Friday, April 30, 2010


News Release


Harlingen, TX—April 30, 2010--Bass Pro Shops, America’s most popular outdoor store, continues its retail growth with the announcement they will open their 57th destination outdoor superstore in Harlingen, Texas. The store will be from 130,000 to 150,000 square feet and will be the signature anchor for the Cameron Crossing retail development to be located at intersection of U.S. Expressways 83 and 77. The store is tentatively scheduled to open late second quarter or early third quarter 2011.

“There is no other retailer in America like Bass Pro Shops,” stated Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell. “Their one-of-a-kind destination retail stores attract an average of 3 million people a year to each store. Typically, when Bass Pro Shops comes to a city they attract more businesses which create more jobs, more taxes and a better community. We are thrilled they chose to be a part of our great city.”

The decision by Bass Pro Shops was the result of over two years of efforts by the Harlingen City Commission, the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation and the developers of Cameron Crossing. “Harlingen is the perfect location from which to serve South Texas and northern Mexico,” according to Armando Elizarde, president of the Harlingen EDC. “Cameron Crossing, with Bass Pro Shops as the anchor, will transform Harlingen,” Elizarde concluded.

Bass Pro Shops stores are a combination of museum, art gallery, aquarium, outdoor education, conservation and entertainment. Each store is uniquely themed to the region in which they are located so that no two stores are alike.

“We are excited about locating one of our Outdoor World destination stores in the Rio Grande Valley to better serve our many customers in the region,” said Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. “Harlingen is a terrific regional location for a store that will highlight the great heritage and outdoor traditions of the families and visitors to the area.”

The Harlingen store will offer outdoor enthusiasts 3 ½ football fields of shopping excitement with the area’s largest selection of equipment and clothing for hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture.

An expansive boat showroom will feature Tracker, Nitro, Mako and SunTracker boats built by Tracker Marine Group—the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats. A boat service center will also be available.

Unique exterior and interior motifs have branded Bass Pro Shops as visually appealing, high quality outdoor stores. The outdoors is brought indoors with massive log and rock work, large aquariums and water features stocked with native fish species, along with an extensive collection of museum quality fish and wildlife exhibits. Historic photos, artifacts, and memorabilia will pay tribute to the Rio Grande Valley’s great outdoors heritage.

Award-winning in their concept and design, Bass Pro Shops retail stores are rated as top tourist destinations. Well over 100 million people visit their stores annually. Widely recognized for their efforts in conservation and outdoor education, Bass Pro Shops stores also offer Outdoor Skills Workshops for adults, kids and families.

Bass Pro Shops, known for hiring associates that have a passion for the outdoors, is expected to employ approximately 300 people, many of whom will come from the local region. Employment information is available in the career opportunities section of

About Bass Pro Shops Group:

Bass Pro Shops Group-56 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 100 million people annually, international catalog and internet retailing, American Rod & Gun wholesale division selling to over 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide, Outdoor World Incentives also selling Bass Pro Shops gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America and a restaurant division with 26 locations.

For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.

Tracker Marine Group – Manufactures and sells Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly, and Mako boats through Bass Pro Shops retail stores and over 400 dealers worldwide. For more information go to

Resort Group – Big Cedar Lodge and other resort properties including restaurants and golf course. For more information go to,, or

Contact: Larry Whiteley (417) 873-5022

Katie Mitchell (417) 873-5618

Jenna Kendall (417) 873-5059

Bill Martin (956) 245-1303


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ridge Property Trust Leases Over 200,000 Square Feet Of Space To Tenants At Facilities In The Mcallen/Reynosa Area

Ridge Property Trust Leases Over 200,000 Square Feet Of Space To Tenants At Facilities In The Mcallen/Reynosa Area
McAllen, Texas, Apr 27, 2010 ( via COMTEX) --

Ridge Property Trust, a private REIT specializing in industrial property development and management, today announced leasings totaling 218,812 square feet, including recently signed Andrew Corporation and Karlee Company at the company's properties at Sharyland Business Park in McAllen, TX.

This comes on the heels of significant leasing activity in 2009 of 78,500 square feet to ProTrans International and ProTrans Reynosa at Ridge facilities in McAllen, TX and Reynosa, MX.

