Resaca-side Development to break ground in San Benito, TX

Article originally was published in the Valley Morning Star on March 1, 2019.

Resaca-side Development to break ground in San Benito


SAN BENITO — For decades, it was a dream.

Now, development is finally coming to the banks of the resaca.

Early this month, Varco Real Estate is expected to launch a multimillion-dollar project to build a boardwalk featuring restaurants and retail shops on the resaca off Business 77.

As part of the two-phase project, developer Carlos Varela is planning a commercial development of as many as 80,000 square feet along a nearly 10-acre site across from the Heavin Resaca Trail.

Today, the Brownsville-based developer is expected to present city officials with engineering plans for the $5 million to $7 million project to build the retail plaza and waterfront boardwalk, said Benito De Leon, superintendent of OrigoWorks, Varco’s design and construction firm, which is building much of Stuart Place Crossing in Harlingen.

“It shows exactly what we’re doing underground as far as sewer and water,” De Leon said.

After city officials review the plans, construction will start, he said.

“We are allowing the city about a week to look at our plans,” De Leon said.

Rebeca Castillo, executive director of the San Benito Economic Development Corporation, said the area’s first resaca-side development “definitely puts San Benito on the map.”

“It’s a game-changer in terms of San Benito moving forward and creating business opportunities,” Castillo said.

For decades, city leaders have dreamed of developing commercial property along the resaca.

“This opens the way to create this kind of setup along the water,” Castillo said. “For the Resaca City, it definitely makes sense.”

Under the lease agreement, Varco will pay the city 10 percent of the property’s annual assessed value.

Castillo said construction is expected to start March 11.

But De Leon said construction might even begin earlier.

“You’ll see a lot of work — utility work,” De Leon said. “We’re going to start clearing the site — start grating. We’ll start by excavating dirt, bringing in back fill and leveling.”

Phase 1

The project’s first phase is expected to be completed within about seven months, De Leon said.

“One reason they’re splitting up the whole project is because it’s 70,000 to 80,000 square feet,” he said. “It’s not a good image to have half your project filled. So you build the first phase, fill it and do the second phase.”

Architect Javier Huerta, the project’s designer, has experience in waterfront developments, De Leon said.

“He is a very gifted young man when it comes to that,” he said.

De Leon said the first phase will include a building housing a branch of Texas Regional Bank, of which Varela is a director, as well as a retail plaza and a resaca-side development.

The plaza will include eight to 10 spaces for retail shops that could include Russo’s New York Pizzeria, Tropical Smoothie Café and Orangetheory Fitness, De Leon said.

In Harlingen and Brownsville, Varco’s developments also feature some of these businesses.

Meanwhile, the waterfront boardwalk will feature four or five pads for restaurants and retail shops, he said.

“Those will all be free-standing,” De Leon said. “It will have a deck where people can sit and look at the resaca.”

Phase 2

De Leon said he did not have a timetable for the project’s second phase.

The second phase will include one or two buildings offering retail and office space, a retail strip center and four or five pads along the boardwalk, he said.

“It’s definitely significant and impactful in terms of economic development and vitality for San Benito,” Castillo said.

Neighbors watching

The project site stands across the resaca from the North Shore subdivision, where some neighbors welcome the development while others are concerned waterfront restaurants could ruffle some of their peace and quiet.

About Varco

Since 2003, Varco has developed real estate property, with projects in Texas, Arizona and Mexico.

Varela, a partner in the real estate firm as well as in OrigoWorks, a design-build architectural firm, is also director of IBEX Business Solutions.

From 2005 through June, he had served as a partner and director with Pronto Insurance, with more than 100 locations in Texas.

How we got here

In 2013, the city’s EDC used $900,000 from a $1.2 million federal grant to buy the 9.8-acre property planned as the site of a so-called resaca boardwalk featuring shops and restaurants near a museum complex.

Later, the city scrapped the project after officials determined a previous grant stipulated the proposed museum, to house the San Benito History Museum, the Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame and Museum and the Freddy Fender Museum, be built off Heywood Street.

Posted on March 1, 2019 .

San Benito EDC partners with Texas Heritage Independence Celebration Association (THICA)

