Here is the video:

MCALLEN, Texas – Hanna Solutions, a McAllen-based real estate agency, and Silva, Otting & Silva, a Harlingen-based urban planning and management consultancy firm, have joined forces to produce a high-quality video to promote the Rio Grande Valley.

The three minute video aims to attract investors to the region and features its international bridges, the Port of Brownsville, UT-Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M University, SpaceX, its three international airports, and South Padre Island. 

The video says the region has “exploded with growth and innovation.” It points out that the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area is now the fifth largest MSA in Texas, with approximately 875,000 people. The Brownsville-Harlingen MSA is home to approximately 425,000 people. An additional one million people live just across the Rio Grande, the video states.

“Real estate investors today looking for unsaturated markets have a rare window of opportunity to ride the next big wave,” the commentary on the video states. 

“The Rio Grande Valley checks the boxes on the three fundamental indicators that are essential for any solid investment strategy, GDP growth, employment growth and population growth.”

The video concludes with this message: “Imagine having the opportunity to invest in Houston or San Antonio five to ten years before they became the thriving metropolis that they are today. The Valley is not just where the Rio Grande River flows. But where the smart Texas money flows as well.”

Overcoming negative publicity

The Hanna Solutions-Silva, Otting & Silva video comes out just as the Valley is having to grapple with negative publicity caused by the ongoing Central American migrant surge. At last week’s 7th Annual Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico conference, border leaders were asked if the coverage is hurting inward investment.

“Does media reporting on the region’s migration issues negatively affect the border’s reputation and make economic development more difficult?” asked panel moderator Britton Mullen, president of the Border Trade Alliance.

Sergio Contreras, president and CEO, of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, was one of the panelists. He said, yes, the coverage does impact the region. “However, we as organizations need to continue to educate folks,” Contreras said. 

Events such as the Mexico Institute’s 7th Annual Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico conference gives the Valley the opportunity to spread the word that “our economy continues to grow,” Contreras said.

Valley leaders and institutions need to be “honest and transparent” with the challenges the region faces, Contreras said.

Sergio Mendoza, president of economic development for the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, also answered Britton’s question. He said coverage of the migrant issue is hurting the border region.

“Actually, in the northern states of the U.S. we get a bad wrap and I don’t think it is fair. Most of these immigrants come from other countries, not from Mexico. Wages in Mexico have been going up. The incentives for Mexicans to go illegally into the U.S. are less and less and less,” Mendoza said.

“And you have seen the net migration flow become negative in the last few years from Mexico, not from the south border. This is a public relations issue that we need to work on, both of us. It is a complex problem. The border is complex. It has many faces and we need to address it one by one.”

Hector Cerna is president and CEO of IBC Bank in Eagle Pass, was also a panelist at the Mexico Institute conference. He, too, answered Britton’s question.

“The reality is that those of us that live and work on the border understand that it is not a war zone and if you look at some of the talking heads on TV… regardless of which channels you are looking at, the reality is that it is really blown out of proportion. It is a bad wrap for the border and it does affect our investment,” Cerna said.

“Unfortunately, we don’t operate as a one city, two countries format today and we should, going forward. We live it but we don’t have demographic information on the U.S. side, so it is hard to attract, sometimes, investors who don’t understand that in certain communities you have 60 or 70 percent of your retail sales coming from folks that today cannot cross. So, the bad publicity, particularly from all the other states adversely affects investment on the border.”

Quality journalism takes time, effort and…. Money!

Producing quality journalism is not cheap. The coronavirus has resulted in falling revenues across the newsrooms of the United States. However, The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service is committed to producing quality news reporting on the issues that matter to border residents. The support of our members is vital in ensuring our mission gets fulfilled. 

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