The Sharyland Business Park, located near the Miller International Airport, serves companies as a logistics hub that allows efficient transportation to and from Mexico, as well as quick access to both Highway 281 and U.S. Route 83. The industrial development is also near the newly opened Anzalduas International Bridge which provides an essential link to and from Reynosa, MX, and further south to Monterrey, MX.

"Ridge Property Trust combines state-of-the-art amenities with ...

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

6th Annual State of Real Estate Forum Draws Large Attendance

6th Annual State of Real Estate Forum Draws Large Attendance
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Edwards Abstract and Title Co. has taken the lead in providing the latest economic data affecting the Valley’s economy. The 6th Annual State of Real Estate was held on Friday, January 22 where almost 230 real estate professionals were in attendance.

The Forum was headlined by national economist Dr. Ted C. Jones, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for Stewart Title Guaranty Company. During his presentation, Dr. Jones informed the group that the McAllen-Mission-Edinburg MSA was one of only 15 out of 366 metropolitan statistical areas that had job growth from November 2008 to November 2009. The McAllen-Mission-Edinburg MSA ranked 6th best in the country out of 366 MSAs across the nation.

Dr. Jones also reported that the according to Campbell Surveys, a division of Campbell Communications, during the first seven months of 2009 an estimated 610,000 homes were sold due to the $8,000 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.

Congressman Ruben Hinojosa was invited ...

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Mike Blum with NAI RGV Comments on the New 5 Story Hotel Being Built in McAllen

New 5 Story Hotel Being Built in McAllen

A new 5 story hotel is being built by local businessmen; its location is possibly one of the most strategic locations in McAllen, easy to get in and easy to get out, close to everything that is important for any traveler. The new Hampton Inn & Suites hotel is being built on the corner of Col. Rowe (2nd Street) and Expressway 83, just a few steps east of the overpass.

The owners are Castle Hospitality locally owned by Larry Fallek, Michael Fallek, Bob Wallace, and Rick Guerra. They also own and operate the Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, Romano's Macaroni Grill, and Tony Roma's in McAllen. In Laredo, they own and operate Embassy Suites, Fairfield Inn and Tony Roma's.

Mike Blum, NAI-RGV managing partner was the one who put together this deal and worked on it for about a year before it became a reality. “These 3 acres of land are in the center of McAllen, along the Expressway, in the heart of the medical center and between the Pharr exit and the Mission exit plus they are surrounded by high-end development and retail shopping. This is one of the most prime real estate pieces left on the Expressway in McAllen,” Blum stated.

Bill Moschel and Jim Moffit were the previous owners and Blum did a Master plan for them back in 1993. They have owned the property for the last 20 years or more. “I think that the fact that this property is owned, developed, built, banked and sold by local people; when you look at the economic multipliers, the strength of the local economy is felt,” Blum stated. He added that this transaction resulted in multiple transactions and became huge so he does not know the number of multipliers in this single transaction.

Rick Guerra is the Vice President of Operations of Castle Hospitality and the management company that runs the hotels and is also ...

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Bass Pro Shop coming to Harlingen?

Bass Pro Shop coming to Harlingen?

A major store chain could make its way to the Harlingen.

Action 4 News received several calls about the possibility of a Bass Pro Shop coming to Harlingen.

Action 4 News contacted Harlingen's Economic Development Corporation CEO Bill Martin and Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell.

Both told Action 4 News they could not discuss the matter. However, Martin did confirm there was a board meeting Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m.

But Martin ...

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Texas home to some of the most successful Foreign Trade Zones

Texas home to some of the most successful Foreign Trade Zones
April 19th, 2010
McAllen Economic Development Corporation

The McAllen Foreign Trade Zone, No. 12, continues to recruit companies and lease industrial space looking to save money and take advantage of 24-hour security and tax benefits. Since 1970, the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone (MFTZ) has aimed “To provide continued customer satisfaction and value driven supply chain management services along with a positive and rewarding work environment.”

A recent report was submitted to Congress regarding the nation’s Foreign Trade Zones. The McAllen Foreign Trade Zone was the first inland port to come to fruition.

To view the full congressional report, click here

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Texas Foreign Trade Zones in the Nation’s Top 10

Texas Foreign Trade Zones in the Nation’s Top 10

Written by Sahnya Shulterbrandt
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:53

This 70th annual report contains details of activities during fiscal year 2008 (October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008), including the dollar value of merchandise moved, a list of the 47 formal orders issued during this time, and the locations, addresses, and contact points of all zones.

