RIO GRANDE CITY, RGV – A groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Monday morning, Nov. 4, for the first tranche of retail development within the much-anticipated mixed-use Rio Grande Village project in Rio Grande City.

Among the dignitaries expected to attend are U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, Texas House Rep. Ryan Guillen, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, Starr County Industrial Foundation (SCIF) Executive Director Rose Benavidez, Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal, and Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation President Rey Ramirez.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar

Congressman Cuellar told the Rio Grande Guardian that he is excited about the impact the project will have, not just on Rio Grande City but Starr County as a whole.

“The development of the Rio Grande Village is another example of how much our region is growing,” Cuellar said.

“Each day, we have new businesses, more tourism, and increased investment in our area that allows us to further invest in our local infrastructure, schools, and facilities. I want to thank and congratulate everyone that has worked to make this happen.”

Up until now, Rio Grande City has experienced a huge dollar “leakage,” with residents traveling to McAllen to shop at big box stores. Mayor Villarreal believes that is about to change.

Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal

“Rio Grande Village will transform our region for generations to come; it is a game changer,” Villarreal told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“This historic development in beautiful Rio Grande City will provide tremendous opportunities to many individuals by providing hundreds of jobs and simultaneously increasing our tax base to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

SCIF’s Benavidez said the Rio Grande Village project has been years in the making.

“This project is a result of years of extensive negotiations and productive collaboration that was only made possible with the support and partnership of the City of Rio Grande City, Rio Grande City Economic Development, and the County of Starr,” Benavidez told the Rio Grande Guardian.

Rose Benavidez

“The impact will revolutionize our landscape and expand the development opportunities in our community. We have gotten a glimpse of the future and it leads to Starr County.”

In a news release issued last August, SCIF said that St. Ives Realty, LLC and Rio Grande Village, LLC, a Dallas based group of national developers, had “finalized the acquisition of over 150 acres of  land in Rio Grande City that will serve as the basis for a multi-million dollar investment endeavor for the area.”

SCIF said the group will “master develop the mixed-use property to include retail, commercial, national restaurant chains, lodging, office space and industrial facilities, among other potential uses.”

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera

In the news release, Judge Vera said: “We understand that once it’s fully complete this project will bring in over 500 jobs and will be the mecca for retail in Starr County. We are excited and applaud the efforts of the Starr County Industrial Foundation, who never gave up on this project, created regional partnerships and with the support of the City of Rio Grande City and Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation made this a reality.”

For over 40 years the Starr County Industrial Foundation has been recognized as the prime motivating force for all economic development efforts directly or indirectly impacting Starr County. SCIF said strategic development planning for the “historic” Rio Grande Village project began over seven years ago.

“Aside from creating hundreds of jobs the project is also anticipated to infuse millions of dollars of new sales and ad valorem tax into the community. Phase I of the project is expected to break ground in the next few weeks and will continue with an aggressive recruitment and construction timeline,” SCIF stated.

In a news advisory issued last week, SCIF said Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony will be for the first phase of the retail portion of the project.

“While crews have begun preliminary site work on this approximately 90 acre development, the ceremony will mark the official beginning of this historic and highly anticipated venture,” the advisory stated.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the corner of Highway 83 and FM 755 across from Walmart in Rio Grade City at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 4.