MISSION, Texas – The CEO of Mission Economic Development Corporation has taken to LinkedIn to sound the alarm bell about a lack of available industrial warehouse space in the Rio Grande Valley.
“We need more industrial and logistics warehousing in Hidalgo County but it’s not getting built,” said Teclo Garcia.
In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service, Garcia said he was prompted to speak out after reading a CBRE report that said the vacancy rate for industrial warehouses in the upper Valley is only 1.3 percent.
Garcia said that is “unbelievably low.”
Soon after posting his message, Garcia said he received an inquiry from a developer who wanted to know if he had 500,000 to 700,000 square feet of warehousing available. He said he had to, unfortunately, say, “no.”
Here is what Garcia (pictured above) posted on LinkedIn:
“We need more industrial and logistics warehousing in Hidalgo County but it’s not getting built.
“The McAllen Industrial Market (McAllen, Pharr, Mission, Edinburg), in 2023 Q1 posted the lowest industrial vacancy rates in at least a dozen years and new record high price per square foot, according to real estate giant CBRE.
“In the Q1 report, CBRE said demand for industrial space is outstripping supply and new construction and helping raise Class A ppsf space to a record $6.09 (avg) and putting pressure on Class B space. Meanwhile, the vacancy rate has sunk to an almost unbelievable low of 1.3 percent.
“Last year, Port Laredo, the nation’s busiest, handled more than $300 billion in trade, up $50 billion from 2021, capitalizing on near-shoring and US-Mexico trade growth. The private sector fuels that growth with multiple 100,000 to 1 million square feet projects per year which creates good-paying jobs and rapidly expands the tax base. The same is happening in DFW, the SA-ATX corridor and Houston.
“We can’t left behind. It’s high time for the RGV’s EDCs, private sector investors, bankers and developers to work together to attract these type of large projects to our area. There are several existing positive economic factors (workforce, land, trade conditions) in our favor allowing us to strike while the iron is hot.”
In his interview with the Guardian, Garcia praised Pharr Bridge Board for recently hosting an Industrial Warehouse Summit. He also spoke about his first-hand knowledge of the Laredo market.
“Pharr has had kind of the jump on this issue for some time. But it’s a tough road to hoe for whatever reason. You know, Steve, I spent three years in Laredo as an economic development director for the City of Laredo. Laredo is a trade monster, right? They did $300 billion in trade this past year, and Pharr, which has grown tremendously, is still around the $50 billion range. So imagine, $300 billion compared to $50 billion. Laredo sees 100,000, 200,000, 500,000, even a million square foot projects, warehousing, light industrial projects. That, we just don’t see here.”
Garcia said the Valley is currently “missing the boat” on projects that needs 500,000 to a million square feet of warehouse space.
“I think Pharr did the right thing and the first step toward trying to sort of agitate that market, right. And I think that we really need to get on that because if we don’t we’re going to miss out on some of these projects, because of the trade, because of near-shoring, and just because the U.S. is busier right now and people need space for storage and to move product,” Garcia said.
“And, it’s not just that. There are forklift drivers that come with that. There are truck drivers, there are warehouse managers. These are good paying jobs, usually with benefits.”
Asked if he had had any reaction to his post on LinkedIn, Garcia said:
“Yes, we’ve gotten several emails and a couple of phone calls from people who are interested in doing something in Mission or in the Valley. But that wasn’t really the point of the comment. We want to spur interest but the bigger issue here is how can we accommodate folks? How can we get those big warehouses and industrial sites built? And we really need to, I think, work together to figure that out. Because the business is coming. It’s coming whether we like it or not. And do we want to get skipped? Do we want to see it go to San Antonio or someone else? Or can we do it here?”
Editor’s Note: To watch three reviews of the Pharr Bridge Board’s recent Industrial Warehouse Summit, click here, here, and here.
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