As Topgolf breaks ground in Pharr, city officials continue to negotiate incentives
The city of Pharr and the Pharr Economic Development Corporation (EDC) officially broke ground Wednesday for the newest upscale golf range, Topgolf.
This will be Topgolf’s 11th venue in Texas, but the first in the Rio Grande Valley.
Although construction has already begun, Pharr City Manager Juan Guerra says an incentive agreement between the city and Topgolf has yet to be finalized.
"There's just some final piece of information that needs to be ironed out, but at the end of the day what we're looking for is this incentive package,” Guerra said. “This development to cost the taxpayers in the city of Pharr, nothing."
CBS 4 requested information related to the economic development negotiations between Pharr and Topgolf. However, Pharr said they have the right to choose not to disclose details because of a controversial Texas Supreme Court case, Boeing v. Paxton. The ruling allows the city to make secret economic development deals and potentially give away taxpayer money without them knowing.
In addition, Pharr says that because it competes with its neighboring cities, they should be allowed to keep the economic incentives secret.
“We’re competitors just like anybody else," said Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez. "This is not a socialist country, this is a capitalist country and we compete with our neighbors, which we love dear. But, nevertheless, we are competing with them so, obviously, if it's the trade secrets that we have as we would perceive it to be it is in the benefit of Pharr to protect its interest.”
The 55,000 sq. ft. sports entertainment venue will have 72 hitting bays and is expected to serve about 300,000 visitors in its first year of operation.
Guerra says that Topgolf will be a regional source because there will be 350 full-time and part-time jobs available for not only residents of Pharr, but those who live in other cities.
Topgolf is expected to open its doors by the end of the year.
As of right now, there is no word on when a final incentive package will be done.