Psychiatric hospital will bring 225 jobs

HARLINGEN — A developer’s expansion of a $12 million project to build a psychiatric hospital will create about 225 jobs.

Last night, city commissioners approved Strategic Behavioral Health’s request to amend an agreement with the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation.

Originally, the Palms Behavioral Health Center planned to include 72 beds in a 52,000-square-foot building at the corner of Hale Avenue and Victoria Lane.

As part of the project, the hospital planned to create 200 jobs.

But the developer has expanded the project to include 94 beds in a 60,000-square-foot building.

The developer’s decision to expand the hospital will create about 25 additional jobs, Mayor Chris Boswell said after the meeting.

The hospital’s expansion will boost the project’s cost to $13 million.

“There is such a demand for their services, they figured out the building was too small,” Raudel Garza, the EDC’s chief executive officer, told commissioners.

The EDC has offered the developer $1,000 to $1,500 for each job created, depending on the job’s pay scale, Garza said before the meeting.

Meanwhile, the city has offered the developer $200,000 for job creation to be paid over a four-year period.

“It’s a great project for our community,” Boswell told the audience.

The hospital will staff psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and nurses.

Strategic Behavioral Health operates hospitals in College Station, El Paso, Las Vegas, Nev., and Colorado Springs, Colo.

As a result of the expansion, the developer extended the project’s completion date from Jan. 31 to Oct. 1.