Travel Center Projects Spurs Growth In Mercedes
The most noteworthy of projects in Mercedes are moving along at a rapid clip and city leaders say they are poised to make some major announcements soon on new developments coming to the Queen City.
The headliner among the group of developments is Victron Energy’s Travel Center on the intersection of Mile 2 E Road and Expressway 83. Ground was broken in late July on the site of the 12,000-square-foot Travel Center with a Wendy’s connected to it and Chick-Fil-A located next door. Less than five months later, the Chick-Fil-A is nearing its grand opening and the Travel Center complex is taking shape.
Chick-Fil-A will be open by mid-December and the Travel Center will be completed and functioning by mid-2023. The project is the vision of Mohamed Sharaf, Victron’s vice president for development, who will also be the Travel Center’s owner. Sharaf has spoken of the welcome he has received from Mercedes leaders and the pro-business spirit they have brought to his plans.
“We’ve all been very excited with how quickly things are moving,’’ said Fred Gonzalez, the president of the Mercedes Area Chamber of Commerce who is also the president of the board of the Development Corporation of Mercedes. “The (Travel Center) project was two years in the making. Once we got everything agreed to, Mohamed assured us the process would move quickly.’’
It has and it’s due to the fact that the Waxahachie-based Victron is one of the nation’s premier fuel distributors in the United States and has ExxonMobil, Chevron, Texaco and Conoco among its major clients. Victron is also active in retail and property development. Its Travel Center in Mercedes will be reminiscent of a Buc-e-e’s with a stylish food-and-snacks store, a gift shop, large and clean bathrooms, and lots of gas pump lanes to fill up.
More Project In The Works
Gonzalez and other city leaders had predicted the Travel Center would spur other developments in Mercedes.
That forecast appears to be a correct one. Just down the Expressway access road from the Travel Center, a Starbucks is being built and should be open by December, Gonzalez said. There are three other new projects in the works – yet to be announced – with two of them directly influenced by the Travel Center project, Gonzalez said.
“Things are moving,’’ he said of economic development in Mercedes.
Of the new projects in the works, Gonzalez said, “We’re hoping we will have a nice Christmas-time announcement.’’
He also referred to “a growth spurt’’ in new home construction in Mercedes. The Valley Ranch Estates, a 185-lot development, is stirring with its first new homes under the watch of Zarate Homes & Designs. Gonzalez said other home construction projects are coming to Mercedes as it utilizes its ideal Mid-Valley location with a central location for commuters looking for the best halfway spot between McAllen and Harlingen.
Other bright spots, Gonzalez said, include the good retail performance of the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, which is leading to healthy increases in sales tax revenues for Mercedes. The new Sonic Quest Drive-In Mercedes is doing well in its early months. Gonzalez said the Sonic franchise owner is reporting that the Mercedes restaurant is exceeding sales expectations.
“It has been a very good year for us,’’ Gonzalez said. “I see lots of good things coming for Mercedes in the months ahead.’’