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Edinburg’s 5.4 percent unemployment rate for August 2016 reflects 995 more jobs than August 2015, Texas Workforce Commission reports

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Featured: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Friday, August 26, 2016, gave welcoming remarks for the university’s first Project Sin Fronteras banquet, hosted by the UTRGV Office of Sustainability at the Embassy Suites McAllen Convention Center. Rodríguez is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC, its Board of Directors, the Edinburg Mayor and the Edinburg City Council lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents 0n behalf of UTRGV and its School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Edinburg and McAllen were the only two Valley cities which posted unemployment rates under 5.5 percent during the month of August 2016, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which also reported on Friday, September 16, 2016, that Edinburg saw a growth of almost 1,000 jobs when comparing employment in August 2016 with August 2015. Edinburg’s 5.4 percent unemployment rate for August 2016 is the same as the August 2015 level (5.4 percent), and both of those figures were the best for that month since August 2008, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. McAllen’s 5.3 percent unemployment rate for August 2016 was the best showing among all Valley cities for that month. The Texas Workforce Commission reported that there were 36,091 people employed in Edinburg during the month of August 2016. That performance represents an increase of 995 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for August 2016 (36,091) and August 2015 (35,096). The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

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Edinburg construction passes $166 million from January through August 2016, with $2.5 million Bob’s Steak & Chop House the most valuable structure issued a building permit that month

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Featured: An interior view of a Bob’s Steak & Chop House, the Dallas-based steakhouse system which has a presence in San Francisco, Tuscon, Nashville, and numerous other locations, and soon, in New York City and Edinburg. Bob’s unique atmosphere combines the old world elegance of rich mahogany booths, a polished bar and white, crisp table linens with modern, business casual attire. Celebrated by a loyal, repeat clientele, as well as new customers seeking more than just a restaurant, the highly-rated steakhouse, which will open locally in 2017, received a building permit from Edinburg’s Code Enforcement Department for the most valuable construction project in August 2016, worth $2.5 million.

Image Courtesy BOB’S STEAK & CHOP HOUSE

Construction and related building activities in Edinburg from January through August 2016 have passed the $166 million level, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has reported, with the month of August 2016 accounting for more than $13.8 million of that amount. The top construction projects in Edinburg for August 2016, not including the value of the land, are: $2,500,000 – First Hartford Realty Corp., 613 E. Trenton Road, The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley Subdivision; $300,000 – Jacob & Jonathan Innovative Construction, 2302 Holland Avenue, Jackson Heights Subdivision; $289,000 – Timoteo Salinas, 4919 June Drive, Summerfield Manor Subdivision; $288,147 – Juan G. Soto, 707 Casa Vieja Street, Tierra Divina Estates Subdivision; and $275,000 – Israel Mata, 1131 N. Monmack Road, Monmack Terrace #2 Subdivision.First Hartford Realty Corp.’s building permit for work value at $2.5 million is for the construction of a 9,000 square-foot Bob’s Steak & Chop House, which will serve as the featured anchor of a 25,000 square-foot restaurants plaza at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. The ground breaking ceremony for First Hartford’s Bob’s Steak & Chop House is tentatively set for Tuesday, October 18, 2016, with the grand opening set for Spring 2017, said Peter Higgins, Vice President/Director of Leasing for Leasing at First Hartford Corporation. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Agustín García, Jr., are not related.

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“Nothing stops a Trane” – or Edinburg – as worldwide firm to set up shop locally and create up to 200 jobs at Owassa Lakes Business Park

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Featured: A frontal view of  the 50,000 square-foot building that will feature a Trane dealer sales office and warehouse, which is set to open on October 1, 2016 at the Owassa Lakes Business Park in Edinburg.

Photograph By DANIEL J. GALVÁN, CCIM

Edinburg is joining San Antonio and Austin as the latest sites for Trane, a world leader in air conditioning systems, services and solutions, to open company-owned dealer sales office and warehouse complexes that locally will eventually create as many as 200 jobs at the Owassa Lakes Business Park, located near Interstate Highway 69C. The announcement, made by leaders with Trane, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Coldwell Banker Commercial, brings with it more positive news – the business park, which was first built in 2000, will now be at 100 percent occupancy, allowing CTC Distribution Ltd., which owns the complex, to begin planning for another 50,000 square-foot expansion. “‘Nothing stops a Trane’ is the famous slogan for this U.S.-based, global company, which sees Edinburg and deep South Texas as the place to be and in which to invest millions of dollars,” said Mayor Richard García. “Well, nothing stops Edinburg in protecting and promoting economic development in our city, from the Mom-and-Pop small businesses to the giants of industry, such as Trane, and many other Fortune1,000 businesses which have a strong and proud presence in our rapidly growing hometown.”

