As the President & CEO of the Pharr Economic Development Corporation, I would like to thank you for your continued partnership, business, and investment in our great city. We have experienced tremendous growth over the years and in Pharr, your business is “our business”! At the Pharr EDC we work hard to ensure you have every tool to be successful and thriving in the market, that is why we are proud to announce the launch of our new Pharr EDC “Economic Times Newsletter” which will help keep you abreast of all current EDC projects and events occurring in the community and beyond. Our priority at the Pharr EDC is the success of our businesses and companies, continued growth of our city, quality of life of our residents, and capitalizing on our unique global marketplace. We hope this will serve as a useful resource in highlighting our regional, state, and international economic development projects!
The city of Pharr is dedicated to improving the overall quality of life for our citizens. This is why we, in collaboration with South Texas College (STC) and the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA ISD), are working diligently to bring the highly anticipated Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence to fruition.
Collaboration and innovation is at the heart of everything taking place in Pharr.
That was the message Pharr Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez wanted to convey to delegates from the United Kingdom earlier this week.
The City of Pharr welcomed British Consul General Karen Bell on Oct. 13. The consul was making a whirlwind trip through the region, and was especially enthusiastic about development taking place at the Pharr International Bridge.
The consul was the guest of honor at a breakfast organized by Pharr officials who used the time to brief her on the economic impact and infrastructure development currently taking place at the bridge.
In attendance at the meeting was Mayor Hernandez, Mexican Consul based in McAllen Guillermo Ordorica Robles, Pharr EDC interim executive director Sergio Contreras, interim bridge director Luis Bazan, and Bridge Board chairman Edgar Delgadillo.
“You have a phenomenal scale of ambition in terms of your infrastructure plans. I’d be interested to hear how the financing for that works and whether there are opportunities for other international partners to come in an offer advice,” Bell said at the meeting with Pharr leaders. “We are ready to provide opportunities for growing trade in both directions using this partnership between Texas and Mexico.”
Appointed in July, Consul General Bell represents the UK in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Based in Houston, Bell is spearheading a number of projects currently underway in her consulate including a trade mission to London this December for US financial technology companies, and an MOU signed between the UK Satellite Applications Catapult and Houston Airport System, marking the UK as the first international partner for Houston’s commercial spaceport.
Her visit to the Valley was a mission to gauge the area’s economic growth and educational impact in communities. In Pharr, Bell was made aware that the city’s bridge is currently the number one Port of Entry for produce in the United States.
“This is part of the reason that we wanted to see what is happening here on the ground. Certainly, the scale at which you are growing has redoubled my enthusiasm for the understanding that we can and should be doing more to promote UK participation,” Bell said. “Whether it’s getting traffic across the bridge, whether it’s in terms of helping you to think about financing if that’s an issue because public-private partnerships is something that we have developed quite an expertise for. If there is something more we can be doing in terms of the planning and development of the project as you move ahead, doubling the capacity of the bridge is an enormous engineering feat apart from everything else.”
Pharr International Bridge crosses about 60 percent of all fresh produce coming into the U.S. from Mexico. In 2014 alone, Pharr accommodated $30 billion worth of trade with the world and 2015 looks to top that figure. The bridge is conducting a new study for 2016, and officials at the bridge say that number will climb to possibly $37 billion, which is record-breaking growth, according to Pharr leaders.
“At the heart of everything is collaboration and innovation,” said mayor Hernandez in his remarks to the Consul. “You can see it here. It has worked wonderfully with the government of Mexico. We are happy to have you here, and wanted to make sure you saw first-hand, the growth that is going to occur in this area. We have a wonderful partner to the south of us. On behalf of the mayor’s office, we are very glad to have you here today.”
In Pharr, good development follows good development, according to the city’s economic leaders.
The City of Pharr unveiled three new businesses which will open adjacent to Costco on the corner of Kelly Avenue and Jackson Road.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers is planning to open its first restaurant in the Valley by Sept 1. Also announced was a Raising Canes, restaurant establishment; as well as a new Chick-Fil-A.
Freddy’s is a Wichita-based restaurant chain featuring cooked to order steak burgers as well as casual dining fare like hot dogs, chicken tenders and patty melts. The restaurant’s namesake refers to its popular custard, a type of ice cream made with two percent egg yolk, that is made fresh hourly, according to chain operators.
“From the heart I want to say that this is the best reception so far. There is more to come with the unveiling of the street signs, but I am very excited to be down here” said James Oberg, owner and operator of South Texas Custard LTD, a Freddy’s franchise group based in San Antonio. “We are very community oriented. We back the schools. We do fundraisers and we are very accessible to people along with great quality food, a great family environment.
“We want to be a part of the community,” Oberg said.
The announcement is part of the initial investment which began with Costco’s opening in 2013. The new businesses will be located on 40 acres north of Costco and will represent more than $15 million worth of investment in land value and related improvements. The city is also forecasting between $12 million to $15 million in sales tax revenue, and 30 to 75 jobs created in the project’s first phase.
That investment will be combined with revenue from sites all located within a three-quarter mile radius; namely, Pharr Town Center, a mall, as well as burgeoning development taking place to the south of Pharr.
“That’s not by accident,” said Pharr City Manager Fred Sandoval. “Good development follows good development. Good leadership provides good development. Good stewardship of tax dollars allows that investment to occur. This return on our investment is what we use to pave streets, to lower taxes, to provide safe water and provide the quality of life that our taxpayers deserve.”
The Pharr Economic Development Corporation, in its regular meeting Monday, June 1st, elected board officers; and presented contract terms to Fred Sandoval for a position as the corporation’s Executive Director.
Board members elected to serve in official positions are:
- Mayor, Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez – President
- Dr. Ramiro Caballero – Vice President
- Commissioner Edmund Maldonado – Secretary
- Mr. Danny Smith – Treasurer
Following the meeting, Mayor Hernandez stated the importance of the Pharr Economic Development Board and the Pharr City Commission working together.
“We are moving forward together,” the Mayor said, “to do what is in the best interest of our city. And that is deciding what needs to be done and working with the City Commission to make Pharr the best it can be.”