Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New report indicates McAllen’s current employment surpassed 5-year peak

September 22, 2010

Garner Economics has released a recent report comparing the 372 metro areas in the United States. Based on employment total from the past five years, the report indicated that McAllen is one of only 16 metros that has surpassed July peak employment totals from the past five years. McAllen increased its job totals by 2-percent, according to the analysis.

Texas was the only state to have more than one metro that surpassed previous employment totals.

To view the full report, click here.

El Paso-based venture capital firm makes first investment in Rio Grande Valley

By Steve Taylor
Rio Grande Guardian

EDINBURG, Sept. 18 - 

Cottonwood Technology Fund, a venture capital firm based in El Paso, has made its first investment in the Rio Grande Valley, pumping an undisclosed sum of money into FibeRio Technology Corporation.
Beto Pallares, Cottonwood’s managing partner, said his firm’s aim is to cultivate the entrepreneurial community along the border region. As such, he said, Cottonwood, which also has offices in Los Alamos and Santa Fe, hopes to make other seed-stage investments in Valley-based technology companies.

“I live on the border. I understand the dynamics that are faced here. I understand the challenges and the preconceived notions but I also understand where the value is. We do not object to hopping on a plane and coming down here. I make frequent visits for that reason,” Pallares said.
Pallares said it was not a difficult decision to partner with FibeRio. At a news conference at the University of Texas-Pan American last Wednesday, Pallares said FibeRio is comprised of good people with a good idea. He said those were two of the three components needed for success. The third, he said, is money.

FibeRio is UTPA’s first regional technology start-up company. It was formed after Karen Lozano and Kamalaksha Sarkar, faculty members of UTPA’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, co-invented an advanced nanofiber manufacturing process that could, experts believe, revolutionize the nanofiber manufacturing industry.

Lozano, chief technology officer for FibeRio, explained what a nanofiber is. “A nanofiber is like a strand of hair, only a strand of hair has 80 microns and a nanofiber is 80,000 times thinner. It is microscopic; you cannot see it with your own eye. A nanofiber is so small that most of the atoms are on the surface. That makes them very active. They have properties you do not find in other systems,” Lozano said.
Lozano said nanofibers are used in ...

Click here to read more

McAllen- Edinburg-Mission, TX Listed in America’s 20 Strongest Cities: 5 Key Factors They Have in Common

September 20, 2010 in EconomyIn The Americas

The economic crisis in the US hit most of the country pretty darn hard,.. have you heard? But not all places were hit to the same degree. While most of my home state — Florida — was slammed, some other places did alright.
The Metropolitan Policy Program (MPP) at the Brookings Institution regularly lists the 20 strongest major metro areas – one a quarter. It looks at fundamental economic issues such as economic activity, housing and employment.
Derek Thompson of the Atlantic did  good job recently of picking out some key factors the top 5 cities on the MPP’s most recent list had in common.
Before sharing his thoughts on that, though, here are the 20 strongest metro areas, according to the MPP:
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
  • Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC
  • Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  • El Paso, TX
  • Jackson, MS
  • Kansas City, MO-KS
  • Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR
  • Madison, WI
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
Now, what did Thompson find they have in common? In his own words:
1. Eds and Meds
When the private sector shrinks and the federal government grows, handmaidens of federal spending, like education and health care, stay alive. Many of the cities on this list specialize in health care (McAllen) education (Austin) or both (Albany, Augusta, San Antonio). The eds and meds have outpaced the private sector in growth through the downturn, into the recovery, and they will continue to cast a long shadow over job creation in the next decade. Six of the top eight jobs with the fastest projected growth are in the health care or medical science industries. Three of the top five jobs with the largest projected growth are in health care.
2. Also: Enlisteds
The rock of federal spending has helped military towns stay steady, too. Look at DC, Virginia Beach, San Antonio, and Augusta. Pentagons and forts, galore. Many of the cities on this list have been buoyed by consistent government spending on military bases and tech contracts.
3. Capitals
In the good times, the strongest cities were close to capital that came from rising home prices and exotic financial products. In the iffy times, the strongest cities are close to capitals, to City Halls, the most dependable arteries to government spending. Count the capitals on Brookings list: Albany, Austin, Baton Rouge, Madison, Little Rock, Jackson, and Oklahoma City.
4. Texas (Or at Least Its Time Zone)
As I’ve written, Texas and the Great Plains have run away with the recovery for a few reasons: (1) They avoided the housing bubble; (2) They’re led by local-based businesses like health and insurance that were insulated from the global meltdown; (3) High energy prices both delayed and cushioned the recession; and finally
5. Cheap labor
Eighteen of Brookings’ 20 “strongest cities” (all except Washington and VA Beach) have average or below average cost-of-living, according to a new Wall Street Journal story. At a time when Washington can’t seem to ...
Click here to read more

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boom in UTPA, STC enrollment continues

September 20, 2010 11:35 PM

More than 29,000 students enrolled in South Texas College’s fall semester this year, a record high for the institution and a 7 percent gain from last year.

