Today is a great day for our home town. This groundbreaking represents years of planning and years of hardwork and years of negotiations. 

It means that several stars have aligned and I say that because this development wasn’t a typical land development deal where the developer buys property and simply develops it in the traditional way. 

Rio Grande City, Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation, Starr County, Starr County Industrial Foundation and St. Ives Realty hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 4, 2019, for the $40 million Rio Grande Village retail development project in Rio Grande City. (Photo courtesy of Starr County Industrial Foundation).

It required the land to be sold at a price that was affordable and would work for the deal. This deal required that the land be raised two to five feet in order to remove the property from the flood zone, which was another big challenge. It required that the rail that runs in front of the property be removed, which required the rail owner to agree not only to remove the rail but to relocate his rail yard completely. It needed tise FM 755 extension project to improve accessibility and access points to the development. And all that costs money, which increases risk, and decreases interest in that investment.

So, the city first sought help from EDA and from the EDA they got roughly one and a quarter million dollars of help from them. Then Rio Grande City EDC agreed to pitch in a little over two and a quarter million (dollars), and then the city agreed to pitch in another million (dollars) in in-kind infrastructure. And then the county also agreed to contribute a million in tax abatements. For a total of well over six million dollars in investment into the deal. 

Even with all of that, getting the project financed was still a challenge for the developer. But in the end, this development will bring roughly 20 new businesses to our town and, hopefully, much more investment in terms of industrial investment at the back end of the property. It will provide hundreds of jobs. It will significantly increase property tax revenue for our local taxing districts, and it will significantly increase sales tax revenue for our city. And that means more resources for our hospital and our college. More resources for filling potholes and paving streets, for more aerial lighting in our community, and to better compensate and recruit more first responders to our community. 

Today is a great day for Rio Grande. Today is a great day for our home town and our community. It is a great day because of what it represents for the future of our community. Congratulations to our local leadership and all those who have had a hand in this project.

Congratulations to the people of Rio Grande and thank you for allowing Dalinda and I to be part of this and for the opportunity to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives. Congratulations again. God Bless You All.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary is based on the remarks state Rep. Ryan Guillen made at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $40 million Rio Grande Village retail development project in his hometown of Rio Grande City, Texas. In his remarks Rep. Guillen referenced his wife, Dalinda Guillen, who heads the Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column is the first in a three-part series on the new $40 million Rio Grande Village retail development project that is being overseen by St. Ives Realty.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows state Rep. Ryan Guillen speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $40 million Rio Grande Village retail development project. (Photo courtesy of Starr County Industrial Foundation).