Good morning. Thank you so much for hosting this incredible groundbreaking ceremony. I want to say this is close to the biggest turnout we have had for one of these and the only place we seem to have these (groundbreaking ceremonies) is in the Valley. They don’t do this in north Texas. It is wonderful.

I would like to introduce Troy Bathman, my partner at St.Ives, who has been down here working with everybody to get this to this point. It has been a crazy two years as everybody knows. We have been working in the Valley probably over 25 years and it seems we have always got a natural disaster, a recession, and now a pandemic that we have all had to deal with when we are trying to bring a project to fruition. 

It would not have happened except for the work, and this is going to be a common theme throughout today; the work of the city, the county, the utility districts, the neighboring land owners and everybody else that has been involved and wants to bring growth to the city of Peñitas. We really, really, do appreciate that. 

So, over the course of two years, working closely with with everyone we finally got to where we are today – we got a building permit. That is great. (Applause) That is wonderful.

You can see that the work has started. You can see it and taste it, depending on how that wind is blowing. Yesterday, it was worse. The grading, the utility infrastructure, the road access points, the installation of the east-west drive, Amber Way, are under way and once complete we can turn this over to the tenants that you have seen displayed here. We are really sorry we cannot acknowledge the last tenant. We are under a confidentiality agreement. But, you will be happy when you know who it is. 

This is phase one. It is 16 acres. It will be comprised of the four pads on 83 and we are in discussion with some other users as we go north on Liberty, facing Walmart, a couple of pad users, some retail/restaurant prospects. So, we plan on completing commercial work on the remainder of the project, which will consist, as I say, of retail, a restaurant, hospitality, could be some storage, etc. And once complete on Phase 1 we will be looking at Phase 2 on the other side of the drainage ditch going east and that will be ten acres and we are already in discussions with some other tenants that have urged us, because we are out of sites on 83 on this, Phase 1. 

The good news is, Peñitas is demographically acceptable to various national tenants, as you can see. They want to come here and they want to be here. And that is really a good thing. The 200-plus jobs and I would say over $50 million in improvements is what this total project will bring to Peñitas. 

The city, the county, everyone I have mentioned before, we couldn’t have done this without you. It just simply would not have happened during these trying times. We are so very grateful for everybody’s hard work, going above and beyond during these extremely difficult times. So, once again, thank you so much. We are very excited to be a part of your community. 

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was given by James Gissler, a partner with Dallas-based St. Ives Realty, Inc., at a recent groundbreaking ceremony for Liberty Corners, a new retail complex being built by St. Ives on the corner of U.S. 83 and Liberty Boulevard in Peñitas. The above commentary is the first in a two-part series on the project. Part Two, featuring the analysis of Peñitas City Manager Humberto ‘Beto’ Garza, will appear in our next edition.

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