The University of Texas-Pan American also reported a boost in enrollment numbers with nearly 19,000 students flocking to campus this fall. That represents a 2.3 percent increase from 2009’s fall semester.

Rio Grande Valley residents were looking for any chance to increase their employability, STC President Shirley Reed said in a news release.

“We are here to provide opportunities, and it’s more imperative than ever, with the state of the economy, to allow our students every possible venue to learn and earn a college degree,” she said. “No one ever dreamed STC would be at this enrollment level even two years ago.”

Both college campuses have ...

Click here to read more

Monday, September 20, 2010

McAllen hires consultant to lure big fish

September 18, 2010 10:20 PM

McALLEN — City leaders hired a consultant last month to help them attract a top-flight retailer that may occupy the current site of Boeye Reservoir.
While McAllen already boasts numerous big-box stores, the city wants to attract a more select breed for the location near La Plaza Mall and Expressway 83, such as Bass Pro Shops, the big fish Harlingen has been angling to land for years.
The consultant, Retail Attractions of Owasso, Okla., inked the roughly $116,000 contract Aug. 31, according to a copy of the agreement. McAllen will also cover approved travel expenses and pay the company a bonus for each retailer that opens a McAllen location.
While the city already has an economic development corporation and a chamber of commerce working to improve the local economy, it needs someone focused on finding top-flight retailers, Mayor Richard Cortez said.
“Instead of waiting, we wanted to be proactive in contacting those we felt would complement our retail industry here,” Cortez said.
The Boeye Reservoir property, near La Plaza Mall and Expressway 83, might be attractive to a Cabela’s, Costco or Nordstrom, Cortez said. During a speech last month, he also suggested Simon Malls, which owns La Plaza, might be interested in the land.
Sales tax drives city spending, providing the largest share — 41 percent — of McAllen’s general fund. A top-flight retailer would likely attract customers from across the Rio Grande Valley and other businesses, fueling city coffers.
In recent months, the recession and stagnant economy have hurt local tax receipts, leading McAllen to cut its budget 4.3 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
But despite the problems, McAllen has fared better than many Texas cities, thanks to spending by Mexican shoppers and steady local growth.
As the national economy improves, McAllen will ...
Click here to read more

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Open House Alert: Cimarron Country Club

Open House
Cimarron Country Club
118 Rio Grande Mission, TX

Sunday, September 19 
2:00-7:00 PM

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Real Estate Investing is All the Rage Again. Should You Cash In?

Real Estate Investing is All the Rage Again. Should You Cash In?

San Antonio Texas Alamo
wrote last weekabout the housing markets that were the best bets for residential real estate investors, suggesting that home buyers could use the advice as a clue to which markets would turn around soonest.
The top picks were Raleigh, N.C., McAllen, Texas and Austin, thanks to their strong  
pre-recession population growth, slowing home-price drops and a mix of jobs that’s weighted toward growth industries like government and education (the entire top ten list is past the jump).
Our list, compiled by Cary, N.C. real estate research firm Local Market Monitor, wasn’t looking at the markets that were currently the healthiest, but rather which had the greatest chance for price appreciation.
You can, of course, invest in real estate without buying a home. Commercial real estate investment has also picked up dramatically. Real estate funds and companies brought in $9.18 billion for all types of property acquisitions in August — more than double what they raised in July, according to real estate investment adviser CoStar.
Of course, $63.26 billion raised this year is pocket change compared to the
industry’s pre-2007 heyday, when REITs took in $200 billion annually, but there is money to be made in careful commercial investing.
Investors looking for a way into the market should seek an adviser with low fees, who can acquire nimbly and quickly, and has a multi-year track record in the industry, says CoStar consultant Norm Miller, but they should closely watch commercial market conditions.
“It’s not a bad time to buy, but I’m not going to tell you we’re at the bottom on prices,” he says.
If, however, you’re looking at the investing trees (individual housing markets) rather than the investing forest (pension funds, mutual funds, REITs, hedge funds and other companies that put money into all types of real estate classes, but mainly commercial), here are the top markets for conservative investors (see the article for more detail on why):
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
Q2 2010 Home Price Change: -3%
Three- year home price forecast: 0%
Population Growth, 2000-2005: 18%
Metropolitan Statistical Area: McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
Q2 2010 Home Price Change: 1%
Three- year home price forecast: 7%
Population Growth, 2000-2005: 16%
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Austin-Round Rock, Texas
Q2 2010 Home Price Change: ...

