SAN BENITO, Texas – The vice president and marketing manager of Edwards Abstract and Title Company says she was pleasantly surprised at the growth occurring in San Benito, Texas.

Edinburg-based Elva Jackson Garza visited the city as part of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership’s recent investment and commercialization tour.

“I was so impressed with the one we did in January in San Benito. You think of San Benito as just a little community. I had not been there in several years. I worked for a bank before and that was our corporate headquarters,” Jackson Garza said.

“But, boy, I will tell you what, things are happening in San Benito. It is exciting to see first hand what is going on. So, thank you to Sergio and the staff and Miss Maria. It is an outstanding program.”

Jackson Garza was referring to the co-organizers of the RGVP’s monthly tours of Valley communities. Namely, Sergio Contreras, the RGVP’s president and CEO, and Marie Garcia, public relations manager with Sames Engineering and Surveying.

Elva Jackson Garza

Jackson Garza made her comments at a luncheon held at the Hampton Inn in Weslaco on Feb. 23. The event was hosted by a committee of the RGV Partnership, RGV FIRST, which showcases the work of Valley engineers, architects and contractors. The luncheon was held to celebrate the “collaboration and success” of the cities and economic development corporations that participate in the RGVP’s investment and commercialization tours. 

The recent tour of San Benito included powerpoint presentations at the city’s EDC offices and a bus tour of various properties. At the end of the event, Rebeca Castillo, executive director of San Benito’s Economic Development Corporation, said she was pleased to see such a large turnout.

“We had an excellent program and an excellent tour. We kept the audience engaged. They asked good questions and, hopefully, we delivered the right information. The most important thing is to connect and build relationships. And to send the message out, San Benito is open for business,” Castillo said.

“Our guests were able to walk out with all the information on a USB drive. They know how to reach us, if they have any questions about investing and developing.”

Castillo said the level of interest in the RGVP’s investment and commercialization tours is rising. “While we were on the tour I was getting calls from reporters across the Valley.”

Castillo said there was particular interest in a parcel of land, measuring 138 acres, owned by the City of San Benito. “It is available for development, light industry, commercial or retail.”

In her remarks to those on the tour, Castillo explained the sectors her EDC is focused on. 

“We are working on manufacturing and industrial facilities, research and development laboratories such as biomedical and aerospace, warehouse and distribution, corporate headquarters, industrial park development, and incubator space and business resources.”

Castillo repeated that the best part of the event was the opportunity to network and collaborate. “It takes a village. We came together and we made it happen,” she said.

Marie Garcia

In addition to Castillo, presentations at the San Benito EDC offices were made by Carlos Buentello of Codysur Group, Bernard Rodriguez of the City of San Benito, Filemon Garza of Origo Works, Daniel Lucio of AEP, and independent broker Louie Tijerina. 

The bus tour included stops at Codysur, Resaca Village, and San Benito Plaza. 

Contreras, the president of RGVP, said he was thrilled to learn that 45 new businesses had opened in downtown San Benito, and that 300 new homes and six new subdivisions were under construction. 

Contreras agreed that interest in the investment and commercialization tours was growing. 

“We get calls from other areas, from other parts of the country. They see what you guys are doing in the Valley,” Contreras told those on the San Benito tour. “A lot of people are going to hear about this.”

Garcia, the public relations manager with Sames, spoke about the success of the tours at the Weslaco luncheon.

“Like Sergio said, these tours provide an amazing opportunity. It is a great platform for all of us to come together and showcase your city, your town, your EDC, everything that is happening,” Garcia said. “But, most importantly, to collaborate, all of us together, to showcase our region.”

At the San Benito event, Garcia gave a brief history of how the investment and commercialization tours started.

“This tour started about two and a half years ago. It was only for Hidalgo County. And only held once a a quarter. Then we collaborated and merged with Sergio and the RGV Partnership and, of course, with Sergio he kicked everything to the next level,” Garcia said.

“I am super excited we were able to merge. Prior to it coming under the Partnership it was something we were working on with the real estate industry but only residential. Then we went into commercial, and then we started showcasing EDCs.”

Garcia thanked Edwards Abstract and Title Company and other sponsors for making the tour a success.

Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service will be publishing a series of stories generated at the RGVP’s Weslaco luncheon. The first in the series will focus on the eBridge Center for Business and Commercialization in Brownsville. 

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows a Codysur Group truck.

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