PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

December 16, 2013

County approves lease option to develop airport property

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

NEDERLAND — The Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court unanimously approved a ground lease option with the Arizona-based Accelerated Development Operating Company, LLC, for development of property located at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport at a meeting on Monday.

The advancement comes after nearly six months of meetings to revise the site plans and ventures for the 97 acres, Kay Decuir, director of the Nederland Economic Development Corporation, said.

The county has worked diligently to occupy the undeveloped property around the airport, Jefferson County Precinct 2 Commissioner Brent Weaver said. This leasing agreement puts both the county and the City of Nederland a step closer to fulfilling the airport layout plan.

“We’ve made great strides in occupying the buildings, so this new development would be an asset to us,” Weaver said. “We're hopeful that this will become a reality, and we'll be able to bring some businesses to that particular part of the airport.”

The approximately two-year, four-phase project — which will include a grocery store, retail, restaurants, hotel and convention facilities, education and health care — will yield results unlike anything else in the area, Decuir said. She cited The Woodlands Mall and the Kemah Boardwalk as models, complete with a fountain and lampposts like the ones that line Boston Avenue.

“We want it to be like a quaint little village,” Decuir said.

Because the land belongs to the county and can only be leased, all revenue that is captured within the layout plan will be recaptured and placed back into airport operations. This will lessen the county’s burden regarding airport funds, Weaver said.

“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) wants to be able to see the airport be self-sufficient,” Weaver said. “This new revenue coming in would help the airport become self-sufficient, and in turn not as much of the county budget would go into operating the airport.”

Accelerated Development will work closely with the Nederland EDC, the City of Nederland, Airport Manager Alex Rupp and Jefferson County to find prospective businesses to build the “small city,” Decuir said. She added that Accelerated Development would like to keep the process as local as possible.

“I just wanted to be able to say, ‘Merry Christmas,’ to the citizens of Nederland and Jefferson County,” Decuir said. “The development will be a huge tax asset.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA