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Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Featured, from left: Edinburg City Councilmember David Torres; Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Homer Jasso, Jr.; and Edinburg City Councilmember J.R. Betancourt, following the mayor’s State of the City Address on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at the Edinburg Municipal Auditorium.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Projected growth at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley main campus in Edinburg, along with the anticipated opening next fall of a School of Medicine, are leading to the planned construction of a luxury, off-campus student housing community near the intersection of Chapin Street and Sugar Road, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. The mayor and the EEDC executive director are not related. Domus Development LLC, based in Dallas, will be in charge of the project, which will be located on a 16.17 acre tract of land near UTRGV, according to Carlos Garza, P.E., of AEC Engineering LLC in Edinburg, who represented the firm in successfully having the property rezoned to allow for its construction. “Right now, we are looking at somewhere in the vicinity of at or above 550 beds,” Garza said following unanimous approval for the needed rezoning on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 by the Mayor and Edinburg City Council. “We will have one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and four-bedroom apartments, all with private baths, in the complex.” Garza said he did not have the preliminary estimates or timeline for the project because Eric O. Jakimier, owner of Domus Development, was traveling in Europe on business and unavailable for comment. “I don’t have the specific dates yet but we will move quickly,” said Garza. “Obviously, the longer we sit on the property and not building the facility, it’s more financing we’re putting into the project.” But based on similar projects by Domus Development, such as a recently constructed complex that serves Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the planned local project will be the latest boost to the quality-of-life in Edinburg, as well as an economic asset, should come sooner rather than later. “This new community will promote and protect not only our residents, but also our neighbors,” Garza said. “It will be a gated community, beautifully landscaped, have on-site management, have a clubhouse and other amenities, comply with building and fire codes, fire protection, parking, landscaping, solid waste services, utilities, and all other city requirements that apply.” The housing complex in Kingsville, known as Legends at Kingsville, is valued at $22 million, and provides students with a wide range of amenities to create an ideal community for residents to live, study and play. Mayor Richard García noted that news of the planned off-campus luxury student housing community by Domus Development follows recent announcements by local city leaders of other major advances in Edinburg’s housing and retail sectors. Less than two months after announcing that Edinburg will be home to the new $10 million Marriott TownePlace Suites prototype in America, the City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation disclosed on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 that Wyndham Garden Hotels will build a four-story facility on the site of the 120-acre The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. The Wyndham Garden Hotels will feature 120 rooms, a restaurant, bar service, catering, and meeting space for private and public events, just northeast of Burlington Coat Factory at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. The mayor said more housing developments, such as the planned Domus Development student complex and the additional national chain hotels “come at a perfect time, when more and more people are making their way to Edinburg for work, shopping and entertainment. Thousands of sports fanatics will be visiting Edinburg within the next few months to attend soccer games at the soon-to-be-finished soccer arena and The Bert Ogden Arena being built less than a mile away.” The 189,000 square-foot Bert Ogden Arena, which is being constructed on 40 acres of land on Alberta Road and I69 Central, will be home to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, an affiliate of the NBA Houston Rockets, and will feature 8,500 seats and 2,400 parking spots for entertainment events such as major concerts. Meantime, the soccer arena on Raúl Longoria Road is slated to be ready for play in late March featuring 10,000-seat outdoor stadium seats complete with a public park and an amphitheater. It will be home to the Rio Grande Valley Toros, an affiliate of USL Pro, which develops players for Major League Soccer, and will be affiliated with the Houston Dynamo soccer club. Mark Iglesias, President of the EEDC Board of Directors, said construction activities through most of 2015 – the December 2015 report has not yet been compiled – demonstrate the growing strength of the city’s economy. “With one month to go in 2015, construction and related building activities in Edinburg reached almost $128 million in value, with more than $13.1 million of that amount taking place in November,” said Iglesias. “Both of those figures are ahead of the pace for the same periods last year, when total construction activities from January through November 2014 came in at more than $113.1 million, and more than $4 million for November 2014.” Also on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, the Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and EEDC Board of Directors revealed that two new businesses would be added to The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. Bob’s Steak & Chop House, continually recognized as one of the best steakhouses in the country, will be locating at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, along with A’GACI, popular among young women for its stylish fashions, which will open just west of the Academy Sports+Outdoor Store, said EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. “Wyndham, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, and A’GACI will join Texas Roadhouse and Ulta, the latest companies to open for business at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which is located at the corner of Trenton Road and I69 Central,” said the EEDC executive director. “This shopping complex benefits from one of the busiest corridors in Edinburg with more than 99,000 vehicles per day.”

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Upscale off-campus 550+ bed student housing complex coming following rezoning approval by the city, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation announces

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Projected growth at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley main campus in Edinburg, along with the anticipated opening next fall of a School of Medicine, are leading to the planned construction of a luxury, off-campus student housing community near the intersection of Chapin Street and Sugar Road, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members.

The mayor and the EEDC executive director are not related.

Domus Development LLC, based in Dallas, is developing the project, which will be located on a 16.17 acre tract of land, according to Carlos Garza, P.E., of AEC Engineering LLC in Edinburg, who represented the firm in successfully having the property rezoned to allow for its construction.

