New development and construction unfolded at El Centro Mall early this month with a crowd of local residents eyeing the site from Luby’s Cafeteria during peak lunch hours.
“It’s awesome,” said City Manager Fred Sandoval. “We tried to get in there just now and we couldn’t get in – there were too many people.”
The area was bustling with movement from onlookers as construction workers lay the foundation for new buildings with cranes and other machinery. A sense of enthusiasm and eagerness for this long awaited expansion permeated the air.
Little by little, the tattered and shabby locations that make El Centro Mall are being taken down for a commercial-space facelift. Pharr city officials and residents are hopeful for the potential business a new shopping center could bring.
What’s the Buzz?
Commercial development company Levcor, owner of the shopping area located on the corner of Jackson and Expressway 82, has planned for a complete renovation of the mall complex.
“It looks like they’re going to do a full renovation from the ground up, and I hope they do,” said Sandoval, also the Pharr Economic Development Corporation Director. “We need to come together somehow and try to make it a central area with high-end stuff, and obviously that’s easier said than done.”
With the surprising success Luby’s experienced by switching locations within the center, developers are excited to expand and remodel further.
“We were on the Jackson side and I think we’re a little more prominent on the freeway side. We’ve been serving more people and we have more employees,” said Peter Tropoli, Chief Operating Officer at Luby’s.
One of the first projects to take effect is the new Cinemark theatre, based on the north side of the Levcor property; it will replace the old, worn $1.50 theatre. Residents of Pharr are ecstatic for the completion of a 16-high-tech screen complex, which is said to include an extra-large XD Extreme Digital Cinema theatre.
According to records from the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration, Levcor expects to finish the project by February with an investment of around $8 million to build the complex.
Blueprints and related information released on the Levcor website point to several other commercial developments. Rio Grande Valley residents can expect to see a Pappacito’s Cantina near the Pappadeaux eatery. In an effort to bring new retail opportunities to the Jackson Road-based mall complex, Levcor plans to open 10 large retail spaces as part of the mall redesign. The shopping center was also renamed, “Pharr Town Center.”
Contact the Pharr EDC at 956.402.4EDC to learn about new opportunities in the local retail industry.