Texas Border Business
LAREDO, Texas — The world’s largest grower, shipper and packer of Hass avocados will build a $48 million, 260,000 square-foot distribution and manufacturing center in Laredo creating at least 75 new permanent jobs and an annual payroll of more than $3 million.
This spring, California-based Mission Produce Inc. will begin construction on the agricultural cold storage manufacturing and distribution center in the Pinnacle Industry Center on North Mines Road. In addition to the permanent jobs, the project will create scores of temporary jobs during its year-long construction period.
Cold storage is a target industry for Port Laredo, the nation’s busiest land port and second-ranked port overall next to the Port of Los Angeles based on valuation. Port Laredo imported close to $4 billion in produce in 2019, including about $1 billion in avocados alone.
The massive new project is the result of an economic incentives performance agreement the Laredo City Council approved for Mission Produce based on tax abatements and job creation.
If the company meets its obligations, the Texas Chapter 380 eight-year agreement calls for the city to refund 100 percent of the company’s property taxes for five years beginning the year after the facility is complete. Furthermore, the company would receive a 50 percent rebate in the sixth and seventh years, and a 30 percent discount in the final, or eighth year.
The total estimated abatements to Mission Produce at the end of the eight-year agreement would be $1.9 million. For context, the next eight years after the agreement is complete, the firm’s property tax obligations would be about $2.8 million.
“We are very excited to bring on a major player in the produce industry and have them set roots in Laredo,” said Mayor Pete Saenz. “This will bring jobs and new investment in our city while paving the way for increased future trade in the produce sector.”
“This is just one example of how we are trying to diversify and grow our port,” said Co-Interim City Managers Rosario Cabello and Robert Eads. “This is a huge step towards the goals we have to increase economic development in our city and attract well-paying quality jobs.”
Port Laredo handled an estimated $233 billion in trade by value in 2019. Port Laredo includes four international bridges used by some 15,000 trucks daily, one international rail crossing used by Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific, and Laredo International Airport, one of the busiest cargo airports in the country.