SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The city of San Benito has partnered with Western Spherical Developers, LLC to build the Rio Grande Valley Epicenter (RGVE). Phase one of construction begins on Oct. 23.
Currently, construction costs for phase one are estimated to be approximately $210 million. Inflation of materials cost and supply chain issues will influence the budget.
Although costing millions, the combination of private investment sources and additional financial support from local government development incentive programs means there will not be a raise in taxes or bonds for San Benito residents, according to RGVE Public Relations and Marketing Partner, Linda Merritt.
The RGVE is set to include family entertainment, retail, restaurants, live entertainment, a medical wellness center, interactive educational initiatives, and Class A office space.
“It’s to serve as an area for the community where the community can enjoy coming to the center to take care of personal needs and conveniences as well as a pleasure and enjoyment, so it enhances options for quality of life,” added Merritt.
For phase one, the construction, development, and operation of RGVE will create 319 full-time construction jobs and 758 direct and indirect full-time local jobs.
An additional 1,013 full-time jobs will be available in operation with the hotel and convention center. The job opportunities include hospitality, retail, office worker, and specialty services such as medical wellness.
Incorporated will also be technology to add forward-thinking, Rio Grande Valley culture, art, and internationality, according to Merritt.
“This project is a big game-changer for our economy. And, there is more to come,” said San Benito Mayor Ben Gomez in an RGVE press release.
Merritt said job creation numbers will grow significantly as construction continues on.
The goal of the Epicenter is to work with area training programs to support workforce training opportunities and skills to not only meet current job skills, but also work with companies to train workers with the advanced technical skills for industries such as aeronautics, medical professionals, and other growing industries in the RGV.
The concept for the RGVE started back in September 2018 with Western Spherical Developers, LLC Developer, David Miles. He was initially in conversation with the city of San Benito for a 20-acre project, but over time has developed into a 115-acre comprehensive, multi-use development.
There will be a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, Oct. 23 to celebrate the construction of phase one at 11 a.m. The site will be off FM 509/PasoReal near Interstate 69.
Completion of phase one is anticipated by early 2026. Initiation of phase 2 is anticipated to begin by the beginning of 2023 though. “The phases will overlap,” said Merritt.
Completion of phases two and three are still in the concept phase, so dates are subject to change.
During the 2019 Texas legislative session, an incentive program was passed qualifying economic development projects such as a hotel and convention center. Additional incentives are available from local economic development incentive programs such as Chapter 380.
In 2020, the San Benito City Council voted unanimously in favor of utilizing the Chapter 380 program thereby alleviating the need to issue bonds or increase taxes to residents of San Benito.
For more information on the RGVE, visit San Benito’s RGVE webpage.