Mexico’s Grupo Bafar putting $21M warehouse/office complex in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio

A Mexican food company plans to build a $21.3 million warehouse and office complex in an old warehouse district in the Segundo Barrio, one of El Paso’s oldest and poorest neighborhoods.

Grupo Bafar, a Chihuahua company that owns the Bafar meat brand, one of Mexico’s top-selling lunch meats, will put the new facility across the street from the cold storage warehouse it currently operates at 1601 E. Fourth Ave., in the Segundo Barrio in South El Paso, company, city, and county officials announced Monday.

The new complex will become the company’s United States headquarters.

Company officials chose to keep one of its two El Paso warehouses in Segundo Barrio because “logistically it’s very good for us, but helping the community, too, there,” Jorge Baeza, CEO of Bafar Alimentos, the group’s food division, said at a Monday press conference at El Paso City Hall.

It also should be easier for the company to find workers in the neighborhoods around the warehouse than in other areas of El Paso, Baeza said after the news conference.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, and Jon Barela, CEO of the Bordplex Alliance economic development organization, praised Baeza, a New Mexico State University graduate, and his company for choosing to put the new facility in Segundo Barrio.

“We want people to stay in their communities that they love,” and this project should do that as well as help provide better-paying jobs in a neighborhood with low wages, Samaniego said.

The city and county will provide up to $846,693 in property tax rebates and other incentives over 10 years for the project if Bafar meets the requirements. That includes paying at least the county median wage, now $16.43 per hour, for 120 new jobs to be created over 10 years.

It must also retain at least 155 of its current 220 workers at several of its El Paso businesses, including another warehouse on Rojas Drive in East El Paso. It employs 17 people at the Segundo Barrio warehouse.

The warehouses help the company export millions of dollars a year in meat from the United States to Mexico. Bafar uses the county-operated Tornillo port of entry to pass some of its cargo across the U.S.-Mexico border, county officials noted.

The company also owns the six-store Valley Supermarket chain in El Paso and Frontier Foods Meat Market at 2900 Alameda Ave. in South-Central El Paso. It also operates CarneMart, a large chain of grocery stores in Mexico.

The new cold-storage facility and office complex, totaling 59,000 square feet, will be on seven acres where the Kasco Structures steel fabrication company has operated for years. Kasco sold the property to Bafar and is moving to a new location in far East El Paso. A portion of Guillen Middle School and its outdoor track are next to the Kasco property.

The exterior walls of Bafar’s current warehouse and other warehouses in the area are covered with colorful murals.

An existing office building on the Kasco site will be renovated to become Bafar’s United States headquarters. A grocery store and restaurant also may be located at the site, Baeza said.

Future plans call for adding another almost 11,000 square feet of cold storage to the new warehouse.