Foreign trade zones (FTZs) are secure facilities where foreign merchandise can be warehoused or further manufactured before the payment of customs duties. They are licensed by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board—which is housed within the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration—and operate under the supervision of Customs and Border Protection. The board is required to publish an annual report on its activities under the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934 (19 USC 81a-81u).

Texas Foreign Trade Zone in the Nation’s Top 10 (By value of foreign goods admitted in millions US$)

1. Fort Worth/Alliance $5,357

2. Harris County $3,775

3. El Paso $1200

4. Midlothian/Ellis County $994.9

5. Brownsville $986.6

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Look for Growth in Latin America in 2010

Look for Growth in Latin America in 2010
April 16, 2010

As we roll into the 2nd Quarter of 2010 and see positive numbers and prospects for commercial real estate in Latin America, one may wonder how the region was affected, if at all, during 2009. Well, as I predicted in late 2008, during 2009 Latin America, with few exceptions, did not suffer the full brunt of the global recession caused by the problems in the US and Western European financial markets. Given that Latin American developers do not generally rely upon financing and credit services for their real estate development, the region was saved from the worst of the recession - most real estate projects and capital investments are completed with cash and not with credit. (These characteristics have limited growth historically, allowing demand to fairly consistently exceed real estate supply.) This is a major reason why the credit/financing crisis is not negatively impacting the region as much as in the 1st tier economies; we will not see the distressed properties situation that is occurring in the US. More than a decrease in available financing and credit, the ripple effect of decreased global demand affected the consumer markets in Latin America.

The region overall saw its economic growth rate decrease only about 2.6%. However, those markets that did suffer the most were Mexico (due to its interdependence with the US economy), Venezuela (due largely to the poor macro and microeconomic policies of the current administration) and the Caribbean island countries. This latter group felt the effects rather strongly given that their economies are highly dependent upon tourism; there was a steep decline in international travel and hotel/resort development and investment.

For most of Latin America the recession did not hit them the hardest until the first quarter of 2009, however, by the end of the 3rd quarter the major real estate markets of most countries began to show signs of increased demand and greater rental activity. By the end of the 4th quarter, demand and sales activity definitely showed strong increases and signs of a recovery were obvious. This being said, during 2009 in the region’s major markets, office, industrial and retail activity was still relatively healthy as compared to the larger and more institutionalized markets of the US and Europe. Compared to 2008, absorption decreased as much as 20% depending upon the market. Whereas in the US and Europe, ...

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

March sales best since recession started

March sales best since recession started
STC - Shopping Centers Today Newsletter

Following several months of modest gains, March brought the most promising retail results since the recession began. Same-stores sales rose 9 percent over last March, the strongest month-on-month increase since March 1999, according to ICSC’s index.

Sales rose in all categories, with the luxury segment leading the parade. The luxury sector overall climbed 14.2 percent, with apparel stores gaining 12.8 percent. Discounters enjoyed a 10.7 percent rise and wholesale clubs (excluding fuel sales) rose 3.5 percent.

Women’s fashion retailer Cato was especially strong: up 24.2 percent over last March, and Kohl’s did nearly as well, with a 22.5 percent increase. Drugstores edged up 1.7 percent.

The apparel stars included Limited (up 15 percent), Ross Stores (14 percent) and Gap (11 percent). Among the department stores, Nordstrom did particularly well, with a 16.9 percent showing, followed by Dillard’s (up 9 percent) and JCPenney (5.4 percent). Discount chain TJX saw sales leap 12 percent, and Target rose 10.3 percent.

The weather was a factor, with March 2010 being the warmest and driest in three years, according to Weather Trends International.

“March sales posted a healthy, albeit inflated, increase,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “The earlier Easter — April 4, 2010 versus April 12, 2009 — was a boon to March sales, worth an estimated 4 to 5 percentage points in terms of year-over-year growth. While this calendar shift certainly helped to aggrandize sales, the month’s performance was still very strong, aided in part by seasonally warm weather compared with March of last year.”

ICSC anticipates that April’s year-on-year sales will be flat to negative 3 percent.

Malls at top of life insurers’ shopping lists again

Life insurers will be out shopping in force this year, and retail centers are among the biggest items on their purchasing lists. “We like retail,” said Rick Coppola, head of commercial mortgage investments at TIAA-CREF, whose retail portfolio now stands at $6.5 billion. The firm is looking at major regional malls and grocery-anchored neighborhood shopping centers, Coppola says.

