EDINBURG, RGV – Mexican pop music icon Luis Miguel’s next U.S. tour, starting in April, will include concerts in Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Denver, Montreal, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and… Edinburg, Texas.
The Edinburg concert will take place at the new $88 million Bert Ogden Arena on August 31. The arena, owned by the City of Edinburg, is slated to open in late Spring.
The Miguel announcement was made at a news conference held at the arena on a cold Monday morning. Although the concert is the first to be announced for the new facility, others will be made in the coming weeks, with some taking place before Miguel’s visit.
Entering the arena, VIPs and media were asked to don hard hats as construction work is going on round the clock to get the 9,304-seat arena finished. After the announcement, those in the audience were given the opportunity to tour the facility.
“This arena is bigger than basketball. This arena is about civic pride. It is about jobs and it is about the community coming together. This arena will be an economic engine for the City of Edinburg and for the entire region,” said Yajaira Flores, director of booking and marketing for the Bert Ogden Arena.
The 219,000 square-foot arena will have 76 points of sale and be home to the Vipers basketball team. The venue’s bookings and management will be run by Cantu Entertainment Group. The group’s CEO, Rene Borrego, predicted memories will be made at the arena.
“The people of the Valley deserve this, they have earned this. We come from generations of hard working people. These hard hats are fitting. Our parents and our grandparents, we had nothing handed to us. Everything we have gotten, everything we have had, we have earned here in the Valley,” Borrego said.
“So, now that you have earned this arena, you have earned the memories you are going to make with your families and your kids. You have earned that experience. you are going to have when you bring your parents out to their favorite performer that they have never seen before. So, congratulations, Valley, we look forward to finishing this for you and we hope you can make those memories.”
Borrego added that there is more to come. “We are getting calls every day. So, stay tuned.”
Martha Hinojosa, is lead architect for the arena for Cantu Construction. She was also lead architect for the HEB soccer stadium in Edinburg.
“We have a lot of hardworking people who have been dedicated to getting this project done. Here at the end, we are going to give it all we have to get it finished,” Hinojosa told the Rio Grande Guardian.
“I am very proud of it (the soccer stadium). It is such a pleasure to see families and children getting to enjoy that facility. This one will be the same.”
Asked what the arena project means for South Texas, Hinojosa said: “We are pleased to bring such a wonderful facility. The opportunities will be enormous for the people of South Texas.”
Although the City of Edinburg owns the arena, none of the city council members were present for the news conference. Mayor Richard Molina was slated to speak but City Manager Richard M. Hinojosa, deputized.
“Anybody who drives up and down this expressway has seen this start from the bottom up. It is a beautiful facility so far. We are looking forward to the completion and I know the mayor and the city council is looking forward to it as well,” Richard H. Hinojosa said.
Robert Vackar, representing the Bert Ogden Auto Group, said his wife, Janet, had hoped to be at the news conference.
“My wife called. She is Aspen, Colorado with the grandkids. I told her about the announcement and she said, ‘I want to be there. Can you talk to Mr. Cantu about putting it off for a week?’ I am not going to go there,” Vackar said.
Vackar said his wife will be at future announcements.
“She is so proud to be part of it. She will be here for the rest of the announcements. I can only say how proud I am and how proud the Bert Ogden organization is. I have lived in Edinburg longer than many of you have been alive. I have lived in Edinburg since 1943. So, I don’t think there are too many people older than me or who have lived here longer than I have. I am so proud of what Edinburg has done, I am so proud of what Mr. Cantu has done. This really, really, puts Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley on the map. We are so proud of being associated with you, Mr. Cantu, thank you so much. And the City of Edinburg.”
Alonzo Cantu is owner of Cantu Construction, which is building the Bert Ogden Arena. Cantu has pumped millions of dollars into the project, in part because the size had to be increased in order to land A-List artists.
“We have almost doubled the size of the other local venue. We decided to talk to Live Nation, the Rockets, the NBA, to figure out what was the best size and we came up with us. The people of the Valley would not have been able to see and hear those A-List acts,” Cantu told the Rio Grande Guardian.
“We did it in such a way that it would be hard for anyone to compete with us. Hopefully we have done that with the size, and all the technology. We have done a lot of things that you will see later on, as we build, such as the scoreboard, IT, security, the seating, everything is first class.”
In a Facebook livestream with the Rio Grande Guardian last week, Borrego said he believed Cantu was building the arena as a legacy for the people of the Valley. Asked if this was the case, Cantu said:
“I am not ready to die yet. I believe in helping the Valley. We need to bring things like this to the Valley, to get more people in here. More and more people will want to come. People say there are not enough things to do. Well, here is one of them. We have got the (soccer) stadium, we have got the arena, we have got the medical school, we have got SpaceX coming, hopefully. All of these things can help improve our quality of life and keep our people here. Now with Texas A&M and UT here, hopefully other universities coming, we will have an educated workforce and jobs for them here. The Valley is transforming itself and hopefully people will see it. I see it.”
Cantu then listed some of the other big projects he is working on this year.
“We want to get South Texas on the map. We do not want any special favors, we want to be treated like the rest of the state. That is one of our goals here, to get the Valley like they treat the rest of the state. Transportation funding, education funding, healthcare funding, we just want our fair share. That is all we are asking for. We can compete with anybody.
“I think the state is realizing if they help the Valley they can save a lot of money. In health, for instance, if we can do services here we will not have to send our patients to Houston, San Antonio or Dallas. Think of how much money that costs. To bring the providers and the doctors here. We want to have a Level 1 trauma center, instead of flying to San Antonio or Houston, and we want to have a full-fledged children’s hospital so we can treat all the children here. Those are two main goals for this year.”