Cities in Rio South Texas Region Offer an Amazing Investment Opportunity

February 6, 2023

The Rio South Texas Region represents one of the most important trade zones along the U.S. Mexico border.

It is a dynamic region full of opportunities, located on the U.S. Mexico border where the State of Texas, the Mexican State of Tamaulipas and the Gulf of Mexico all meet.

Gene Lindgren, president of Laredo Economic Development Corporation

Laredo, Mission, Pharr, McAllen, Weslaco, Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville, are some of the many cities in this privileged region that have become increasingly attractive to foreign investment with big business centers, hospitals, manufacturing companies, respected higher education institutions, all focused on the development and creation of new business.  

But what stands out from each of the above cities to attract investment from large companies to the Rio South Texas Region?


World Trade Bridge

Starting in the western section of the Rio South Texas Region, we have Laredo, Texas, a city which is blessed with its location along the United States, México and Canada (USMCA) corridor, offering an optimal location for distribution and manufacturing of products involving trade with Mexico.

Gene Lindgren, president of Laredo Economic Development Corporation, shared that Laredo has a very young and dedicated workforce with a median age of 28.9 years compared with 38.2 years in the rest of the U.S., and added, “we are global trade experts as evidenced by the fact that our workforce in trade, transportation, and utilities make up 30.9% of employment vs. 20.1% for Texas as a whole.  Infrastructure projects of over 1 billion (USD) will no doubt, allow Laredo to maintain its status as the “Number One Land Port” for generations to come”.

Lindgren further referred to current and coming expansions in the IH35 World Trade Bridge, the Kansas City Southern Rail Bridge, and the IH69 overpasses with added   direct connections.  In addition, the city has also requested presidential permits for a new international bridge in the southern region of Laredo.   

All of the above shows the intense and productive activity in the Rio South Texas Region to promote and develop Laredo’s economic growth.


Teclo García, director of the Mission Economic Development Corporation

Another great city to live and do business in the Rio South Texas Region, and also near the border with Mexico, is Mission, Texas.

Mission is part of one of the fastest growing MSA’s in the country. It has experienced tremendous growth in population, business development and its economy in recent years.  According to the World Population Review, the estimated population in Mission is 88,394 inhabitants in 2023.

Teclo García, director of the Mission Economic Development Corporation, said that it is important to boost Mexico with the exchange with the US. The expansion of the Anzalduas International Bridge, which will open operations for cargo transportation in both directions (Mexico-US-Mexico) is a major, high-level project for Mission and the region.

"There will be a lot of mobilization through this international crossing, currently, various projects are being developed in Mission, such as warehouses and a diversity of businesses that are attracting investment and generating jobs, not only for Mission, but for the region," Garcia explained.

He further explained they are working with local developers to attract more real estate businesses, so that Mission has more quality residences for the community, and for investors who come to settle in the region; they know that they can make a home in this city.

An important part is growth in industry. Various projects have been developed that have triggered the attraction of investment in Mission, Texas.

"We are working with local developers, from Texas and Mexico, who are looking for land and lots to build their businesses, not only in the industrial sector, but also restaurants, hotels and commercial chains," Garcia explained.


Keith Patridge, president and CEO of   McAllen Economic Development Corporation

McAllen is located in Rio South Texas across from its sister city in Mexico, Reynosa, Tamaulipas, and is the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, with 146,000 inhabitants. (

McAllen offers a secure, versatile, entertaining, and high-value quality of life.  Both the State of Texas and the city of McAllen boast a very favorable business environment for new and existing companies.

Keith Patridge, president and CEO of   McAllen Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) said that they’re working on 29 different investment projects that could be implemented in this part of the region.

Keith explained that some of these projects are involved in different sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, high technology, green energy, logistics and distribution fulfillment, a process that begins with taking orders, filling those orders and shipping them direct to customer. These projects include quite a bit of research and development, and software engineering.

Patridge added that the projects that the MEDC team are working on come domestically from the U.S. and from foreign countries all over the world, like Spain, Mexico, China, Korea, India. France, Germany, Canada and Israel.

McAllen offers a secure, versatile, entertaining, and high-value quality of life


Victor Pérez, president and chief executive officer for the Pharr Economic Development Corporation

Pharr, Texas is located in Hidalgo County. With a 2020 population of 81,579 inhabitants, it is the 52nd largest city in the State and the 474th largest city in the United States.  There are many and diverse aspects that make Pharr an attractive city for new investment, but its main attraction is no doubt being home to the Pharr International Bridge.

Victor Pérez, president and chief executive officer for the Pharr Economic Development Corporation, stressed that this bridge is the most important crossing point in the US with respect to perishable items and is the third largest trade center along the Mexico – US border.  The estimated trade value is 41.77 billion dollars.

Natural gas, gasoline, automotive parts, regular and insulated wire, computer chips comprise the most important products exported, while key imports listed are television sets and computer monitors, avocados, berries and medical instruments.

One other advantage that has caught investors’ attention is construction of four additional lanes to the Pharr International Bridge, a project that will attract new companies engaged in crossing perishable goods into the U.S., and interested in using the best and fastest route to reach their customers.

