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Digging into Valley real estate
Digging into Valley real estate

Michael “Mike” Blum has been watching and working the real-estate market around these parts since dinosaurs roamed the earth, so if anyone wants to get a feel for the local commercial real-estate market, he’s one of your top go-to guys. Okay, the dinosaur scenario may be a little bit off the mark, but Blum is, after all, the guy who issued the building permit for La Plaza Mall, and he has been in Hidalgo County since landing here as Edinburg’s city planner in 1972, after which he moved to McAllen in 1973 to assume the same role. To say that he’s been around the real-estate block a few times would indeed be an understatement. A product of the Houston area, Blum graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree in city planning. While working on his graduate degree at A&M, he and his small class of less than 10 came down to Cameron County and worked up a master plan for then-County Judge Ray Ramon. “That was sort of a big deal back then,” Blum said. “That was when counties in Texas were just beginning to understand the benefits of having a comprehensive master plan at their disposal. In a way, Judge Ramon was ahead of the pack because he caught on to it early.” Ramon served as Cameron County judge from 1970 to 1981. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 79, carrying with him the legacy of being Cameron County’s youngest county judge and its first Hispanic to hold that position. The RGV real-estate market seems to be all over the map these days. In the residential sector, it’s clearly a buyer’s market, based on the number of homes currently for sale, and the number of new listings being posted per month vs. the number being sold. It’s the commercial market, however, where Blum spends his time. For a rundown on where that market is these days, he agreed to a quick phone interview last week. So, what’s the state of the commercial market right now in the McAllen, Mission, and Edinburg MSA (“metropolitan statistical area” that basically includes all of Hidalgo County)? Blum: “Well, we have to first define the term commercial. In our world, commercial means office, retail, leasing, sales, land sales, industrial leasing sales. So it’s all of those categories. It’s not just commercial; it’s commercial by categories, and they vary.” Each of those three ...

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