Despite early delay, convention center construction ‘moving quickly’

HARLINGEN — The $16.7 million convention center appears to be rising from the ground.

In the Harlingen Heights business district, a crane fixed steel beams along the building’s frame while a bulldozer moved dirt across part of the eight-acre construction site.

Rain delays have pushed back the 44,436-square-foot building’s completion, originally set for November, to mid-December, City Manager Dan Serna said yesterday.

“They’re moving along pretty quickly,” Serna said. “We look forward to the completion of our first-class convention center and the positive impact it will have in our community.”

Meanwhile, Serna said BC Lynd Hospitality is behind in its construction of a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn to be attached to the convention center.

“We look forward to construction beginning soon,” Serna said.

The hotel’s construction is “a few months behind,” city spokeswoman Irma Garza said.

However, the delay is not expected to impact the convention center’s functions because the facility will feature its own catering service, Garza said.

Killian Construction Co., the projects’ Springfield, Mo.-based contractor, has completed work on the convention center’s foundation, utility lines and drainage at Teege Avenue and Brazil Road.

Garza said the contractor, whose installation of the building’s steel beams is 45-percent complete, expects to complete that job in about a week before working to raise the building’s walls.

Meanwhile, the contractor’s work on the convention center’s 623-space parking lot and its boulevard entrance are 40 percent complete.

Garza said crews used fill dirt to raise the convention center’s eight-acre construction site one foot above street level.

As part of the project, the city earmarked $300,000 for fill dirt.

Meanwhile, the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau is working with BC Lynd to book events which are planned about a year in advance.

How we got here

Last month, city commissioners approved the convention center’s rental rates, a critical step toward launching the campaign aimed at booking events.

Meanwhile, BC Lynd has presented a business plan which the city is using to help book events.

Under an agreement, the city will construct the convention center while BC Lynd builds the attached hotel on an adjacent two-acre site.

The agreement calls on BC Lynd to manage and operate the convention center while hiring staff to book events.

Under the agreement, the city and BC Lynd will split the convention center’s profits as well as the cost of covering any deficit.

Where are they?

100-percent complete

Foundation, utility lines, drainage

45-percent complete

Steel beam installation

40-percent complete

Parking lot, boulevard entrance