McALLEN – Jaime Muriel pointed at an empty piece of land where the second Il Forno a Legna will open come the fall. He was talking to his marketing manager Javier Sepulveda about how to maybe incorporate an outside patio.

Muriel, the president of the restaurant was on hand at the ground breaking for the 17,000-square-foot expansion of the Palms Crossing, the open-air promenade at the McAllen Convention Center campus.

With the expansion Il Forno a Legna will see an increase not only in square feet but also employees.

“We have right now over 30 employees,” Muriel said. “A restaurant this size I would expect we will have close to 50 employees.”

The addition of the second Il Forno a Legna will allow residents from Mission and beyond be closer to the restaurant which in turn will bring more people spending money within the city limits.

Also at the ground breaking of the expansion it was announced Cowboy Chicken will add a second location and Reserva Coffee Roasters will also open a shop at Palms Crossing.

As the consumer patterns for Palms Crossing change with the evolution of retail this project will stand out going forward because it offers community space, entertainment, food and a vibrant exciting safe location.

“As we continue to build we want to continue to work with the community and retailers to put together a project that will continue to draw local, regional and national offerings,” Senior Vice President of Development at Washington Prime Group Kevin Sims said. “It will create even more of a draw of a destination for the City of McAllen.”

This will not be the final phase for Palms Crossing as management is in talks to adding another 120,000 square feet of development. Currently they are actively marketing for anchor tenants that can fill a space of 15,000 square feet and above.