Feature Photo (above): David Negrete of Negrete & Kolar Architects at the podium, with project manager Andres Mata to his right, make their presentation to the City Commission on the metro transit station and parks and recreation complex master plan. Courtesy: City of McAllen video archives.
by Adolfo Pesquera
McAllen (Hidalgo County) — The City Commission approved the master plan for a combination metro transit station and Parks & Recreation Department complex to be constructed on 16 acres, and authorized the architect to proceed to schematic designs.
The total estimated construction cost for the hybrid McAllen Metro and city parks facilities was reported by Negrete & Kolar Architects LLP as $7,5410,037. That breaks down to $4,164,933 for the McAllen Metro station and $3,376,104 for the Parks & Rec site.
This project site is on a 20-acre tract that was purchased by the city from Duda Farm Fresh Foods, an Oviedo, Florida-based grower and distributor of fruits and vegetables. The project cost does not include demolition, which is extensive. The site has numerous old warehouse buildings and acres of pavement that is currently being removed.
The Parks & Recreation portion of the master plan. Courtesy: City of McAllen.
Negrete & Kolar prepared a master plan for 20 acres, but four acres of buildings and other improvements to the far east end is being set aside as future development.
The site is bounded by Trophy Drive along the north and 23rd Street to the west where it meets Buddy Owens Boulevard. The south and west boundaries are defined by a railroad easement–a railroad spur the curves up to the site from the east and extends the entire length of the southern boundary.
The master plan that was submitted for a vote Monday was the end result of more than two dozen iterations, said firm principal David Negrete, as to “what is the best method and what everyone had bought into.”
Andres Mata, a staff project manager/intern at Negrete & Kolar, said the transit portion occupied about 8 acres and will contain six bus berths, public parking for 95 vehicles, fleet parking for 36 buses, three maintenance bays, a bus wash station and fueling stations.
The McAllen Metro transit station portion. Courtesy: City of McAllen.
The station also includes 7,100 square feet of building space for administrative operations and storage, Mata said.
City bus services will bring passengers into the station from 23rd Street. Commuters using the parking lot, as well as staff, will enter from Trophy Drive. There are two lots–the public park-and-ride lot, and a 50-space lot to the northeast for employees and visitors.
The site plan for Parks & Rec is also about 8 acres. It shall have two connecting buildings that will house administrative and maintenance staff in one and warehouse storage in the other. There are also a couple of smaller auxiliary storage buildings. The total area of the structures is about 19,900 square feet.
Site plan of the entire 20-acre master plan. Courtesy: City of McAllen.
Much of the site is being dedicated to landscaping and for the parking of employee vehicles and city trucks and other heavy vehicles:
- 106 spaces for employees
- 30 spaces for administration and visitors
- 50 spaces for city vehicles
- 25 spaces for trailers
A McAllen Metro spokesman told the City Commission that the local match, 6.5 percent, to fund the project is coming from the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. The lion’s share will come from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The city purchased the land, but some of that land cost will be recouped when the city sales the 8 acres of the transit station site to the FTA.
McAllen Metro intends to keep operating its downtown station. The transit authority will be reorganizing its route structure once the new station is in operation. In addition, it is anticipated that Valley Transit Company–an inter-city bus service that crosses the entire Lower Rio Grande Valley–will re-route same services to take advantage of the new station.
A 2017 Google Streets screen shot of the project site–as seen from 23rd Street and Trophy Drive, prior to the beginning of demolition.