Pérez highlighted that three companies are interested in the construction of frozen storage buildings.  The total infrastructure of these is approximately one million square feet.  One company has already begun construction work and the other two are in the process of negotiating what the city has to offer in terms of economic incentives. One further advantage of investing in Pharr is the ample availability and competitiveness of real estate.

Trade between the U.S. and Mexico will be greatly benefitted and relieved of international traffic congestion.  The turnpike will provide quick access to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, the Anzalduas International Bridge, the McAllen Foreign Trade Center, as well as industrial and storage areas in McAllen, Mission and Pharr which will also benefit local travelers.


Steven Valdez, executive director Weslaco Economic Development Corporation

The City of Weslaco resides in the Rio South Texas Region, just miles away from the Mexico border.

Weslaco has quick access to the Interstate Highway IH-2, so you can drive practically anywhere in the Rio South Texas Region or across the border. These quick access points provide companies with a competitive advantage when it comes to supply chain logistics. The city has a population of 41,103 inhabitants and is part of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA, which boasts a population of over 1,694,073.

Steven Valdez, executive director Weslaco Economic Development Corporation, explained that as the region continues to grow evenly, companies see an immediate value in being able to service their customers more efficiently and cost effectively.
Several organizations have already realized the benefit such as the Army National Guard Headquarters, Texas Department of Public Safety Headquarters, a 600-member sector of the Border Patrol, IDEA Public Schools, HEB Distribution, the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, (LRGVDC), the RGV Partnership and recently, the announcement that Glazer’s Beer & Beverage is relocating to Weslaco in 2024 with construction starting in January 2023.

Something that makes Weslaco city more attractive is their predominant sectors, that include health and education.  These two industries combined make up approximately 35 to 40% of the workforce population in Weslaco.   

 Quick Facts of Weslaco:
Quick access to Interstate Highway 2
General Aviation Airport for corporate jets & service with U.S. Customs & Border Protection Point of Entry
Eight driving miles from the Progreso International Border
Ten driving miles from the Donna - Rio Bravo International Border
Twenty-five driving miles from two international airports: Valley International Airport and McAllen Miller International Airport.
Fifty driving miles from the Port of Brownsville.


Raudel Garza, executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

Located in Hidalgo County along the international border, Edinburg is another city within the Rio South Texas Region; the door to south Texas.  The World Population Review lists Edinburg with a 2023 population of 107,185 as the fastest growing city in the last 10 years.

Raudel Garza, executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, explained that it is precisely its location that makes this city attractive for new business.  “We are close to international bridges and are the principal door to people and companies coming from north of the US”, Garza added, and went on to say “things are looking and going well in Edinburg; we are working hand in hand with other neighboring cities due to the closeness that binds us, which also makes it attractive for businesses looking for qualified workers.  Just in Hidalgo County, we number over a million people”.

Host to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with its 30,000 students coming and going and making their presence felt in stores, leisure, financial hubs, and restaurants, this city is an ideal place for companies looking to expand in Rio South Texas, with quick access to nearby business and tourist centers, and the attractiveness of all the markets and consumer communities offered by the nearness to the border.


Beverly Ticer Loftus, interim manager and chief executive officer at the Development Corporation of Harlingen, Inc.

With 73,923 inhabitants, Harlingen is the 56th most populated city in the state of Texas.

According to Beverly Ticer Loftus, interim manager and chief executive officer at the Development Corporation of Harlingen, Inc., what makes this city attractive for new business is, first, that it is centrally located in Rio South Texas along the international border and offers a talented and trainable workforce, making it a great place for business.

Harlingen offers a talented and trainable workforce, making it a great place for business

Also, she commented that Harlingen’s strategic location makes it easy for employers to attract labor from across the region with a diverse population of more than 1.3 million residents on the U.S. side and more than two million in the bordering communities of Mexico. The city is only minutes from the Free Trade International Bridge, has access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Port of Harlingen, and is home to the region’s largest commercial and cargo service airport.


Constanza Miner, president of Greater Brownsville Incentive Corporation

Brownsville is the third largest city along the U.S. Mexico border and 16th in the State of Texas, known as the Hemisphere Crossing, as is the only border city that offers five different transportation means: maritime, railroad, land, air and spatial. According with the United States Census Bureau, Brownsville has a total population of 186,738 inhabitants (source: 2020 Decennial Census).

Constanza Miner, president of Greater Brownsville Incentive Corporation (GBIC), mentioned the city stands out thanks to the import-export business, and a young, bilingual and specialized labor force.  Big foreign companies have capitalized on the low labor cost on both sides of the border and have established their businesses in the trade zone.

These are just a few examples of what the cities located in the Rio South Texas regions have to offer. The Region’s qualified infrastructure, quality of life, and a certified talented workforce lie at the heart of corporations successfully operating in Rio South Texas.

If you are looking to manufacture products in North America for North America or the world, take a look at what Rio South Texas has to offer. Our team at COSTEP would be glad to assist you, so please visit us at or connect with us at @COSTEP to learn more.


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