Hidalgo breaks ground on $54M project

HIDALGO — City leaders here broke ground on a $54.6 million project that will bring a new apartment complex, an IDEA school and a new cold storage facility to the area located near one of the city’s biggest attractions: the State Farm Arena.

With the exception of a hotel and a few surrounding structures, much of the land near the arena lays vacant, but that is about to change with the help of several public and private entities that invested into what is being dubbed the Hidalgo Infrastructure Project 2018.

Hidalgo was able to secure a $1.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to provide infrastructure improvements to the area, including water and sewage lines. In return, the city pledged a $300,000 match contribution.

Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner Eddie Cantu also stepped in to help, Hidalgo City Manager Julian Gonzalez said. Cantu’s office is providing upwards of $800,000 to construct a new road, which will run for about a half mile and will bear the name Las Milpas Road.

Those incoming improvements have already lured at least two developers, one based in Los Angeles that will construct a 140-unit apartment complex and another that will build a cold storage facility that will occupy more than 100,000 square feet.

“We’re very glad that we’ve been able to establish and form some good partnership with federal, state and county funds going for a local project that will benefit the whole community,” Gonzalez said.

IDEA charter schools has also pledged to build a new school at that location. They’ve already acquired 10 acres, but have yet to decide which grade levels will be taught at the school, Gonzalez said.

The city manager thanked several lawmakers for helping make the project possible, including Sen. John Cornyn, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez and state Rep. Sergio Muñoz.

“It’s going to have an immediate impact of about 200 jobs, and an immediate investment of over $50 million, and that’s not including the IDEA school investment,” Gonzalez said.

The city will begin looking for professional engineering and project management services next week, with construction expected to begin in early 2019.