Valley’s upscale choice? Study says Harlingen ideal for convention center

HARLINGEN — A recent feasibility study is clear.

An upscale hotel and convention center would become a Harlingen “centerpiece” and serve as the “foremost choice” for conferences in the Rio Grande Valley.

Currently, the city’s lack of a convention center causes groups to hold meetings outside of Harlingen.

New York-based HVS Consulting conducted the study that was updated three times since 2008, when community leaders began to work on the idea of a convention center.

Since 2008, the city has spent more than $49,000 on studies into the project’s feasibility, City Manager Dan Serna said yesterday.

“We’ve certainly done our homework,” Serna said. “The whole process to have professional consultants for these feasibility studies is to get accurate information so we can make informed decisions in respect to these projects.”

Now, the city plans to fund construction of the $14 million convention center in the Harlingen Heights business district.

“It’s going to be fantastic for the area,” Serna said. “Drawing events, drawing conferences to the area brings more folks and business to boost the local economy.”

As part of an agreement, San Antonio developer BC Lynd would build an upscale hotel adjacent to the convention center, which it would lease and operate.

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