PHARR, Texas – Victor Perez has been looking back over his five years as executive director of Pharr Economic Development Corporation.
From 2017, when he joined the group, Pharr’s industrial park near the Pharr-Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, had an appraised value of $800,000. By 2021, the appraised value stood at $33 million.
“There has been a huge increase in commercial activity. We could not have envisaged this much growth,” Perez told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service.
“When I first came in I heard we were having trouble selling those lots. We ended up marketing the lots in Mexico. Once we had the first one, Index Fresh, an avocado company, everything else seemed to fall into place. It was like a domino effect. It has been great.”
Perez is quick to praise others and not to take credit himself. He said he has a great board of directors, and great vision from the city commission, led by Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez. He also thanks his team at the EDC and the marketing push they have made. And he acknowledges the benefit of having one of the fastest growing land ports of entry in the country as a catalyst for growth.
“The Pharr International Bridge is the number one crossing port for fresh produce. We are expanding the bridge and when investors see that, and they see all the positive things happening at the bridge, and they see we have the land, it incentivizes people to come over here and invest in Pharr.”
The most recent new activity within Pharr’s industrial parks came with a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month for MAS Logistics. The company handles distribution, inventory control, storage and clearance of supplies, raw materials, tooling, equipment and finished goods.
MAS Logistics’ current facilities surpass 200,000 sq. ft in warehouse space. The latest expansion, valued at $8 million, will provide an additional 150,000 sq. ft of space, along with the creation of 15 new jobs.
“We are committed to retaining our existing businesses and supporting their expansion efforts,” Perez said. “The growth of MAS Logistics not only provides additional jobs in our area, it’s also a positive indicator that the city of Pharr business community continues to thrive and is open for business. I would like to thank Cipriano Garza, the MAS Logistics CEO, and his team for choosing Pharr as they continue to grow.”
Perez said the MAS Logistics project is being executed quickly.
“Of course, when you have an investor like Mr. Garza, it makes our job easier. They have everything in line, they have already bought the land, they are just waiting to move dirt and get going. That project should be done in six to eight months.”
Perez pointed out that Pharr had 29 lots on its industrial park and now all of them are sold.
“I am excited because if you go by there now you will see a beautiful industrial park with state of the art facilities, cement streets, great landscaping.”
Asked if there is any danger of Pharr running out of land for new industrial parks, Perez said, “no.” He pointed out that the city’s ETJ (extra territorial jurisdiction) runs east, south of the Pharr city limits, almost all the way to Donna “We are blessed. This ETJ means we will have the properties available when investors want to come in.”
And, there is more on the way. Perez is not at liberty to name the companies but said more commercial investment is about to be announced.
“We have a couple of companies that are going to start investing in the city of Pharr. We are negotiating with them at present. That is almost finished. Their investment is going to be about $87 million. We are about to sign the final details on the contracts, really soon.”
Perez said there is another company, already in Pharr, that will soon announce an additional $22 million expansion plan.
“We are very excited. We will soon have more groundbreaking ceremonies.”
Asked about the impact the maquiladoras are having on the south Pharr economy, Perez said: “They are having a huge impact on the economy, but not just in south Pharr. They are impacting Pharr as a whole and, really, the whole region.”
Perez added: “These are regional assets. They help provide better paying jobs. Again, I would like to praise the mayor, the city commission and the PEDC board. We have a vision. We know where we are going and how fast we want to get there. Our mayor does things very decisively.”
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