MCALLEN, Texas – The size of the projects McAllen Economic Development Corporation is working on are getting bigger and bigger, reports the group’s president and CEO, Keith Patridge.
In his monthly president’s report, presented to the MEDC board of directors, Patridge said he and his team have been “extremely busy.”
“Lots of things are going on. Lots of really good things are going on,” Patridge said.
“We are actively working right now 29 companies in the report. Eighteen are for the U.S. side, three for the U.S. and Mexico both, twin plant, and then eight are on the Mexico side.”
Patridge said if these prospects turn into firm commitments it would mean thousands of new jobs for the McAllen area, along with a capital investment worth many tens of millions of dollars.
“So the companies that we’re seeing are getting much, much larger,” Patridge said. “Seven of those companies are new leads that we’ve just gotten in the last month so the activity is definitely picking up.”
The interest in investing in McAllen is global in reach, Patridge reported.
“The countries that these companies are coming from are the U.S., of course, the Philippines, Mexico, Spain, Korea, China, Italy and India. So it’s pretty well distributed around the globe.”
Patridge said he and his team have had to eliminate two companies from their activity report. One of those, from Minnesota, is not yet ready to move on its project. The other was lost to Brownsville because the right type of building was not available.
“We really still need buildings. Big time. We are selling out of an empty basket. So anyone that has an interest in building buildings, Enrique, we need them on the ground as quickly as possible.”
Patridge was half joking when he referenced Enrique. Enrique Castro, a leader in the maquiladora industry in Reynosa, is developing an industrial park off Military Highway in McAllen.
Patridge said great things are happening with Zoho, the software development company MEDC helped recruit to the region. Zoho has outgrown the building it is leasing in the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone, Patridge reported. He said Josh Mejia, president of McAllen Chamber of Commerce, is helping Zoho find bigger space.
“Thanks, Josh. We appreciate that a lot,” Patridge said of Mejia, who was at the board meeting. “It shows what we can do if we work together. That is very, very important.”
In his report to the board of directors, MEDC Vice President Ralph Garcia confirmed that big things are happening on the company recruitment front. Garcia focuses a lot of his work on securing more maquiladora plants in Reynosa. This, in turn, helps the Valley economy because suppliers to the maquiladoras often base themselves in the Valley.
Garcia reported that two Chinese manufacturing firms are looking at Mexico to establish a footprint.
“They’ve been directed, actually by Ford in this case, to re-shore and establish a presence in the United States or Mexico. So Mexico is on their vision list right now for where they would like to be. It is interesting to see that because a lot of companies are actually being pushed to relocate to North America. And so when you see those type of opportunities… they’re coming through quite a bit.”
Garcia also reported on a financial services company looking to move to McAllen.
“The customer contact center they are looking to set up, it is (worth) about 100 jobs. They went before (McAllen) city commission for an incentive review and it was approved. So they’re just finalizing their lease. We hope to commit them here in the next 30 days, I would guess, once the lease is executed.”
Garcia also spoke about a distribution and logistics company that is building one of the largest maquiladora in Reynosa. The company cannot be publicly named at present.
“It is 721,000 square feet. We actually coordinated a meeting with the state government and the CEO of the company. They’re looking at continued growth. In 2024 they plan to have another structure up at about 650,000 square feet. And then in 2025, start construction on the third,” Garcia said.
“So, for them it’s a distribution facility. It is all fulfillment (of orders). Everything gets shipped just like Amazon would in the United States. So, it is really interesting to see it in Mexico, especially with a large footprint.”
Garcia said Spring Windows Fashion, a plastic extrusion manufacturer, has already made a commitment to expand.
“We’ve had several meetings with the City of McAllen, with the planning department, as they’re looking at leasing a building,” Garcia said. “They have about 95,000 square feet and they’re going to expand to 140,000 square feet. We wanted to make sure that they were able to do that the way they wanted to. The City has been extremely helpful in executing that and getting that lease signed. So that’s one I will report as a commitment.”
Garcia said Spring Windows Fashion would be bringing 80 new jobs to McAllen from another part of the country.
In his report on Zoho, Garcia said the company “continues to see really strong growth.” He said: “I think the beauty of their project isn’t just the real estate that they’re taking, but it’s more the jobs they are creating. Because the skill sets that they are looking for, they are able to find them here. They’re excited about the growth opportunity. The numbers that we are re hearing from them in terms of total growth is really strong.”
In her capacity as MEDC vice president, Susie Flores focuses on U.S. operations. Flores reported that a solar farm company from Spain and Italy visited her last month.
“The project is moving forward. They have already identified about five properties and on two of them they have already submitted an LOI (Letter of Intent). They’re very excited about being here in our region. And they actually increased their project footprint. So, hopefully once they get everything in line, we’ll be able to announce something in the next couple of months,” Flores said.
Flores also reported on a company in the automotive and home insurance sector that is looking to open a customer care center in McAllen.
“I met with them last month and they’re actually moving forward pretty fast. Their corporate office is in the Philippines and they’re getting ready. They already submitted an LOI and they’re negotiating some facilities,” Flores said.
“We’re very excited about that. We should have an announcement hopefully by the end of this month or next month.”
On her business retention and expansion report, Flores said Trostel Texas, a manufacturer of zinc products, continues to grow. “They’re actually looking to hire more management positions, including plant managers. So I’ve been helping them with that.”
Flores also spoke about Denso Ten, which inspects radios for Toyota vehicles.
“They continue to promote our area. They’re looking to attract more of their suppliers to come here to McAllen. So I’ve been assisting them with the information they have been requesting.”
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