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Edinburg’s retail economy in July 2016 showed more than a 3.4 percent improvement over July 2015, and almost 5 percent growth year-to-date

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Board members, students, teachers, and staff with the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, along with other community leaders, including Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, recognized Sgt. Francisco Barrientes on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, during a public celebration of the 10th anniversary of naming Barrientes Middle School in his honor. Featured, from left: ECISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez; ECISD School Board Member Carmen González; Alex Ríos, District Director for State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Sgt. Francisco Barrientes; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina; Robert López, Principal, Barrientes Middle School; Eva T. Torres, ECISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction; and ECISD School Board Member Ellie M. Torres, the immediate past Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Mayor Pro Tem Molina is one of two veterans who serve on City Council. Mayor Richard H. García is also a U.S. Army veteran.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Edinburg’s retail economy during July 2016 showed a more than 3.4 percent improvement over July 2015, which was the second-best showing among all major Valley cities – and much better than the statewide average for all cities in Texas, which was down 1.6 percent from the same month last year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. For the first seven months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – also remained healthy, showing an almost five percent improvement over January through July 2015. During the first seven months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $15,890,309.11 in local sales taxes, compared with $15,140,562.15 for January through July 2016, representing an improvement of 4.95 percent.For July 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $1,601,962.79 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,549,113.91 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 3.41 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg EDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Elías Longoria, Jr., Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski.

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UT System Board of Regents approve $35.6 million for construction of Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus, Edinburg EDC announces

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Featured: Second from left, Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, meets with students at the Edinburg campus on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, as part of celebrations marking the first anniversary of UTRGV, which was the result of state legislation in 2013 that brought together the resources of UT Pan American in Edinburg, UT-Brownsville, and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg and Harlingen. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, helped lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for the creation of UTRGV, which also includes a School of Medicine with a major campus in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

About a week before The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg celebrated its first anniversary, the UT System Board of Regents approved a major plan that will lead to the construction of the latest state-of-the-art facility on the local campus – the $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building. Meeting in Austin on Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25, 2016, the nine-member governing board, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, unanimously gave the go-ahead to the design development of the 53,400 gross square foot facility, which is being built to increase the number of engineering students, said Edinburg Mayor Richard García. The timeline for the project includes issuing the Notice to Proceed in March 2017, with substantial completion anticipated by November 2018. “According to the UT System Board of Regents agenda, this new facility will include six engineering teaching labs, two discipline-specific computer labs, eight 60-seat general classrooms, offices for faculty and staff, and support spaces for graduate and doctoral students,” said the mayor. According to UT System and UTRGV leaders, among the key goals of the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building are: Increase engineering enrollment by 48% from 3,076 to 4,553 by 2028; Increase number of laboratory seats by 40% from 2,771 to 3,879 by 2028; and Reduce teaching space deficit by 32,233 assignable square feet (ASF). Additionally, the project will include an outdoor area to be used as a gathering and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events. The $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building will located just adjacent to the west Physical Science Building, which will be abandoned and demolished.

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South Texas International Film Festival 2016 among items on agenda on Tuesday, August 30, for Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors

08_28_16 ___ South Texas International Film Festival 2016 among items on agenda on Tuesday, August 30, for Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

Featured: Hollywood stars David Barrera, originally from San Juan, and his actress wife, María Canals-Barrera, will highlight South Texas International Film Festival 2016. This year marks the second anniversary of the event and the City of Edinburg is proud to welcome two of Hollywood’s finest.

Photograph Courtesy DANIEL MICHAEL SEKULA MEMORIAL LIBRARY

With multi-million dollar movie theaters already part of the growing entertainment industry in the city – including the Valley’s first IMAX set to open for business early next year – the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday, August 30, 2016, will consider a plan to help sponsor the second-annual South Texas International Film Festival 2016. The South Texas International Film Festival and Conference 2016 will be held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance on Friday, September 9, and Saturday, September 10, with a special Opening Night Screening to take place at Carmike 20 Cinemas in Edinburg the evening of Thursday, September 8. For more details about the South Texas International Film Festival, or to get involved, call Arts Coordinator, Magdiel Alfonso at (956) 383-6246 or visit http://www.stxff.us. In addition, the Board of Directors of the Edinburg EDC – which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council – in open session will also review the proposed budget for the upcoming year, consider the election of officers for the five-member governing board, and review possible action relating to agreements/contracts with the City of Edinburg regarding the purchase of surplus property and real property.

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Edinburg, UTRGV to serve as sites on Friday, September 9, 2016 for 50th anniversary celebration of 1966 melon strike by Texas farmworkers that resulted in more rights for labor and Hispanics

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Featured: Leaders gathered in front of the Hidalgo County Courthouse in Edinburg in support of migrant farmworkers from the Rio Grande Valley during the 1966 melon strike that featured a walk from Starr County through Edinburg to Austin seeking better working conditions and pay for workers, which helped ignite the Chicano Movement in Texas.

