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Harlingen Corners ready to receive half-million investment

December 23, 2018

HARLINGEN — The retail contrasts are striking.

One enclosed mall, Valle Vista, recently sold for $12 million to a company specializing in turning around distressed properties.

Just hundreds of yards away to the west, the new owners of Harlingen Corners retail center are planning to make a major investment to upgrade the prospering site.

The outdoor retail center which houses major national retailers Kohl’s, Marshalls, Kirkland’s, Burlington and Bed Bath and Beyond was acquired in October by investors Y&O Group. The price paid for the property has not been disclosed.

But executives of the company managing the retail center for Y&O announced yesterday the owners plan to invest $500,000 in improvements such as adding new lighting and improving the retail center’s infrastructure.

“We’ve just added a 24-foot Christmas tree to bring the holiday spirit to the center and over the next 12 months, the property will get a number of upgrades including new LED lighting throughout the parking lot, new sealcoat and striping in the entire parking lot, and drainage improvements,” Janie Colin, marketing director for Houston-based Tarantino Properties, said in a statement released yesterday by the city.

Marketing the property

In addition to property management and leasing, which is its role for Y&O, Tarantino also owns property, too, Colin said. Two of those are in Brownsville.

She said they view their market as being the Rio Grande Valley and shoppers from Mexico in both cities.

“It comes from both, I think,” she said in an interview.

Colin said her firm will be providing marketing help for Harlingen Corners through social media and direct mail, among other strategies.

“We’re actually going to a convention in January, so we’re going to be really pushing this center because it’s all retail,”

Colin said. “Everyone in Texas and, like Alabama, and all the neighboring states, will be there. That’s another way we’re going to be pushing it.”

Part of the push is to fill out the retail center, where a 20,000-square-foot property and a 58,000-square-foot space remain available.

“So we’re trying to get some pretty big stores there,” she said. “We’re trying to get some retailers who are national. The owners were saying they noticed a lot of people who had left the mall (Valle Vista) are showing interest in the properties.”

Contrasting studies

Unlike troubled Valle Vista, where last month there were more than two dozen vacant storefronts, Harlingen Corners is thriving, Colin said.

In addition to the big-box retailers, other stores include the new Five Below, Hibbett Sports, Ulta, Shoe Carnival and more. Restaurants include Logan’s Steakhouse and Chuck E Cheese.

“Malls are declining and shopping centers aren’t,” Colin said. “Even here in Houston we’ve noticed that a lot of malls are declining and newer retail centers are really developing that lifestyle look, they’re being successful.

“I think it maybe has to do with its being more accessible, you don’t have to look for parking — I mean you do, but it’s not as crazy,” she added. “You have the bigger retailers like the Marshalls and the Kohl’s and sometimes families would rather go into those rather than an express store or a smaller store. They can shop with the entire family at one of those larger retailers.”

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