7 cities submit pitches to host UT-RGV headquarters; developers send proposals, too - The Monitor: Local News

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7 cities submit pitches to host UT-RGV headquarters; developers send proposals, too

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Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 10:16 pm

The University of Texas System disclosed Friday a list of cities and developers that have submitted proposals for the UT-Rio Grande Valley headquarters.  

The system put out a request for proposals March 14, inviting cities and others to submit proposals “for the gift and/or sale of land or land and a facility located in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, to be used as the site of the future administration building of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.”

The deadline to submit proposals was 5 p.m. Thursday. UT System released a list Friday of who submitted proposals, but not copies of the actual documents submitted by each entity.

State legislators approved consolidating UT-Pan American in Edinburg and UT-Brownsville along with the Regional Academic Health Centers in Harlingen and Edinburg into UT-Rio Grande Valley. Consolidating the institutions made it eligible for funding from the Permanent University Fund, a $13 billion trust funded by oil and gas reserves that pays for public university infrastructure.  

Early in the UT-RGV planning process, UT System leaders said the new headquarters would be built in McAllen, but that plan wasn’t set in stone and the process went out to bid.

That has left McAllen competing with six other cities that submitted offers to host the new university headquarters in their respective municipality.

The City of Edinburg — already home to the UTPA campus and new medical school — was one of the first cities to publicly voice interest in housing the UT-RGV administrative offices.

“It’s not so much a question of does it matter where it goes,” Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza said last month. “The fact is the UT Board of Regents has issued a request for proposals. And I think we have a duty, a responsibility to respond to that, not just as a city but because of the history of having a presence of a University of Texas division in Edinburg.”

McAllen leaders have eyed a 35-acre plot on the southwest corner of Dove Avenue and Jackson Road, near the city’s boundaries with Edinburg and Pharr, as well as Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance. But that land has not gone up for sale.

The headquarters would be home to around 100 UT-RGV employees, including executive personnel.

From now until July 15, sites will be narrowed down in the search for a headquarters. The chosen site is expected to be announced in August and finalized in December.

The Board of Regents will make the final decision on the headquarters’ location.

Cabler said Brownsville wants to continue the relationship with the new university as they have over the years with UT Brownsville.

“We have a good feeling that it was possible to submit the best possible application,” Cabler said.

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Victoria Brito is a reporter for The Brownsville Herald. Jared Taylor is metro editor at The Monitor. 

Story updated to correct omission of San Juan Economic Development Corp. from list of entities that submitted bids. 

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