Photograph Courtesy LA UNÍON DEL PUEBLO ENTERO (LUPE)

Edinburg and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Friday, September 9, 2016, will serve as sites for the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1966 melon strike by Texas farmworkers that resulted in more civil rights for labor and Hispanics, and helped ignite the Chicano Movement in Texas.The event, which is being hosted by the United Farmworkers, will begin at 9 a.m. at the courtyard of the International Trade and Technology Building at the Edinburg university, 1201 West University Drive. At 9:30 a.m., participants will continue with a march to the Edinburg City Hall Courtyard, followed by a program inside the adjacent City Auditorium, located at 415 W. University Drive, beginning at 10 a.m. The announcement of the upcoming celebration came on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, during the public comment portion of the Edinburg City Council meeting at Edinburg City Hall. As part of that news, Mayor Richard García and the City Council – Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember J.R. Betancourt, and Councilmember David Torres – unanimously approved a city proclamation recognizing the impact and importance of the 1966 melon strike on the Valley and Texas. García also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

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Texas Tribune hosting free ‘Conversation’ with Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Canales and Rep. Guerra at UTRGV in Edinburg on Friday, August 26 from 11:30 a.m to 1 p.m.

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Featured, from left: Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; and Claudia and Matthew Martínez of McAllen, on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at the Legislative Report Card luncheon, hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, at the Embassy Suites in McAllen.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

The Texas Tribune will host a free, open-to-the-public lunchtime event — A Conversation with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and State Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra — from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, August 26, at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Edinburg campus. The event will be held in the Community Engagement and Student Success (CESS) Building, located at 407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Drive, near the UTRGV campus in Edinburg. Parking will be available in front of the building (parking pass required; map).  General registration is open at texastribune.org/events. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Conversation begins promptly at 12 p.m. The discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A session. A light lunch will be provided. This session is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, supported by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas and hosted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Additional support is provided by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. This series of conversations is generously sponsored by AT&T, BP, PepsiCo, Walmart and Southwest Airlines, the official airline of Texas Tribune Events. The conversation will be live streamed at texastribune.org/livestream, and the video will be available for viewing afterward. Evan Smith, the Texas Tribune’s co-founder and CEO, will serve as the moderator for the event.

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Edinburg’s 5.5 percent unemployment rate for July 2016 is best showing for that month in the Valley, reports EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr.

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Featured: Approximately 5,000 teachers and staff attended the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District’s General Assembly on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at the McAllen Convention Center. The school district is the largest employer in the city and in Hidalgo County. Ellie M. Torres, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Edinburg school district.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

For the second time this year, Edinburg registered the lowest unemployment rate among Valley cities, coming in at 5.5 percent for July 2016, tied with McAllen, according to statewide figures posted on Friday, August 19, 2016 by the Texas Workforce Commission. Edinburg’s 5.5 percent figure also represents the best showing for that month in the city since July 2008 (5.4 percent), the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Edinburg and McAllen, with their respective 5.5 percent monthly unemployment rates, along with Harlingen (5.9 percent), were the only three cities in deep South Texas to post figures for July 2016 under six percent, the Texas Workforce Commission also found. In addition, the Texas Workforce Commission reported that there were 35,655 people employed in Edinburg during the month of July 2016. That performance represents an increase of 567 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for July 2016 (35,655) and July 2015 (35,088). The state’s unemployment rate in July 2016 was 5.1 percent, compared with 4.8 percent during the same month in 2015.

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Edinburg construction passes $152 million from January through July 2016, with The Heights, a $19 million, 128 units affordable housing complex, the most valuable investment for July

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Featured, from left: McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernández, M.D.; and University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven on Thursday, August 11, 2016 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. The leaders participated in a panel discussion about the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, which has a major component in Edinburg. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation played key roles in 2013 in securing a full-fledged medical school from the Texas Legislature for deep South Texas. In July 2016, the first class of medical students began their education at the $54 million Medical Education Building, which is located on the UTRGV campus in Edinburg.

Photograph By DAVID PIKE

Construction and related building activities in Edinburg from January through July 2016 have passed the $152 million level, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has reported, with the month of July 2016 accounting for almost $21 million of that amount. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. Combined, building permits from January through July 2016 were issued for work valued at $152,426,011 compared with $78,554,684 for the same seven months in 2015. During July 2016, building permits for work valued at $20,681,153 were issued by the city, compared with $13,330,130 in July 2015. The top construction projects in Edinburg for July 2016, not including the value of the land, are: $9,430,920 – Wisconsin Street Housing LP, 2132 E. Wisconsin Rd., John Closner Subdivision; $2,800,000 – Edinburg Village Apartments, 701 S. 4th Avenue, Maverick Subdivision; $960,000 – Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, 1202 N. Monmack Rd., Tex-Mex Subdivision; and $379,259 – South Texas Independent School District, 510 S. Sugar Rd., Tex-Mex Subdivision.

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