Friday, November 23, 2018
The Big Plan For The Heights Eyesore
The owners of the former Mercy Hospital met with a Houston businessman on Sunday to pen a deal that will turn the unsightly building into The World Free Trade Plaza. It will supposedly function as a duty-free zone. Products will flow through the facility, which will in turn bring people from all over the world to make purchases, ostensibly.
The story appeared in Monday's issue of the Laredo Times. It was written by Brian Rogers of the Houston Chronicle. What's interesting is that I can't find the write-up on the Chronicle's website, or any other venue for that matter. The whole thing just seems fishy.
We're supposed to believe that Rosendo Carranco magically found an investor from Houston that is going to help cover the $60 million price tag for the project. Carranco made it happen just days before the facility is supposed to be in compliance with city ordinances, such as keeping the premises clean and safe for the public.
Also, the announcement was made on a Sunday. On a Sunday.
(photo courtesy of Z Lab, a Houston marketing firm.)
The investor who is supposedly helping Carranco is a restaurant owner, Long Gao. Good luck finding any information on him.
Carranco may very well turn the old facility in the Heights into a successful venture. For now, everything about the plan seems odd. The timing is suspect, the plan seems grandiose and the players questionable. I'll just leave this here for future reference. We wait and see.
(September 14, 1999 Laredo Medical Center moves from Heights to Saunders location.)
UPDATE: September 19, 2019
In the September 14 issue of the Laredo Times, we learn that the plan for the former Mercy Hospital has stalled.
The dilapidated building in the Heights was going to be a wholesale warehouse for items from around the world. At least that's how the owners were pitching it. But according to Olivia Varela, there is a development with the current investor that is going to delay any movement going forward indefinitely. End quote. Varela is the executive director of the Economic Development Corporation.
The former hospital has sat vacant for 20 years. Movement has been delayed on turning the page on this matter.