McALLEN, TX-A Rio Grande Valley investment partnership and AmREIT will build a 400,000-sf shopping center on 42 acres in the dominant retail trade area of the city. The development tab is likely to be $30 million to $40 million.

AmREIT will handle development, construction and leasing for the investment group, El Pistolon II Ltd., led by Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia. Preston Cunningham, AmREIT’s vice president of development, tells that Garcia spent the last decade assembling the tract from banks and individuals who had inherited the land. The project site takes up the northeast corner of 10th and Dove streets on the north side of town, where Target, H-E-B and Home Depot have stores up and running.

Cunningham is talking with two national retailers to anchor the as-yet unnamed project, being designed by Larry Levinson of Houston. Meanwhile, development costs are still be worked up as is the final design. But, Cunningham says, comparable projects cost $30 million to $40 million to build. Infrastructure work has begun. A ground-breaking date has yet to be set, but the development team plans to deliver stores next year.

Cunningham is confident of the project’s success due to the city’s demographics. The US Census ranks McAllen as the 14th fastest growing city in the nation while Forbes magazine lists it in fifth place for job growth. “Our corner is located at the heart of this growth,” Cunningham says.

Garcia, the partnership’s managing member, said “we feel confident that our relationship with AmREIT will produce one of the highest quality retail corners in the Rio Grande Valley.

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