EDINBURG – With more store grand openings scheduled this fall for the latest additions at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg's retail economy is predicted to continue strengthening, including maintaining its second-best ranking, based on the generation of the sales tax, among all cities in Hidalgo County.
Only McAllen, the longtime retail sales leader in South Texas with double Edinburg's population, remains ahead of Edinburg in this important economic indicator, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Through the first six months of 2012, Edinburg's retail economy generated almost $11 million in revenue from its sales tax, which represents combined money from the city's 1.5 cent local sales tax and the half-cent economic development sales tax, which is administered by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.
The sales tax is used statewide by local governments to help fund their operating budgets. In the case of Edinburg, a portion of the local sales tax revenue is used by the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, to help pay for vital economic development projects.
In its most recent update, released in early August, the state comptroller's office reported that the following amounts of local sales tax revenue have been raised between January 1 and June 30 of this year:
• McAllen: $40,158,804,51
• Edinburg: $10,992,724.19
• Mission: $9,783,235.41
• Pharr: $8,800,115.43
• Weslaco: $7,289,052.70.
Brownsville, the Valley's most populous city, has seen its retail economy generate more than $22.5 million in local sales tax during the first half of 2012, while Harlingen reports more than $13.8 million raised in local sales taxes during the same period, according to the comptroller's office.
Edinburg's positive retail showings come as more new businesses are set to come online, particularly at or near The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which is building on its earned reputation as one of the premier shopping venues in deep South Texas.
In the coming weeks, formal ceremonies celebrating additions to The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley will take place, including for Big Lots, Burkes Outlet, and Party City. During the past few months, GNC, Petcos, Anna's Linen, and Melrose Family Fashion have celebrated their respective grand openings.
These seven latest tenants are part of a 90,000-square-foot expansion, known as the West Wing, that has allowed The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley to approach 440,000 square feet in size – almost halfway to what will eventually become a 1.1 million square foot retail outdoor shopping mall.
Plans to expand by 90,000 square feet were first announced in the spring of 2011 by First Hartford Realty Corporation of Manchester, Connecticut, which is the developer of the shopping center.
Mayor Richard García, who also serves as the president of the EEDC's five-member governing board, said the West Wing addition has pumped in several million dollars more in construction activities for the local economy.
"Not only does The Shoppes help generate millions of dollars annually in local sales taxes for our community, along with payrolls for more than 100 full-time and part-time employees, this latest round of expansion represents about $4.3 million in new construction," the mayor noted.
The growth of The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley also is drawing other retail investments, García added.
Shavi Mahtani, president of Auriel Investments of McAllen, is completing work on Trenton Park Plaza, which is located on the south side of The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley.
Restaurants Siempre Natural, Wingstop, and Pizza Hut, along with telecommunication retail stores Cricket and Sprint, as well as Sally Beauty Supply and EZ Cuts, plus Fiesta Auto Insurance are among the tenants at Trenton Park Plaza. Those outlets are scheduled to open by the end of the year.
Also nearby is the new Bert Ogden Infinity dealership, set to open in September, which represents an almost $1 million investment for its construction, according to the city's Code Enforcement Department, which issues building permit for all construction activities in Edinburg.