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20120330_SharyMansionHome to be used as event center

PALMHURST — The Shary-Shivers Estate on North Shary Road, long known as the home of Mission’s legendary King of Citrus, John H. Shary, has been sold to a Mexican businessman.

The University of Texas-Pan American Foundation, which owned the property, announced that the sale would provide UTPA students with scholarships.

“For 15 years the university, the Foundation and the International Women's Board have enjoyed being connected to this important piece of the Valley's history,” said UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen. “While we would have loved for the Shary-Shivers Estate to remain a part of UT Pan American, we agreed that it was in the best interest of all parties involved for the Foundation to sell the property.”

Obet Flores, 51, is the new owner and, as he told Palmhurst residents in 2010, he will maintain the historical integrity of the building in his business, The Manson on Shary.

Flores’ vision for the venue includes a place for business meetings and weddings. Owning the home built in 1917 is a historical treasure for Flores, who collects classic automobiles, said Lucy Sisniega-Hoyos, a commercial real estate agent with Nemont Realty and owner of Bauza Consulting.

In finding a buyer, Sisniega-Hoyos, who serves as the treasurer of the Mission Historical Museum, said she was looking for a person who was interested in keeping much of the 17,000-square-foot, two-story home intact. But without a “For Sale” sign hung on the property gate, it was a difficult task.

“It’s not easy to find someone who is willing,” she said Wednesday. “You have to put in a lot of money to make it accessible to the public.”

Flores was unavailable for comment this week.

It took Flores about three years to finally purchase the property. Sisniega-Hoyos said the delay was in acquiring financing.

Flores is an agronomy engineer and owns Proveedora de Fluidos Mexicanos, a fluid provider dedicated to the oil industry.

Along with an events venue, Flores is said to keep much of the Shary-Shivers relics by creating the Shary Museum with the family’s art, artifacts and furniture to preserve for local schoolchildren and visitors.

“He is dedicated to keeping the history,” Sisniega-Hoyos said.

The home includes seven bedrooms, a ballroom and a bowling alley. President Dwight D. Eisenhower stayed at the Shary home when he came to dedicate the Falcon Dam in 1953.

Shary’s only daughter, Marialice, had her wedding at the estate in 1937 to Allan Shivers, who later served as governor of Texas from 1949-1957. She later served on the Pan American University Board of Regents from 1965-1978.

The family donated the home to The University of Texas-Pan American Foundation in 1997.

Previously, UTPA officials said the home cost about $120,000 to maintain annually.

In preparation for the sale of the estate, Palmhurst leaders re-zoned the area for a business as a “historic, distinctive and unique” district that allows for a number of uses including a bed and breakfast and special events center that would cater to weddings, quinceañeras and parties, among other activities.

At a public hearing for the zone change, a number of residents said they were against the change because they feared other businesses would come into the area. The city has its designated commercial area at 3 Mile Line Road and Highway 107.

Palmhurst Mayor Ramiro Rodriguez said the city’s wording on the re-zoning was crucial in ensuring that the city protects its residential area along Shary Road.

“It was very controlled and very restricted,” he said of the process of generating the wording for the new zone.

Rodriguez said he was energized about the sell. It’d been months since he had heard anything about Flores and his plans.

“I know he had trouble getting money for a while,” the mayor said. “But I’m excited. I think this will put us on the map.”

The City of McAllen has seen great success with Quinta Mazatlan, a popular venue for social events, he added, which could offer Palmhurst similar results.

“This is the perfect venue for Palmhurst to draw people to the area,” he said, adding that traffic along Shary Road is ideal. “I’m optimistic.”

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