San Benito EDC Partners with Texas Heritage Independence Celebration Association

Press Release February 27, 2019

The San Benito Economic Development Corporation is partnering with the Texas Heritage and Independence Celebration Association (THICA) to bring the Annual Texas Independence Celebration and BBQ Cook Off once again to San Benito, TX! The San Benito EDC is assisting with marketing fund to assist in the promotion of this event. This San Benito EDC is excited to be part of this collaboration effort along with its hosting organization-THICA, City of San Benito, San Benito CISD, and the Humanities of Texas.
This event is one of a few of its kind in Texas and has been held in San Benito for over 10 years. It annually attracts thousands of people from throughout the state such as Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston; and also from other states such as Idaho, Ohio, Washington State, Minnesota, and Tennessee.
The San Benito EDC and other partners invite you to attend this year’s event, which attracts thousands of people into our city and potentially generate sales tax revenues that the City and the San Benito EDC may use and reinvest in the community. In addition, this great event also provides education and exposure to people of all ages about history, culture, heritage via symposium, celebration, and active participation (reenactment) of three (3) battles that represent the struggle for independence by the Republic of Texas, against the forces of Mexican General Santa Ana.
“The continued and strong partnership between the San Benito EDC, THICA, City of San Benito, San Benito CISD, and Humanities of Texas is a clear indicator of the great collaboration efforts and interest to maximize economic development opportunities for San Benito, TX” said Rebeca Castillo, EDC Executive Director. She also added that “the EDC’s Board of Directors is enthusiastic to see the continuous growth of this event and will continuously be working with the THICA and other hosting organizations so that together we may maximize the use of sales tax dollars, but also on the gradual process to make events of this nature self-sustainable.”
This year the event will quick start with a symposium on Saturday, March 2, 2019 and will be followed with its main event on Saturday, March 9, 2019, which will have great activities such as the Market Fair, Three Battle Reenactments, Food, Live Music, and BBQ Cook-Off. For more information about this event please visit the THICA website at or by calling (956) 622-0046.

Posted on February 27, 2019 .

Notice of Public Hearing & 60 day comment period on the use of type b funds for the Small Business Investment Program

A notice of public hearing & 60 day Comment Period on the use of type b funds for the Small Business Investment Program.

The San Benito EDC, hereby gives notice, pursuant to the Texas Local Government Code, Sec. 505.160, will conduct a sixty (60) day comment period that opened on February 22, 2019 and will close on April 22, 2019 for the consideration to use type b sales tax funds for the following project/activity:

The Small Business Investment Program in the amount of $83,000 for Fiscal Year 2019 (October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019).  Requested funds will be used to offer financial assistance to businesses that would like to open or relocate their operations or expand their operations into the Downtown designated corridor.

The Small Business Investment Program supports the following grants:

  • Commercial Façade Improvement Grant will provide financial assistance to property owners or business tenants in downtown San Benito, seeking to renovate or restore storefront facades, signage, or paint;

  • Rent Subsidy Program will provide assistance to key business activities (retail, dining/arts/entertainment) that choose to locate within the San Benito Downtown designated corridor.

The goals of the Small Business Investment Program encourage property investment that directly relates to improving the aesthetics of building and places in the designated/eligible areas of San Benito, TX;  Expand business employment opportunities in existing and deteriorated structures; Enhance the visitors experience within our city attractions that are within the designated/eligible corridor; Help new an existing businesses succeed by enhancing their curb appeal; Increase commercial property values; and increase sales and/or revenue for the property owner or tenant.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 31, 2019 at 5:30 PM at the Cesar Gonzalez Meeting room located inside City Hall, 401 North Sam Houston Blvd, San Benito, TX 78586.  Note that funding for the Small Business Investment Program requires approval by the San Benito EDC Board of DIrectors and the San Benito City Commission.

For additional information, the public may contact Rebeca Castillo, EDC Executive Director, via email at or via phone at (956) 361-3804 Ext 304.  The public is encouraged to attend.  Accommodations for individuals with handicap/disabilities shall be provided upon calling (956) 361-3804 Ext 304.


Posted on November 9, 2017 .

Main Street Coordinator and Museum Coordinator positions are filled.


Mr. Luis Contreras has accepted the position of Musuem Coordinator.  He will be working with the City of San Benito and the Museum groups to cultivate and promote the San Benito Cultural & Heritage Museum.  Mr. Bernard Rodriguez has accepted the position of Main Street Coordinator.  He will be working with the City of San Benito using the Downtown Development Plan to bring business back to the downtown area of the City.

Posted on May 8, 2017 .

San Benito Market Days

San Benito Market Days is back starting Saturday October 8, 2016 from 9 am - 1 pm at Heavin Memorial Park.  Vendor spaces available until Wednesday October 5, 2016.  Visit the Events tab for more information.

Posted on October 3, 2016 .

Conjunto Hall of Fame: Seven honorees to be inducted at ceremony

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 10:43 pm

Staff Writer Valley Morning Star

SAN BENITO — Seven music legends will join the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame tomorrow. 
This year’s annual induction ceremony, sponsored by the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum, will honor Carlos Guzman, Manuel Gonzales Davila, Sr., Bernardo Martinez, Jr., Juan Antonio Tapia, Manuel Solis, Amado Banda and Arturo Nino.
Nino, also known as “El Kromatiko” for his mastery of the accordion, distinguished himself on the chromatic button accordion in the conjunto circuit where most button accordionists favored the diatonic models.
He has played bajo sexto with Los Dos Gilbertos, Los Cautitos Cantu, Ruben Vela and Gilbert Perez. His own group is called Arturo Nino y sus Kromatikos, and features Nino on accordion.
After the band broke up, Nino returned to the dancehall circuit in 2000.
After a career spanning more than 50 years, Guzman has recorded more than 40 albums and singles. He became famous as the lead singer of Carlos Guzman y los Fabulosos Cuatro.

