University Blvd., is under construction and should be open by late March.

No tenants have signed leases yet, though a restaurant should be among them, according to Claudia Ayarzagoitia, an agent for Southern Commercial Real Estate Group, which is leasing the mall for the developer, Servicios Integrales de Arrendamiento LLC of Matamoros.

The development includes office suites as well.

The development sits on 1.4 acres inside Brownsville’s historic overlay district. An additional 2,000 sf of the parcel probably will be developed after the initial phase is finished, and could include another small restaurant.

Click Here for more from The Brownsville Herald

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NAI Global Named Global Broker of the Year

NAI Global Named Global Broker of the Year
By Private Equity Real Estate Magazine

The readers of Private Equity Real Estate (PERE) magazine named NAI Global the Global Broker of the Year in the PERE Awards 2009.

“Each year, the readers of PERE magazine and nominate and choose the firms, individuals and deals they believe stood out from the crowd the previous year,” said Zoe Hughes, Senior Editor, Real Estate. “2009 was a year in which the private real estate investing world experienced a tremendous amount of turmoil, so to be selected in this year’s awards is a tremendous accolade from our readers and a vote of confidence in what lies ahead for NAI Global.”

“This award is a testament to the quality and commitment of NAI Global and its professionals around the world in serving the private equity and financial sectors,” said Jeffrey M. Finn, NAI Global President & CEO. “Looking ahead, we will continue to innovate and add value with focused service offerings like our Special Asset Solutions group or the Commercial Property PowerSale™ program, to deliver exceptional results for clients around the globe.”

NAI Global offers a wide range of services for the commercial real estate investment sector, including asset management, acquisition/disposition, property management, leasing/agency services, valuation and advisory, market analytics, auction and portfolio optimization. The Global Broker of the Year award from PERE serves as recognition that NAI Global is the best at identifying and anticipating a client’s investment and brokerage needs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Santana Textiles receives $10M loan to build plant in Edinburg

Santana Textiles receives $10M loan to build plant in Edinburg
Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 3:48 PM CST
The Edinburg Review
Full Article

AUSTIN -- Santana Textiles has been awarded a $10 million, 15-year loan for its upcoming Edinburg facility, State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, announced on Monday.

The award comes from the Texas Product Development Fund, a Texas fund administered by the governor through the Texas Economic Development Bank, and funded by bonds issued and backed by the state.

Loans made available through the Texas Product Development Fund may be used for working capital, machinery, equipment, and fixtures. Awards range in size from $500,000 to $10 million. Hinojosa praised the award as a continued investment in South Texas' economic generating capacity.

"In the past year, South Texas has seen sizeable investments in our transportation infrastructure, health care service delivery systems, and institutions of higher education,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “This latest award to Santana maintains our momentum. Edinburg and the entire Rio Grande Valley stand to benefit from the jobs and service contracts Santana will bring to the region. The Texas Product Development Fund chose well in awarding a loan of this size to our fast growing county."

In July 2008, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans to invest $1.65 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to assist Santana in building the denim manufacturing plant in Edinburg. But a significant size increase of the plant, by more than 200,000 square feet, coupled with an economic recession in 2008 left city officials and Santana representatives scrambling to finance the project in four phases.

The project had been delayed for nearly a year and half before high level discussions with Perry in Austin in December finalized the project for construction. Meetings with the Governor focused on production details, global economics, market share, labor costs, transportation costs, and economic stability, according to attendees present at the meeting. Among those in the series of meetings were Santana representatives, Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia, Texas Economic Development Bank CFO Michael Chrobak, Michael Bryant, an assistant general counsel in the Governor’s Office, and Jerry Haddican, from state Sen. Hinojosa’s Austin office.

Santana, a denim fabric manufacturer with operations in Brazil and Argentina is expected to create 800 jobs and bring $80 million in new investment. Construction of their proposed 500,000 square foot complex is slated to begin this spring, and will be completed...

Full Article

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Commercial Real Estate: Hey, Save a Piece of Stimulus Pie for Me!

Commercial Real Estate: Hey, Save a Piece of Stimulus Pie for Me!
NAI Global - Knowledge Center

Following a year that saw the near meltdown of the banking system and the sweeping impact of a global recession, 2010 could shape up to be a better year for investors, though perhaps not as robust as some would wish. According to “Ordering Your Slice of the Stimulus Pie,” the latest podcast produced by John B. Levy & Co., the new year has ushered in an uptick in market activity for commercial real estate investors, putting some in a position to secure stimulus bailout dollars.

Levy, a former columnist for Barron’s and NREI for 23 years, is the founder of real estate investment banking firm John B. Levy & Co. based in Richmond, Va.

Watch Video

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Proposal to Jump-Start Commercial Real Estate Markets with Benefits for Investors & Lenders

ICSC Community Real Estate Investment Proposal Gains Traction
Serving the Global Retail Real Estate Industry
Full Article

ICSC is moving forward with a proposal that was unveiled before the ICSC Board of Trustees last month and is presenting it to Capitol Hill as an incremental solution to the current credit crisis in commercial real estate. On February 11 the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program reported that between 2010 and 2014 about $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans will reach the end of their terms and nearly half are “underwater,” meaning the borrower owes more than the property is worth, we believe the timing of our proposal is critical.

ICSC’s plan provides temporary tax incentives to attract new equity to existing commercial real estate projects. The incentives include accelerated depreciation on the investment and deduction of losses without being subject to passive loss limits.

ICSC's proposal is designed to attract new equity capital to commercial real estate, with the requirement that at least 80% of the new invested capital be used to pay down commercial bank loans of existing projects, thereby reducing the excessive debt ratios that threaten the commercial real estate and banking sectors, as well as the broader economy. If enacted, this concept will not only assist ICSC's largest segment of members (small and medium private owner/operators) but also community and regional banks and Main Street businesses around the country. According to the Oversight Panel’s report, it is these small and mid-sized banks that may bear the brunt of coming losses on commercial real estate loans. The report found...

Full Article