“Right now, we are looking at somewhere in the vicinity of at or above 550 beds,” Garza said following unanimous approval for the needed rezoning on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 by the Mayor and Edinburg City Council. “We will have one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and four-bedroom apartments, all with private baths, in the complex.”

Garza said he did not have the preliminary estimates or timeline for the project because Eric O. Jakimier, owner of Domus Development, was traveling in Europe on business and unavailable for comment.

“I don’t have the specific dates yet but we will move quickly,” said Garza. “Obviously, the longer we sit on the property and not building the facility, it’s more financing we’re putting into the project.”

But based on similar projects by Domus Development, such as a recently completed complex that serves Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the planned local project will be the latest boost to the quality-of-life in Edinburg, as well as an economic asset, and should come sooner rather than later.

“This new community will promote and protect not only our residents, but also our neighbors,” Garza said. “It will be a gated community, beautifully landscaped, have on-site management, have a clubhouse and other amenities, comply with building and fire codes, fire protection, parking, landscaping, solid waste services, utilities, and all other city requirements that apply.”

Domus Development’s luxury, off-campus student complex in Kingsville, known as Legends at Kingsville, is valued at $22 million, and provides students with a wide range of amenities to create an ideal community for residents to live, study and play. Residents are able to choose from a variety of spacious floor plans including one-, two- and four-bedroom options. The individual apartments come fully furnished with modern appliances, ceiling fans, full-size washer and dryer and more.

Legends at Kingsville, which was announced in June 2014, was at full capacity when it opened for the Fall 2015-2016 school year at Texas A&M-Kingsville, the company announced in February 2015.

In its action on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the Mayor and City Council approved the request from Garza, acting as the agent for Domus Development, that the property, which is currently vacant, be rezoned into a one-lot, 16.17 acre property, from Auto-Urban Uses to Urban Uses and the Rezoning Request from Suburban Residential (S) District and Agriculture (AG) District to Urban Residential (UR) District.

That decision by the city government’s elected leaders followed a unanimous vote by the Planning & Zoning Commission, which includes City Councilmember Richard Molina, on December 8, 2015, to approve the rezoning request.

DOMUS DEVELOPMENT COMPLEX ACTION BY MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL FOLLOWS CITY, EEDC ANNOUNCEMENTS OF NEW WYNDHAM HOTEL COMING TO EDINBURG

Mayor Richard García noted that news of the planned off-campus luxury student housing community planned by Domus Development follows recent announcements by local city leaders of other major advances in Edinburg’s housing and retail sectors.

Less than two months after announcing that Edinburg will be home to the new $10 million Marriott TownePlace Suites prototype in America, the City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation disclosed on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 that Wyndham Garden Hotels will build a four-story facility on the site of the 120-acre The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley.

The Wyndham Garden Hotels will feature 120 rooms, a restaurant, bar service, catering, and meeting space for private and public events, just northeast of Burlington Coat Factory at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley.

The mayor said more housing developments, such as the planned Domus Development student complex and the additional national chain hotels “come at a perfect time, when more and more people are making their way to Edinburg for work, shopping and entertainment. Thousands of sports fanatics will be visiting Edinburg within the next few months to attend soccer games at the soon-to-be-finished soccer arena and The Bert Ogden Arena being built less than a mile away.”

The 189,000 square-foot Bert Ogden Arena, which is being constructed on 40 acres of land on Alberta Road and I69 Central, will be home to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, an affiliate of the NBA Houston Rockets, and will feature 8,500 seats and 2,400 parking spots for entertainment events such as major concerts.

Meantime, the soccer arena on Raúl Longoria Road is slated to be ready for play in late March featuring 10,000-seat outdoor stadium seats complete with a public park and an amphitheater. It will be home to the Rio Grande Valley Toros, an affiliate of USL Pro, which develops players for Major League Soccer.

The Rio Grande Valley Toros will be affiliated with the Houston Dynamo soccer club.

BOB’S STEAK & CHOP HOUSE AND A’GACI WOMEN’S FASHION STORE ALSO COMING TO THE SHOPPES AT RIO GRANDE VALLEY IN EDINBURG

Mark Iglesias, President of the EEDC Board of Directors, said construction activities through most of 2015 – the December 2015 report has not yet been compiled – demonstrate the growing strength of the city’s economy.

“With one month to go in 2015, construction and related building activities in Edinburg reached almost $128 million in value, with more than $13.1 million of that amount taking place in November,” said Iglesias. “Both of those figures are ahead of the pace for the same periods last year, when total construction activities from January through November 2014 came in at more than $113.1 million, and more than $4 million for November 2014.”

The value of construction of new homes for the first 11 months of 2015 leads all year-to-date categories, amounting to more than $43.6 million, compared with more than $31.6 million from January through November 2014, according to the city’s Code Enforcement Department.

Those figures do not include the value of any construction activities at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Also on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, the Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and EEDC Board of Directors revealed that two new businesses would be added to The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley.

Bob’s Steak & Chop House, continually recognized as one of the best steakhouses in the country, will be locating at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, along with A’GACI, popular among young women for its stylish fashions, which will open just west of the Academy Sports+Outdoor Store, said EEDC Executive Director Agustín García,, Jr.