Read more at The Valley Morning Star

Posted on June 20, 2015 .

New hotel, conference center to be built in San Benito

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 12:29 pm

By Kayleigh Sommer, Staff writer Valley Morning Star

A new $19 million dollar hotel and conference center is going to be built in San Benito.
The new project was unveiled this morning by the San Benito City Commission and Economic Development Corporation.
The new development will be located at 2550 W. Expressway 77/83 on a three-acre site owned by the EDC.
Developers say they will break ground on the new Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott in six months and it should be completed by next year.

Continue reading at the Valley Morning Star

Posted on May 6, 2015 .

City of San Benito celebrates Texas Independence Day Celebration

Friday, March 13, 2015 - 3:32pm

SAN BENITO, TX — The sixth annual Texas Independence Day Celebration and Sanctioned BBQ Cook-Off is scheduled here March 13-14 at the San Benito Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Events begin Friday at 7 p.m. with a parade of horseback riders, wagons and other vehicles in downtown San Benito near the railroad tracks.

The celebration is held in conjunction with the 3nd Annual IBCA Sanctioned BBQ Cook-off, which gets underway Saturday, March 13. Prize money of $10,000 will be awarded, with trophies, to top cookers.

A “Best Chili in Town” Cook-off is being added to Saturday’s events this year under the direction of San Benito Elks. Cash prizes and a People’s Choice Award will be awarded. Call (03)201-8945 for more information or to register.

On-site events Saturday are scheduled for 9 a.m. Events include demonstrations by the Bear Clan Indian Tribe in a 30-foot teepee with Native American artifacts, bows and arrows and other related items. A market day featuring arts/crafts and food will also be held at the site.

Continue reading at The Valley Morning Star

Posted on March 5, 2015 .

Officials: Full potential of Los Indios Bridge can be reached with improved security

By STEVE TAYLOR  | Posted: Friday, December 26, 2014 5:32 pm

SAN BENITO, RGV – The Los Indios Free Trade Bridge south of San Benito has great potential as a crossing point for imported fresh produce – if security can be improved on the Mexican side.

To this end, Cameron County and the cities of Harlingen and San Benito, who jointly own the bridge, are working directly with an official within the state government of Tamaulipas to try to get improved public safety measures installed.

“There are two main segments that need improving,” said Salomon Torres, executive director of San Benito Economic Development Corporation. “There is a very short three-and-a-half mile segment from the bridge to the interstate on the Mexican side. And there is the interstate segment between Rio Bravo and Matamoros. All of that area is very rural and unprotected as far as public safety patrols are concerned.”

Pictured at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit are Ramiro Aleman of Harlingen EDC, Tony Rodriguez of the Port of Brownsville, and Salomon Torres of San Benito EDC.

Torres believes Tamaulipas state officials will make public safety leading to Los Indios Free Trade Bridge a greater priority as international trade increases in South Texas. He bases his optimism on the participation of Raúl Sepúlveda, the Tamaulipas secretary of economic development and tourism, at a three-day gathering of Cameron County and Mazatlán officials in September. The state of Sinaloa is considered the bread basket of Mexico and a new superhighway linking Mazatlán to Matamoros is becoming a popular route for trucking firms that bring fresh produce from Sinaloa destined for the east coast of the United States.

Torres said it was clear from the visit of the Mazatlán officials and from a big fresh produce trade show held in Anaheim, California, held in October, that produce companies and distributors are interested in the crossing points Cameron County has to offer.

“The Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh summit in Anaheim was a real eye-opener for all of us who want to expand trade with Mexico and import more produce. It was massive,” Torres said.

Continue Reading at the Rio Grande Guardian

Posted on December 30, 2014 .

Resaca Walk designs unveiled

By KAYLEIGH SOMMER Staff Writer | Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 10:49 pm

SAN BENITO — The city’s Economic Development Corporation conducted its second open house meeting this week at the City Annex Building to discuss plans for the Resaca Walk.

Five alternative designs for the Resaca Walk’s conceptual master plan were blown up and on display for the public.

“It will be one of these five,” EDC Board Member Rene Garcia said of the final master plan.

The EDC Board and City Commission selected Gignac & Associates of Corpus Christi and Harlingen to develop the master plan.

Gignac is the same firm that planned the McAllen Convention Center and retail development site.

At a town hall meeting last week, Todd Meyer, Gignac director of planning, presented the vision for the Resaca Walk with the five alternatives and the various layouts of future buildings.

“SWA Group is delighted to be working with the San Benito Economic Development Corporation and Gignac Architects to create a master plan for the Resaca Walk site,” Meyer said. “We recognize the importance of this exciting project, which we anticipate will become a regional destination that will feature the new museum and other entertainment and leisure opportunities. As designers, our goal is to create a place that reflects the local culture, is fun for people of all ages to visit often, encourages social interaction, drives economic development, enhances the local ecology and becomes a symbol of local pride.”

Continue reading at The Valley Morning Star

Posted on June 23, 2014 .