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State economic development law, known as Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, has led to creation of $88.3 million Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Featured: When then-Mayor Richard García in February 2015 hosted the groundbreaking for Bert Ogden Arena, he used a state economic development law, known as a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), to help fund the state-of-the-art indoor entertainment and sports complex. Three-and-a-half years later, a new mayor – Richard Molina – is singing the praises of the city-owned, $88.3 million Bert Ogden Arena, which launched its inaugural festivities, including an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday, August 26 and Monday, August 27, 2018, respectively.

Photograph Courtesy BERT OGDEN ARENA


State economic development law, known as Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, has led to creation of $88.3 million Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg

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When then-Mayor Richard Garcia in February 2015 hosted the groundbreaking for Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, he used a state economic development law, known as a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), to help fund the state-of-the-art indoor entertainment and sports complex.

The Bert Ogden Arena has been designed to host a variety of entertainment events, including sporting events such as basketball, concerts, family shows, and trade shows.

Three-and-a-half years later, a new mayor – Richard Molina – is singing the praises of the city-owned, $88.3 million Bert Ogden Arena, which launched its inaugural festivities, including an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday, August 26 and Monday, August 27, 2018, respectively.

“The TIRZ also includes the area of the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which is catty-corner from the (Bert Ogden Arena,” Molina said. “There’s also the Walmart, which is down the street on Canton Road. So, we can use a portion of the taxes from (within the TIRZ boundaries) without increasing any taxes to pay for our portion of the arena.”

The landmark entertainment venue is named after Bert Ogden of Edinburg, who established his first dealership in Edinburg in 1970. He and his wife, Dorothy, both passed away in 1992, the result of a car accident. But his daughter, Janet, and son-in-law, Robert Vacker, continued with the family business, which has evolved into one of the most successful vehicle dealerships in the nation.

On Thursday, February 26, 2015, Vipers Arena LLC announced that the Bert Ogden Auto Group had purchased the naming rights for the complex in honor of the visionary Edinburg man.

Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZs) are special zones created by a governmental entity to attract new investment in an area. TIRZs help finance costs of redevelopment and encourage development in areas that would otherwise not attract sufficient market development in a timely manner. Taxes attributable to new improvements (tax increments) are set-aside in a fund to finance public improvements within the boundaries of the zone. (

The creation a TIRZ, which is not a new tax but is used throughout the state, was made possible statewide by the Texas Legislature effective September 1, 1987.

Molina also said he recognized other neighboring cities were competing to land the Bert Ogden Arena.

“We knew other cities were lobbying for the arena,” Molina recalled. “So it was an opportunity that we wanted to jump on. Any type of sporting events or concerts of the magnitude offered by this venue was something we wanted to go after. We’re excited.”

Molina’s statements were featured in a 28-page insert, sponsored by the Bert Ogden Arena ( that was distributed in the Sunday, August 26, 2018 edition of the McAllen-based Monitor newspaper.

The publication, titled “A Game Changer”, contains seven articles highlighting the projected socioeconomic impact and benefits of the 190,000 square foot indoor entertainment behemoth, which is located at the corner of Interstate Highway 69-Central and Alberta Road in east Edinburg.

Benjamin Treviño, who wrote several of the articles featured in “A Game Changer”, said the funding for the complex came as part of the state-authorized Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, which resulted in a public/private sponsorship between Cantú Construction, the builder of the arena, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Vipers Arena LLC of McAllen, whose principal agent is Cantú, is serving as the private investor in the Public-Private Partnership. Vipers Arena LLC is oversaw all aspects of the construction of the facility.

Vipers Arena LLC will also serve as the major tenant of the Bert Ogden Arena, and will be responsible for the operations, maintenance, scheduling of events, and marketing of the facility, which will feature 8,500 fixed seats, which includes 1,200 club seats, 12 luxury suites, a restaurant/club area, locker rooms, offices for sports team personnel, and marquee signs by the expressway.

The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and his four colleagues on the Edinburg City Council.

“Of the total $88 million price tag, Edinburg’s total investment in the project was only $46 million, and under the terms of the agreement, the city retains full ownership of the property in perpetuity,” Treviño said. “Still, city leaders wanted to ensure the project would not bring an additional burden to taxpayers. The challenge was met by leverage the advantages of an existing TIRZ which straddles Edinburg’s I-69 corridor and includes the Bert Ogden Arena site and other developments in the area.”

Development along Edinburg’s I-69 corridor had been only incrementally increasing since the freeway bypass was built in the late 1970s. However, the stretch of highway has seen a boom in recent years with investment by big economic players such as The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, Walmart, Bert Ogden Auto Group, and Cantú Construction, which also built H-E-B Park just off the freeway at Freddy González Drive, Treviño pointed out.

H-E-B Park, which is privately owned and is located at 1616 Raúl Longoria Road, boasts a $16.8+ million, 9,735-seat professional soccer stadium as part of the 37-acre site with all amenities, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, well-lighted parking, and security and medical personnel for major gatherings.

“We have something like 18 miles of frontage road on that corridor that are inside of the city limits,” Molina said. “Our ETJ (extraterritorial jurisdiction) is projected to grow another seven to eight miles north of the city. I can tell you that where the area sits, it’s an attraction in the sense that it’s right off the freeway as compared to another arena that was built (in the Valley) that was not off a major highway. I think it’s going to super development for years to come.”