The sentiment is much the same at Prudential Mortgage Capital Co., the real estate investment subsidiary of Prudential Financial. The firm has been looking to finance regional malls and portfolios of cross-collateralized neighborhood shopping centers since last year. “You can do these in fairly large chunks,” said David Twardock, the subsidiary’s president. “Frankly, we were underweighted in malls going into this cycle, because the commercial-mortgage-backed-securities market pushed insurers out of that space, and this was an opportunity get back in and put some high-quality malls on the books.” Prudential Mortgage Capital says it seeks dominant malls with sales figures in excess of $400 per square foot and grocery-anchored shopping centers.

Insurers had the market to themselves through the first six months of last year, but then the equity markets began easing and the competition for REIT deals picked up considerably. “We had some success early last year with the REIT borrowers,” said Rob Little, chief investment officer of Hartford, Conn.–based Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors, real estate investment arm of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. “Then, as the equity markets opened up, the REITs were able to get business elsewhere.” Cornerstone made only a couple of retail center purchases last year but says it is looking for more retail deals this year. “We like the neighborhood shopping centers with consumer-staple stores,” Little said.

“We like regional malls, and we are focused on the top 50 or 75 regional malls in the country,” said Tony Premer, a senior managing director with Pacific Life Insurance Co., Newport Beach, Calif. “These high-quality mall assets will typically be supported by top-notch sponsorship and align nicely with our reputation as a lender that targets loans in excess of $50 million.”

Good times for outlets

Today’s culture of value is having no small effect on outlet centers. Shoppers and retailers that never set foot inside an outlet mall before are doing so now, and faster than one can say “30 percent off.”
Just a decade or so ago, consumers equated outlet malls with a trip to the hinterlands for a hit-or-miss treasure hunt. Today outlets are being built in or near metro areas instead of en route to them, and more full-price retailers and brands are tailoring products to fit into outlet centers, both in the U.S. and abroad.

One of the latest to come to the party is Bloomingdale’s, which announced that it would open four U.S. outlet stores by this fall and still others next year and beyond.

“With growth on the minds of retailers once again, an outlet concept has to be part of the conversation these days,” said Charles Wetzel, president and COO of Fort Worth, Texas–based Buxton, a customer analytics consultant firm. “If you’re not looking at how an outlet store can positively affect your network, you’re not going to be able to effectively optimize your market.”

No surprise, then, that Simon Property Group has paid so much attention to the outlet format. Its purchase of Chelsea Property Group (now Premium Outlets) in 2004, its acquisition of the value-oriented Mills Corp. in 2007 and its pending acquisition of Prime Outlets this spring all provide a buffer against ever-changing consumer spending patterns. Simon’s Premium Outlets properties are outperforming its regional mall portfolio in both occupancy (97.9 percent versus 92.1 percent) and sales per square foot ($500 versus $433). And its Cincinnati Premium Outlets, which opened in August, was one of the few U.S. shopping centers to open last year.

“National retailers are going to continue to look at ways they can diversify their offerings,” said Gregg Goodman, Mills’ president. “The full-price retailers are finding [outlets] to be almost a hedge against economic uncertainty.”

The past few years have seen a gaggle of mainstream retailers go outlet. In February Catherines Plus Sizes said it would open 33 stores at U.S. outlet centers. Lord & Taylor opened its first outlet store that same month, at Jersey Gardens, in Elizabeth, N.J. Talbots opened its first outlet last year and says it sees potential to open as many as 100 more. Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, in Central Valley, N.Y., attracted such newly created outlets as Balenciaga, John Varvatos and Lululemon Athletica, says Michele Rothstein, senior vice president of marketing at Premium Outlets.

Recent openings of brand stores in the Premium Outlet portfolio also include Fa├žonnable, at Jersey Shore Premium Outlets; Marni, at Orlando Premium Outlets; RocketDog, at Camarillo Premium Outlets; and Vera Bradley, at Chicago Premium Outlets.

Over the past three years, outlet store openings of many major retail chains have outnumbered the openings of full-price stores, says Steven Greenberg, head of The Greenberg Group, a real estate advisory firm that has helped several chains and brands develop outlet strategies. The old industry buzzword “sensitivity,” which full-price retailers once used with reference to the potential for a nearby outlet store to cannibalize their sales, “has completely evaporated from industry language,” said Greenberg. “I haven’t heard it in years.”

