McAllen: Quinta Mazatlan Palm House Project Proceeds to Design Phase
Feature Illustration: Birds-eye perspective of the proposed P.A.L.M. House and Awesome Space in the Quinta Mazatlan expansion. Courtesy: City of McAllen.
by Adolfo Pesquera
McAllen (Hidalgo County) — The Quinta Mazatlan expansion–one of McAllen’s most exciting public projects in a decade–has moved into the design development phase.
During the Sept. 23 regular session, the City Commission approved the schematic designs by Megamorphosis Inc. and authorized the design team to proceed to design development.
Yvette Barrera, the city engineer, said the design work should take about four months, at which time she will return to request the commission’s approval to proceed to drafting of construction documents.
The base cost for the project is $10.5 million, but with alternate add-ons requested by the commission the total estimated cost is now $21 million, Barrera said. As part of the add alternates improvements, a Park & Ride facility is being coordinated with the city Transit Department; Federal Transit Administration funds are being sought for construction of a transit facility.
Historically, Quinta Mazatlan has been a 12.25-acre estate with a Spanish colonial mansion, originally built in the 1930 and added onto over the years. It is owned by the city, serves as a historic museum and is operated as the Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center. Certain areas of the estate can be rented for weddings and other social or business events.
It is located in south McAllen, just east of 10th Street from the city’s airport.
The city obtained rights to more than 8.6 acres of adjacent land as part of the community’s plans to expand and improve upon Quinta Mazatlan’s utility as a birding center and botanical garden.
Above: The original Quinta Mazatlan Estate (highlighted on the right), and the planned expansion are (lower left). — Below: The expansion area highlighted by function. Courtesy: City of McAllen.
The development team includes Megamorphosis, Overland Partners, and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects.
The original scope of the project was to construct a second major building–the 12,000-square-foot, two-story P.A.L.M. House, and to incorporate a wetlands pond, an “Awesome Space,” some limited superstructure, a partial magic tunnel and more parking.
The additional scope (add alternates) include a full superstructure, Park & Ride transit facility, amphitheater, sky walk ramp. magic tunnel and landscape, palm roof terrace, West Site improvements, “Awesome Space” bridge.
According to the project summary, “the P.A.L.M. House will aim to develop a story that has regional, national and international experience and relevance while celebrating the environment and building beyond local, regional and national borders that prioritize the balance of social, ecological and economic change.”
Quinta Mazatlan River Plaza.
Immediately surrounding the new P.A.L.M. House, there will be 20,000 square feet of outdoor gathering spaces and decks that seamlessly blend with the indoor, conditioned spaces. It will include a Visitor’s Center, the Center for Urban Ecology (CUE), the Palm Room, and Children’s Learning Center.
The position of the P.A.L.M. House is oriented to prevailing winds, migratory routes and to optimize surrounding views.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.