We’ve all been there. During the holidays, finding parking at La Plaza Mall was once a notoriously unpleasant obstacle between patrons and their favorite stores. Fortunately, shoppers this season will be able to enjoy two new parking facilities with a total of 2,000 additional parking spaces, as a part of La Plaza Mall’s $50 million expansion project.
Earlier this year, a 740-space parking garage connected to Macy’s was installed, and on Friday, the mall debuted a 1,260 parking deck connected to Dillard’s. Throughout the month, the more than 40 new retailers and five new restaurants will begin to open as well.
“I think this is going to make it a lot easier for people to come in and enjoy,” said Robert Luciano, general manager of La Plaza Mall.
Apart from the new shopping options, all of the entrances of the mall have also been renovated. Lighting and flooring across the facility have been revamped as well. Though, the parking expansion seems to resonate the most amongst patrons.
“This is the largest parking garage in McAllen, which makes it the largest parking garage in the county, and probably the largest in South Texas,” said McAllen mayor Jim Darling at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning.
“It’s more than a parking garage; it’s a sign of commitment,” Darling said.
In the past two years sales tax revenues in the City of McAllen have gone down 3-4 percent with less shoppers from Mexico coming to the city. Despite that, McAllen still has the highest per capita sales tax revenue in Texas, said McAllen City Manager, Roy Rodriguez.
“For our city’s size, we bring in revenue that cities double our size can’t do,” Rodriguez said. “It’s over half of our general fund.”
“We’ve been talking about an expansion to the mall even before the sales tax revenue went down. However, when we began building we did start to see that downward trend,” he said. “We feel that this might help us get back on track… We feel good about where it’s going to take our economy.”
Though, this season, and specifically on Black Friday, La Plaza Mall seeks to expand their reach past just the typical Mexican shoppers that visit that this of year.
“(The expansion) will hopefully bring some additional traffic not just from Mexico but also some domestic tourism that we’re expecting,” said Isabel Saenz, director of Marketing & Business Development for Simon Property Group.