ELSA — An Arkansas architectural firm has registered to begin constructing a Walmart in this city beginning this summer.
Harrison French and Associates, a firm based in Bentonville, Ark., the site of Walmart’s corporate headquarters, has completed registration for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Elsa near Mile 16 Road and Broadway, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The department says construction on the $10 million project is estimated to start July 1 and finish by June 1, 2014.
Elsa officials have declined to comment on the city’s prospects for luring in the retailer. Walmart officials also did not return a message seeking comment this week.
But the state’s licensing board provides further confirmation that the Delta-area store is being developed. The Elsa City Council moved in late January to annex 43 acres off Farm-to-Market Road 88, between Mile 16 and the city limits, the site of the prospective store.
Property records indicate, however, that the developer has not purchased the land yet.
Walmart’s presence in Elsa would be a boon for the city, creating retail jobs and retaining more sales tax revenues. Because of limited shopping opportunities, residents who live in Elsa, Edcouch and surrounding rural areas often travel to Weslaco or Edinburg for shopping, costing the Delta sales tax revenues that could be retained in its cities.
Elsa collected an average of about $66,000 each month in 2012 from sales tax revenues, according to the Texas Comptroller. But the city has never completed a retail study to determine how much revenue is lost, or leaked, to other cities by residents making purchases elsewhere.
The grocer H-E-B announced last month that it would open a new store in Elsa at the intersection of Highway 107 and Zavala. The new store, located on about 20 acres, will replace the old one located at Highway 107 and Broadway that contains fewer amenities and more limited parking than most of the grocer’s other Valley stores.
A groundbreaking for the new H-E-B is tentatively scheduled for next week.
Neighboring Edcouch will also see construction later this year of a full-service Stripes Convenience Store, said Mayor Robert Schmalzried. Located in the 300 block of West Santa Rosa Avenue, the Stripes will be the first franchise to open up in the city in years.
“Hopefully, bringing in the Stripes and with Elsa bringing in the new H-E-B and maybe the Walmart, it will open up a lot more doors for the Delta,” Schmalzried said. “Sales tax goes up, property tax goes up and it will create more jobs.”
Jared Janes covers Hidalgo County government, Edinburg and legislative issues for The Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (956) 683-4424 or on Twitter, @moncounty.