Economic Surge: New businesses coming to Harlingen, San Benito - Valley Morning Star : News

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Economic Surge: New businesses coming to Harlingen, San Benito

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Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:00 am

HARLINGEN — Three new businesses will boost economic growth in Harlingen and San Benito, officials say.

Chuck E. Cheese’s pizza will open a restaurant at the Harlingen Corners shopping center near Dixieland Road, Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell said.

Wells Fargo Bank plans a new location next to its existing building at the corner of Ed Carey Boulevard and Business 77 Sunshine Strip, where Walgreens will build a new store.

In San Benito, Walgreens will hire about 30 employees when it opens a store at the intersection of Sam Houston Boulevard and Business 77 this year. That store is already under construction.

“We’re very, very encouraged by all this new development,” Boswell said. “It’s a combination of the improvement of the economy overall and definitely an improvement because of the interest in Bass Pro Shops.”

Chuck E. Cheese’s will hire 45 to 65 employees when it opens its 14,500-square-foot restaurant in early September, Cristina Hayes, a company spokeswoman in Irving, said.

Walgreens’ spokeswoman Vivika Panagiotakakos said the new pharmacy in Harlingen will hire 25 to 30 employ when it opens a 14,820-square-foot store in mid 2013.

The pharmacy chain’s store will be built on the present site of the Wells Fargo bank, Don Hubbard, interim director of the Harlingen Economic Development Corp., said. The bank will demolish the existing building and construct a new branch bank on a lot next door.

The new businesses come amid an economic surge spurred by Bass Pro Shops, Boswell said, adding that the city’s sales tax receipts have climbed since it opened in November.

The most recent figures show the city’s sales tax collection climbed 17.8 percent over the same period last year, Hubbard said.

“It’s the overall growth of Harlingen retail being pushed by Bass Pro Shops,” Hubbard said. “When people get here from other cities and Mexico, they’ll stop (at Bass Pro Shops) and eat at a restaurant and visit other stores.”

Last month, city officials announced the LongHorn Steakhouse will open a restaurant near Bass Pro Shops in the Cameron Crossing shopping center.

Boswell said the restaurant will hire about 30 employees.

Other businesses have expressed interest in opening near Bass Pro Shops, Boswell said.

“There’s been so much interest in that development,” Boswell said. “We’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing right now.”

fernandodv@valleystarcom

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