“Wyndham, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, and A’GACI will join Texas Roadhouse and Ulta, the latest companies to open for business at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which is located at the corner of Trenton Road and I69 Central,” the EEDC executive director said. “This shopping complex benefits from one of the busiest corridors in Edinburg with more than 99,000 vehicles per day.”

The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, created by First Hartford Realty Corporation, already has developed 450,000 square feet since the first tenants opened in 2008. With plenty of room to add more development, First Hartford is already working on expanding to more than one million square feet.

PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION RECOMMENDED FAVORABLE ACTION BY MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL TO MAKE DOMUS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT A REALITY

Jesús R. Sáenz, the interim Planning and Zoning Director for the city, provided key highlights of the Domus Development planned complex to the Mayor and City Council.

“The developer is proposing to develop Multi-Family uses on the property located 660 feet west of the Intersection of Chapin Street and Sugar Road, Being a 16.17 Acre Tract of Land, Out of Lot 6, Section 242, Texas-Mexican Railway Company Survey,” Sáenz,stated. “The Gateway plan the City’s Comprehensive Plan designation for this property is Auto-Urban Uses and the approval of the rezoning request will allow Urban Uses on the subject property.
The property is currently zoned Suburban Residential (S) District and Agriculture (AG) District and is currently vacant. The applicant is planning to develop the property into a one lot multi-family residential development. The surrounding zoning in the area is Suburban Residential (S) District to the North and to the South, Suburban Residential (S) District and Auto-Urban Residential (AU) District to the East and Neighborhood Conservation 7.1 (NC7.1) to the West.
“Staff mailed a notice of the public hearing before the Planning & Zoning Commission to thirty-seven (37) neighboring property owners and received no comments in favor or against this request at the time of this report,” Sáenz continued. “The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended with a vote of 5-0 to approve the Comprehensive Plan Amendment and the Rezoning Request.

BACKGROUND ON DOMUS DEVELOPMENT AND ITS PRESIDENT, ERIK O. JAKIMIER

Domus Development began in January 2010 to specialize in creating distinctive national-caliber student housing in secondary markets, according to the company website, which also states:

“Believing strongly that students at non-Tier 1 schools deserved high quality, highly amenitized housing Mr. Jakimier was able to convince investors and lenders that such development also made excellent financial sense. Despite 2010 being a challenging time to start a development company and having been told that ‘no investor in New York or bank in Chicago’ would ever back such a development concept his first investor was Bill Zeckendorf and his first committed lender was one of the top five banks in the country.”

William Zeckendorf, Jr., the son of a celebrated developer who himself transformed New York City by making big bets on big projects that helped refashion neighborhoods from the Upper West Side to Union Square, died on Wednesday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to the New York Times. He was 84.

In 1986, The New York Times said Zeckendorf was Manhattan’s “most active real-estate developer,” noting that he was a partner in 20 developments worth well over $1 billion.

Disappointed in the tendency for most developers to do the “same thing” in every market it is important to Mr. Jakimier to design developments with a strong sense of place, the Domus Development website reported. In late 2015 Domus added Asset Management to the services it offers it clients.

Domus Development provides the following biographical sketch on Jakimier:

Eric Jakimier has spent the past thirteen years specifically concentrating on student housing, both university-owned and privately-owned, across the country. He has been responsible for everything from site selection and acquisition, through site due-diligence, design consultant management, lender contract negotiation and negotiations with governmental agencies to construction management and project turnover including project accounting and reporting to investors and other interested parties.

In late 2002 he had the opportunity to join JPI’s On?Campus Student Living team developing projects for Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, North Carolina State University, University of Pennsylvania – California, Clark University in Atlanta and University of Louisiana – Monroe.

Jakimier was also involved with an Off?Campus student living development in Gainesville, Florida and luxury apartments in downtown Dallas. Following his work with JPI, Jakimier moved to Place Properties to manage their development team west of the Mississippi River and was involved in both privately owned military and student housing developments in Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and California.

Primary among these was an adaptive reuse of a historic building in Chicago. Jakimier was successful in getting the building listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings which generated substantial project funds from syndication of the tax credits.

Jakimier joined JLB Partners as Vice?President of Development for the Student Living division. During his tenure at JLB, Jakimier pursued projects in Arizona, Georgia, Maryland and New Hampshire. In February 2009, Jakimier closed one of the very few new construction multifamily deals in the country in that financially rocky year, a $44 million development in Tempe, Arizona near Arizona State University.

Jakimier was able to rezone and replat the property, manage the design team which produced a 700+ sheet set of drawings, obtain full building permits and close the financing in just over six months which allowed the project to begin a year ahead of the anticipated schedule.

Prior to developing student housing properties, Jakimier created housing at both ends of the spectrum: both luxury apartments and project-based Section 8/Low Income Housing Tax Credit housing for homeless individuals. One of these, a development for HIV+ homeless individuals, had eleven sources of financing and twenty-two different agencies involved.

Jakimier is also a licensed architect in the State of Texas.

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For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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