“This article appeared in the April 23 issue of the Progress Times.”
Palmview said goodbye to Greg’s Ballroom last week.
The old ballroom, which hosted countless quinceañeras, weddings and concerts, will be demolished to make way for a new development.
“While we’re sad to see this go, it commemorates the beginning of a new development that we’ve been calling the Palmview Main Street Development Project,” said City Manager Michael Leo.
The development will connect the Interstate 2 frontage road to West Veterans Boulevard, where City Hall is located.
“But also connect the citizens of the community to the city of Palmview,” Leo said. “What we lack here is a downtown. A ‘Main Street.’”
Palmview started planning the Main Street project in 2018, when the Municipal Development District purchased the property from Nelson-Villarreal Development.
The Municipal Development District hired AJ Steel LLC of Palmview to demolish the ballroom. Work started last week and should be completed within 90 days.
Palmview wants to remove the stage lighting, coolers and exterior light fixtures, said Alex Garza, who owns AJ Steel. Everything else will be demolished and hauled away.
“We grew up coming to weddings and quinceañeras here,” Garza said. “All types of functions. It’s kind of sad.”
After the ballroom is demolished, Palmview wants to build a business district anchored by a road from the Interstate 2 frontage to West Veterans Boulevard.
“There will be restaurants. There will be retail. There will be different stores,” said former City Councilwoman Linda Sarabia, who serves on the Municipal Development District board. “And it’ll be an opportunity for the community to stay in Palmview and not have to go somewhere else.”
A rendering prepared by the city shows two 4,000-square-foot restaurants on the frontage road, along with a 10,000-square-foot retail space. The development would also include six smaller retail spaces and a market for vendors.
Along with restaurants and retail, Palmview wants to attract medical services to the development. The rendering shows a lab, pharmacy, urgent care center and doctor’s offices.
“We’ve had a lot of communication with medical entities that are interested in setting up shop here in Palmview, given the location and the fact we’re one of the few municipal entities that actually has its own EMS service,” Leo said.
Greg’s Ballroom was a pillar of the community for decades, said City Councilman Joel Garcia, who serves on the Municipal Development District board.
“I remember passing by here when I was a little boy. Driving by. Seeing this place packed with people,” Garcia said. “After growing up, I remember coming to the dances here. Some of us learned how to dance here, as well as had our first dates here.”
Greg and Estela Villarreal acquired the property in 1974, Garcia said. They started with a restaurant, added a ballroom and eventually created a space for concerts. Greg’s Ballroom attracted performers from across the United States and Mexico.
“This is not the end,” Garcia said. “I think it’s the beginning of something very beautiful that’s going to happen in Palmview.”