After several delays, construction of the Bert Ogden Arena is expected to be complete late this spring.
The latest timeline and upgrades were presented at Tuesday’s city council meeting in Edinburg.
“From the original plan we’ve almost doubled the size of the arena,” said RGV Vipers and Cantu Construction Owner, Alonzo Cantu. “We decided it would a be better financial investment for the city and for us to be more flexible as far as size and attendance, up to 9 -10 thousand,”
Groundbreaking for the arena was back in February 2015. It was originally intended to be a $60 million project, but turned into a nearly $90 million investment.
The construction of the arena is funded through a public/private partnership.
The city is investing $30 million, which came from a tax increment reinvestment zone—meaning, no money is being used from the city’s general fund.
Cantu is funding the remaining $30 million, plus the $28 million in additions. The city will reimburse him $8 million for those add-on expenses.
“What you’ll have there is, basically we are getting together, we are supposed to pay 50 / 50 for the project,” said Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina. “At the end of the day, we are going to rent it back to them and they’ll pay $350,000 a month, all year, for the next 30 years,”
The city will own the arena, however, Cantu will have full control of the facility and retain all revenues for the 30-year lease term.
Over the past two years, 137 weather days and 180 infrastructure days have pushed the project back. Hurricane Harvey also played a factor.
Since the plan was finalized, almost 30 upgrades have been added, including a state-of-the-art video board, parking, and suites.
“We just want to see it boom, we just want to see it prosper,” added Molina. “We know that it’s something that no other place will be this big in the entire RGV.”
The estimated economic impact for the city is around $230 million for the first year the arena is open to the public and $76 million every year after that.
It’s also expected to bring about 1,500 jobs to the Valley.
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