Click here to read more

Monday, September 13, 2010

Newest Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen Opens in Pharr, Texas

Pharr, Texas - Pappas Restaurants announced the opening of the company's newest Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Pharr, Texas.  This will be the 35th Pappadeaux location and the first Pappas restaurant in the Rio Grande Valley. The "fresh meets festive" approach combines the freshest seafood available with fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Pappadeaux plans to deliver the spirit of New Orleans to Pharr, TX with bold flavors, traditional Louisiana-style favorites and specialty drinks with receipes straight from Bourbon Street.

The City of Pharr and Pharr Chamber of Commerce welcomed Pappadeaux with an official ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, September 10th at the restaurant. Mayor Leopoldo "Polo" Palacios, Jr. welcomed the newest restaurant. "We are very happy to have one of the best Texas restaurant families now residing in Pharr", said Mayor Palacios. "We are looking forward to many wonderful meals and good times with the Pappas family".
 Pappas Restaurants' owner, Harris Pappas said, "We are so excited about opening a Pappadeaux in Pharr TX.  We look foward to becoming a part of the Pharr community by serving our newest Guests with the freshest seafood around."
Pappadeaux offers over 80 delicious menu items like "Louisiana" seafood gumbo, Pappas' famous Greek Salad, Shrimp & Crawfish Fondeaux, Live Main Lobster and Blackened Catfish Opelousas, Pappadeaux's success is built on fresh seafood, great, energetic service and vibrant atmosphere. 
Keeping true to the Pappas tradition of freshness, everything at Pappadeaux is made in house daily - all sauces, marinades and salad dressings are made from scratch.  Although if you are looking for something frozen you can try their signature frozen drinks like the SwampThing or the Twisted Hurricane.
Pappadeaux in Pharr features a full service dining room, bar and comfortable lounge seating outdoors, adding an additional area for Guests to enjoy a drink or socialize before their meal.  Pappadeaux aims for a feel of comfort and fun with lush landscaping, antique brick and beautiful mahogany wood paneling.
Pappadeaux is run by family owned and operated Pappas Restaurants based in Houston, TX 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

NAI RGV Reintroduces Itself to the Market

Texas Border Business
Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
Photo By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez - Mike Blum, NAI-Rio Grande Valley managing Partner


They find that the valley sold $1.5 billion in the food, beverage and hospitality industry

In 2004 Mike Blum approached Charles Mueller owner of Synergies LLC, a multi-faceted Rio Grande Valley based company, with the idea of creating a real estate division. Mueller agreed and Synergis Realty Group was created.

“Almost at the same time of that creation the then NAI Global affiliate which was known as NAI RIOCO decided to give up its NAI flag,” Blum stated. Blum, who had been with NAI RIOCO since 1997, knew the unique opportunity and the numerous benefits that come with acquiring the NAI flag. Immediately, Mueller and Mike approached the NAI Global Corporation about becoming the NAI affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley.

So in 2005 the deal was made and we became NAI Rio Grande Valley with over $100 million worth of listings that came over to our table,” Blum stated. With this affiliation, NAI Rio Grande Valley became the NAI Global Rio Grande Valley affiliate. NAI Global is the largest managed, network of commercial real estate professionals with over 5,000 professionals, 325 offices in 55 countries. This makes it possible for NAI Rio Grande Valley to help its clients around the corner and around the world. “We are no longer affiliated with NAI RIOCO, in fact, NAI RIOCO does not exist.”

Blum is the managing partner for the company. He is well known as someone who loves to study and understand the markets. He believes this is important because knowledge is power and markets are in a constant state of evolution. “We are ...

Click here to read more

Personal income up in McAllen while U.S. sees decline

The Monitor
September 02, 2010 
By: Ana Ley

McALLEN — Personal income in the McAllen area grew slightly last year, while most metro areas in the United States experienced a decline.

Although the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area — which comprises all of Hidalgo County — saw 2.8 percent growth in personal income, per capita personal income remained stagnant, according to statistics released by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Per capita personal income is the personal income of the residents of an area divided by the population of that area. It allows apple-to-apple comparisons between areas even if they have very different populations.

Personal income — the income received by all people from all sources — declined last year in 223 of the nation’s metro areas, increased in 134 of them and remained unchanged in 9.

Pedro Salazar, president of the Edinburg Economic Development Corp., attributed the growth to an increase in educational attainment in the Rio Grande Valley.

“People are getting ...

Click here to read more

Maquiladora industry picks up after recession

The Monitor
August 31, 2010
By: Ana Ley

McALLEN — The maquiladora industry in Reynosa is recovering from a steady decline it experienced during the economic recession, according to Mexican statistics.

Export-related employment there grew by about 1,000 jobs in May, up from 76,000 jobs the month before, according to the most recent data available from Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, known by its Spanish acronym INEGI.

Reynosa maquilas had as few as 69,000 jobs in May 2009.

Five U.S. companies opened shop in Reynosa this year and boosted employment there, said Keith Patridge, president and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corp.

“Then we have the existing companies that are ...

Click here to read more