Five years ago Greenberg’s data showed that 65 percent of shoppers patronized regional malls, 25 percent used outlet centers, and only 10 percent crossed between the two. Today the figures are about 45 percent regional to 35 percent outlet, with a 20 percent crossover.

Texting teens still socialize at malls

That great American teen tradition of hanging out at the mall has taken a backseat to cyber-haunting on Facebook and other social-networking Web sites. So claimed Hot Topic CEO Betsey McLaughlin, at a forum in January. “The place for [teens] to hang out today is the Internet,” McLaughlin said.

Not everyone agrees, however. Chicago-based TRU, a market research firm that studies young people, says the percentage of teens in its surveys who report spending time at malls during any given week stayed fairly consistent between 1996 and 2007. In 2008 TRU stopped inquiring about mall visits specifically, and began asking whether they had gone “shopping for fun” — online or in person — during the week. Last fall 83 percent of respondents said they had, about the same number as the previous fall.

Moreover, teen spending is on the rise again, up 6 to 8 percent year on year, according to NPD Group, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y. Teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch can attest to that, having ended a 20-month streak of falling sales in January with a same-store sales increase of 8 percent.

Mall owners and marketing officials are well aware of the love affair teens have with the Internet. But rather than perceiving Facebook, Twitter and the like as competition, many are using the Internet as a tool to drive traffic to their properties. They are using these sites in a variety of ways, from tweets about sales, special events or new merchandise, to video postings on the latest prom fashions.

“There is a ton of research that has found that teens really live online, and that’s where we are trying to reach them,” said Bridget Jewell, a public relations coordinator at Mall of America. Jewell says Mall of America boasts the largest lineup of teen-oriented retailers of any mall in the country — 75 of them.

Three Macerich-owned malls in the Los Angeles area — Lakewood Center, Los Cerritos Center and Stonewood Center — are promoting themselves on Facebook through a campaign titled Teen Life of Style. The malls created a Facebook fan page as a resource for their teen shoppers. Among other things, the page provides a forum on which a panel of teen-age “experts” discusses fashion, music, shopping and their favorite retailers. “Ultimately, teens really do want to get to the mall, but they just want to be better prepared,” said Heather Stratz, assistant vice president of digital marketing at Macerich.

Even given teens’ fascination with the Internet, they will always be drawn to malls, experts say, because of their desire for face-to-face contact with peers outside a school setting. Teen-agers are excluded from such social venues as bars and nightclubs, of course, but malls are uniquely positioned to be an alternative.

High-school-age girls will forever be loath to pass up the chance to meet their friends at the mall, says Jennifer Black, who heads her own retail research firm in Lake Oswego, Ore. Said Black, “I can’t imagine that on Saturdays and Sundays, girls are going to stay home in front of their computers.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The road to expansion in Brownsville

The road to expansion
April 07, 2010 8:03 PM
By EMMA PEREZ-TREVINO, The Brownsville Herald

The City Commission moved forward Tuesday, authorizing management to enter into a partnership with a group of developers for the West Morrison Road expansion.

City Manager Charlie Cabler said Wednesday that the proposed agreement continues to be fine-tuned. He said that the group of developers that includes attorney Dennis Sanchez and developer Neal Simmons first have to form a tax-exempt non-profit organization, which hasn’t happened yet.

“They need to get that resolved,” Cabler said. “We are trying to enhance the trust level.”

Cabler was not able to say Wednesday if voters would have had to approve the bonds that the city intends to apply toward the expansion. Cabler said he would review this with the city’s legal department.

Being touted as the first ...

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NAI RGV's Mike Blum speaks about the economic picture in the Rio Grande Valley

NAI RGV's Mike Blum spoke today at the Rio Grande Valley Builders Association general membership luncheon. He presented an informative and insightful presentation about the economic picture in the Rio Grande Valley.

"Mike's professional background and experience is impressive and we are excited to have him provide this program to benefit RGVBA members."

For more information about the economic picture of the Rio Grande Valley please contact Mike Blum.

Click here to contact Mike directly. I also invite you to visit our website at or call us at 956.994.8900.

