November 18, 2013
Message from the Chief Executive Officer
As we approach Thanksgiving Day here in the US, many of us begin to reflect on why we celebrate this day: to show gratitude for our blessings.
So, here’s my quick take on Harlingen’s blessings:
1. We are part of the United States. We all know political views vary, but we are in a free country with an economic system that is second to none.
2. Harlingen is part of Texas! Again, some people may want to bring politics into the picture, but the fact remains that we are living in one of the most dynamic states in the union. We enjoy a business environment that is the envy of many in the US.
3. Harlingen is located near a beautiful coast and island, with a grand river nearby, and with so much more of nature’s playground just outside our door, with temperate weather to boot!
4. Harlingen continues to lead ALL Valley cities in commercial building with permits valued at over $90 million through the end of September! Mission and McAllen follow with about $66 million and $64 million respectively.
5. Harlingen’s sales tax receipts for the month of October surpassed last October’s total by over 8%! Great way to start the fiscal year!
6. Harlingen has added almost 200,000 square feet of retail space this year, with more announcements (hopefully) adding another 100,000 square feet or more in the near future.
7. Harlingen’s industrial base continues to grow as we absorbed over 130,000 square feet of industrial space in the last 12 months. Harlingen manufacturers continue to add jobs at a brisk pace as well.
8. Harlingen is ranked one of the most-affordable cities in the United States at 20% or so below the national average!
9. Harlingen has an energetic young workforce, and a great partner in Texas State Technical College preparing our region’s workers for new employers such as Beacon Construction (Bechtel), which will be hiring 600 or more employees to help build a new $600 million power plant in the next few months. Welders will be in very high demand!
10. Harlingen has a pro-business City Commission and entities such as the HEDC, HIFI, HMA, and CIB helping pave the way for new opportunities.
11. Harlingen has easy access to global markets through a great transportation system including the Port of Harlingen, Valley International Airport, the Los Indios International Bridge, Interstate 2 and Interstate 69, and rail access serviced by Union Pacific and Rio Valley Switching.
12. Harlingen has some of the best parks and trails in the region, and continues to add more trails!
13. Harlingen has an engaged Chamber of Commerce serving hundreds of members on a daily basis.
14. Harlingen is home to some of the best medical facilities in the region, including the University of Texas’ Regional Academic Health Center training 3rd and 4th year medical students and various residency programs.
15. Bass Pro Shops – Harlingen continues to outperform same store sales from the previous year and leads other Bass Pro locations in kayak and ATV sales, along with other categories.
16. Longhorn Steakhouse in Harlingen is ranked 3rd among its Texas locations in sales!
17. Harlingen has two hotels under construction at this time, with more to come in the near future!
And I could go on, but you get the picture: we are blessed, but still have lots of work to do.
Speaking of work:
Ramiro Aleman and Lyle Garza recently attended the International Council of Shopping Center’s Texas Dealmaking Conference in Dallas in our new retail-focused booth. According to Garza and Aleman, there was brisk traffic through our booth and lots of interest from many retailers looking at Harlingen for a new home.
HEDC is working with the City and other surrounding communities and Cameron County on ways to increase traffic at Los Indios International Bridge, and creating alliances with various entities in Mexico to position ourselves as a great choice for cross-border traffic from the soon-to-be-opened Mazatlan-Matamoros Super Highway.
HEDC has been very active in business retention visits to various manufacturing and logistics companies in the past several weeks.
HEDC is working with Halff and Associates to identify potential future business parks for continued industrial and office development.
HEDC is working with several prospective industrial/manufacturing companies looking for expansion opportunities in this low-cost environment.
HEDC is also being represented at Fabtech in Chicago this week through our alliance with Site Location Partnership. Fabtech is the premier metal fabrication trade show in the US with over 35,000 attendees and 1,500 exhibiting companies.
HEDC is working with Valley International Airport and numerous private and public infrastructure/utility companies on certifying the Harlingen Industrial AirPark as “shovel-ready”. AEP selected Harlingen and only one other Texas site for this program conducted in cooperation with one of the country’s premier site selection consulting firms: McCallum Sweeney.
Have a great week, and keep counting your blessings!
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News from around the Harlingen area and beyond
Manufacturing Building Available for Lease
1805 North Loop 499, Suite 110
Harlingen, TX 78550
72,000 Total SF available
24′ minimum clear height
and much more. Call the Harlingen EDC office for more information at 216-5081.