Pharr Produce Park Nearly Sold Out in a Year; Luis Bazán, Manrique Palacios, and Dante Galeazzi Discuss
PHARR, TX - When it comes to fresh produce, no matter if you are growing, shipping, or receiving— location is key. That is why the City of Pharr saw potential in about 100 acres of land that, until last year, was relatively unused.
“The infrastructure of this area was built about four or five years ago. It sits about 30+ lots we had been trying to sell, but there was no kicking off until that first company took the lead. Index Fresh, in this case, made it possible for everyone else to make the jump as well,” Luis Bazán, Bridge Director for the City of Pharr’s International Bridge, shared with me.
Now, the land is buzzing with activity as what is now Pharr Produce Park celebrates its first completed build in Index Fresh’s new 60,000-square-foot facility.
“We did a transportation study with a consultant that included surveying our customers and asking where they want to take our fruit, as well as a transportation study on the availability of trucks, that all pointed to Pharr,” Manrique Palacios, Distribution Center Manager, Pharr, Texas, for Index Fresh told me when I asked about the draw of the location. “Also, there is the advantage of the proximity to the bridge and the infrastructure of the Pharr Produce Park.”
The facility held its ribbon-cutting early last month, and three more companies are moving dirt and building foundations to develop theirs, according to Luis.
“It’s adjacent to the bridge, pretty much next door to the entry point. It’s a mecca for distribution, and when Index Fresh broke ground, we knew the rest of the industry that had began investing in the land would take off,” he shared. “This bridge is the ideal location for distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables for the U.S.”
Those now establishing themselves in the park include lemon and lime importers, as well as a number of tomato operations and, of course, avocados. Those already under construction are ahead of the curve, as Luis tells me that the few spots left are going fast.
“This location just blew up in the matter of a year, and we are very excited about it because we always knew it would be an excellent location. There are a few spots left, and we are open to negotiating with new and/or expanding operations,” he shared.
Dante Galeazzi, President and CEO of Texas International Produce Association (TIPA), also spoke to the location being ideal.
“I think the success of the Pharr Produce Park highlights the incredible growth we’re experiencing in this region,” Dante said. “More fresh fruits and vegetables are crossing from Mexico into Texas, and there is very real demand in continued infrastructure development. The number of companies that continue to set-up shop in Texas is increasing inline with these shipments, and they’re demanding the type of growth and facilities that we’re seeing with the Pharr Produce Park. I think it’s safe to say that as long as the produce shipments increase, so will the demand for additional warehousing to accommodate that growth.”
Not only did the Pharr Bridge see 180,000 trucks of produce northbound from October, 2016 through September, 2017, but there will be a considerable amount of investments from Pharr City to make this location ideal for operators looking to fast track their products.
“The city itself plans to invest about $30 million in infrastructure, by April 2020 we will have five major infrastructure projects built inside the Pharr port of entry. One will have about 21,000-square-feet of cold inspection capabilities, and another will be a brick and mortar, regional ag training center and laboratory to properly identify potential pests and train future entomologists,” Luis shared. “We are investing for the future of the produce industry and international trade as a whole.”
Those still interested in getting in on the project can do so by contacting the team at Pharr International Bridge. Luis can be reached by email at [email protected]pharr-tx.gov.