Official: Donna int'l bridge on track to open ahead of schedule

Official: Donna int'l bridge on track to open ahead of schedule
April 07, 2010 11:03 AM
Martha L. Hernández
The Monitor

DONNA — The Donna International Bridge could be open by early June — ahead of schedule and under budget.

The bridge, which connects Donna to Rio Bravo, will be the first for the U.S. city and the second for Rio Bravo, which includes Nuevo Progreso.

Donna will be the bridge’s sole owner on the U.S. side; the city borrowed $40 million from Bank of America and plans to make back its money from bridge revenues.

The Donna Economic Development Corp. ...

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Rio South Texas Region Landing on 'Best Places' Lists in a Number of Areas

Best Places You May Never Have Heard Of
Rio South Texas Region Landing on 'Best Places' Lists in a Number of Areas
SOURCE Rio South Texas Economic Council
PR Newswire

EDINBURG, Texas, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A largely unknown and often overlooked area of the United States is not only starting to get noticed, but is also earning national rankings as the place to live, get a job, go to college and start a business. One of the fastest growing areas in the U.S. with a total population of 2.3 million, Rio South Texas encompasses the southernmost tip of Texas and the northeastern part of Mexico. The region is currently the third largest market in Texas, the 23rd largest market in the country and the largest U.S./Mexico border region in America.

Over the past six months, the region has been ranked nationally in the following areas:

•America's Best-Bang-For-The-Buck Cities. McAllen -Edinburg- Mission ranked 7th for its solid housing market, stable employment, enviable cost of living and quick commute. (, November, 2009)

•America's Fastest-Recovering Cities. McAllen-Mission-Edinburg ranked 48th in this list of 100 most economically secure U.S. metros based on diversified industry and stable housing market. (, November, 2009)

•Safest Hospitals in America. Hospitals in Brownsville (Valley Regional Medical Center), Edinburg (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and Edinburg Regional Medical Center), Harlingen (Harlingen Medical Center), and McAllen (Rio Grande Regional Hospital and McAllen Medical Center/Heart Hospital) ranked among the best 5% in the nation based on low complication and mortality rates. (HealthGrades, Inc. January, 2010)

•Deep Seaport handles record waterborne in-transits. The Port of Brownsville placed 3rd among the Top 20 U.S. Ports handling Foreign Waterborne In-Transits ahead of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. (U.S. Corps of Engineers – Transportation Facts, December, 2008)

•Most Secure U.S. Places to Live for 2009. McAllen metropolitan area ranked 7th in large metro areas (500,000+) in the sixth annual ranking of safest cities. (Farmers Insurance Group, December, 2009)

•America's 10 Next Recovering Job Markets. McAllen ranked 3rd and Brownsville ranked 4th based on's projected job growth in the first three months of 2010.

•A+ Rating. Fitch Ratings gave the City of Harlingen an "A+" rating based on the city's stable financial history, healthy fund balances, increasingly diversified economic base, below average unemployment and moderate debt ratio. (Fitch Ratings, October, 2009)

•50 Best Places to Launch a Business. McAllen ranked 16th among the best midsize places in the U.S. to launch a small business. That same study showed that small business start-ups in McAllen-Mission-Edinburg grew by 13% from 2004-2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And McAllen and Brownsville ranked 1st and 2nd among metros with the lowest wages. (, October, 2009)

•America's Best Public Colleges. University of Texas Pan American ranked No. 32 in the top 100 list for "America's Best Public Colleges" and was ranked 218 in the complete list of 600 "America's Best Colleges". (, September, 2009)

"These rankings and ratings indicate that Rio South Texas is fast becoming recognized as a healthy market for more than job creation," said Miki McCarthy, Director of San Juan Economic Development Corporation. "This area is proving itself to be among the best and safest places in the country to live, work, learn and do business. We have a lot to boast about, and that's just what we're doing!"

Rio South Texas Economic Council, a public and private association of economic development interests, was formed in 2008 to promote the collective assets of the Rio South Texas region to attract private sector investment, economic diversification and business expansions. RSTEC – with its tagline "Two Countries. One Region. Many Choices." – is aggressively pursuing six core industry segments: automotive manufacturers and suppliers; aerospace; metal products; medical devices; electronics manufacturing and assembly and renewable energy.
Media Contact:

Sofia Hernandez
Toll Free Line: 1-888-RSTEC01 (888-778-3201)
Direct Line: 956-607-1197
SOURCE Rio South Texas Economic Council