Among the background provided about the Bert Ogden Arena in the publication are the following articles, by respective headline:

• Welcome to Bert Ogden Arena – At Bert Ogden Arena, the fan experience comes first;
• Bert Ogden Arena promises new era in sports and entertainment;
• Bert Ogden Arena will challenge Vipers team to excel;
• Bert Ogden Arena name right transcend marketing;
• City of Edinburg takes pride in Bert Ogden Arena; and
• Bert Ogden Arena economic rifle effect already.

The publication also uses full-page advertisements to remind residents on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border of some of the major events that are scheduled during the coming months

“I think as a whole it was designed so that no one around this region can compete with it,” said Molina, who previously served on the Edinburg City Council since September 2013 before being elected Edinburg Mayor in November 2017. “Unless you go to San Antonio or Houston, you’re not going to find anything this size that can hold events of this magnitude.”

Among the major events confirmed for this fall – in addition to the arena serving as home for the NBA-G League Rio Grande Valley Vipers professional basketball team, which is affiliated with the Houston Rockets – include, with biographies of upcoming performances at Bert Ogden Arena courtesy of Wikipedia:

Friday, August 31, 2018: 
Luis Miguel 

Luis Miguel Gallego Basteri is a Puerto Rican-born Mexican singer and icon in Latin America, often referred to as El Sol de México. He is widely regarded by many as the most successful artist in Latin American history, having successfully performed in a wide range of musical styles, including pop, ballads, boleros, tangos, jazz, big band and mariachi. Luis Miguel is also recognized as the only Latin singer of his generation to not crossover to the Anglo market during the “Latin Explosion” in the 1990s. Despite singing only in Spanish, he continued to be the best selling latin artist in the 90’s, and was credited for popularizing the bolero genre into the mainstream market. To date, he has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Friday, September 14, 2018
World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) 
Live Supershow Summer Slam Heatwave

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., d/b/a WWE, is an American integrated media and entertainment company that primarily is known for professional wrestling. WWE has also branched out into other fields, including movies, real estate, and various other business ventures. The show will feature WWE superstars  Roman Reigns, Ronda Rousey, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman and others. According to ESPN on Friday, August 24, 2018, after spending the better part of the past three years on the outside looking in, Reigns finally owns one of WWE’s two major men’s championships, surging to the number one spot on WWE Power Rankings.

Friday, October 5, 2018
Alejandro Fernández
Rompiendo Fronteras World Tour 2018

Alejandro Fernández is a Mexican singer. Nicknamed as “El Potrillo” by the media and his fans, he has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. He originally specialized in traditional, earthy forms of Mexican folk music, such as mariachi and ranchera, until he branched out into pop music with great success. Fernández will be performing with Los Tigres del Norte as part of their Rompiendo Fronteras World Tour 2018. Los Tigres del Norte is a norteño group based in San Jose, California, with origins in Rosa Morada, Mocorito, Sinaloa, Mexico. Alejandro is the son of the ranchero singer Vicente Fernández, a retired singer, actor and film producer, is a Mexican cultural icon;

 Saturday, October 6, 2018
J Balvin
Vibras (“vibes” in Spanish) Tour

José Álvaro Osorio Balvin, known professionally as J Balvin, is a Colombian reggaeton singer, and his performances will highlight the reggaeton, Brazilian funk, Afrobeat influences, and Columbian music. Balvin is a Colombian reggaetón singer. Balvin was born in Medellín, Colombia. At age 17, he moved to the United States. He moved to Oklahoma and New York to learn English and was influenced by the music he heard there. He then returned to Medellín and gained popularity performing at clubs in the city. Reggaetón is a music genre with roots in Latin and Caribbean music. Its sound is derived from the Reggae en Español from Panama. The basis for the rhythm was born in Jamaica while the rhythm was perfected and the lyrical content and mastery was created in Panama, although it achieved a greater worldwide popularity from artists from Puerto Rico.

Saturday, October 20, 2018
Romeo Santos

Anthony Santos, known professionally as Romeo Santos, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and former lead vocalist of the American bachata band Aventura. In 2002, the song “Obsesión” reached number one in Italy for 16 consecutive weeks. After releasing several albums with Aventura, the group went its separate ways. Since then, Romeo has embarked on a solo career which in six years has spawned seven number one songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart and eleven number ones on the Tropical Songs chart.

Saturday, October 27, 2018
George López

George López, a comedian and actor, who is known for starring in his self-produced ABC sitcom George López. His stand-up comedy examines race and ethnic relations, including Mexican American culture. López has received several honors for his work and contributions to the Latino community, including the 2003 Imagen Vision Award, the 2003 Latino Spirit Award for Excellence in Television and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Award. He was also named one of “The Top 25 Hispanics in America” by Time magazine in 2005.

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Marc Anthony

Marco Antonio Muñiz, known professionally as MarcAnthony, is an American singer, actor, record producer and television producer. Anthony is also the top selling tropical salsa artist of all time. The two-time Grammy Award and five-time Latin Grammy Award winner has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide. He is best known for his Latin salsa numbers and ballads. Anthony has won numerous awards and his achievements have been honored through various recognitions. He was the recipient of the 2009 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Chair’s Award. He also received the “2009 CHCI Chair’s Lifetime Achievement Award” on September 16, 2009. He holds the Guinness World Record for best-selling tropical/salsa artist and the most number-one albums on the Billboard Tropical Albums year-end charts.


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