HARLINGEN, RGV – Now that the company has built a much-needed convention center for Harlingen, BC Lynd Hospitality will start constructing a hotel to go alongside it.

The founding principal of the company spoke about the plans at the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the convention center. 

“We are going to start construction of the 150-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel this week,” said Brandon S. Raney told RGV Public Radio 88 FM and the Rio Grande Guardian

Brandon S. Raney

“We have been planning it for the better part of two years. The hotel will be connected to the convention center. There will be 150 people employed at the peak of construction. And, there will be 45 permanent employees at the hotel.”

The Harlingen Convention Center is located at 701 Harlingen Heights Drive, just behind Sam’s Club. The facility has already served as the venue for the State of the City Address, school graduation, corporate events, and religious ceremonies. 

The last events center Harlingen built was in 1969 and that was the Tourist Center which is now called the Harlingen Community Center. 

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell said his city has been in dire need of a convention center for many years. 

“In the past we really did not have a way to invite people from out of the area into our community for major events. Now we can do that because we have a large facility, a first-class facility. It is going to lend itself to bringing large groups of people into our community.”

Asked what impact the convention center will have, Boswell said: “First of all, it gives Harlingen more exposure to a broader audience and also lends itself to having businesses in our community who have not been able to host large meetings or large training events. They will not have to go out of our community. 

“That all contributes to the bottom line because they will come in, they will eat at restaurants, they will stay in hotels, they will shop at Bass Pro Shop right next door or other retail venues that we have in our community. So, it is going to generate traffic into our community and that is a good thing.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony included a short ceremony and tours of the building. An evening event included event set-ups to demonstrate how the ballroom and meeting rooms can be used.

Raudel Garza, executive director of Harlingen Economic Development Corporation, said the convention center has been in the works for a number of years.

“It started many, many, years ago when the city started the Harlingen 2020 Comprehensive Plan. In that plan they identified several different quality of life projects that were a priority for the community. The mayor and the city commissioners have pushed to get that plan implemented and accomplished and this is just one of those projects that was years in the making,” Garza said.

Garza said credit must go to city leaders and staff at city hall. 

“There has been a lot of hard work from a lot of people at the city that put this together. They created partnerships with BC Lynd, one of the premier hotel developers in the state. It is a beautiful building and a beautiful place to have conferences, conventions, weddings, quinceañeras, you name it. We are excited about it.”

Editor’s Note: The slideshow photos were taken by the City of Harlingen and Mario Muñoz.