PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

April 23, 2013

Developer selected for airport retail project

Mary Meaux
Port Arthur News

— Retail development of frontage property at Jack Brooks Regional Airport is one step closer to fruition.

Jefferson County Commissioners recently approved a letter of intent to enter a ground lease from Accelerated Development for the development of 68 acres of land.

Pat Sauer, principal and director of development for the Phoenix, Ariz. company which has offices in Dallas, visited with members of the Nederland Economic Development Corporation on Monday. The County and the NEDC entered into an interlocal agreement allowing the NEDC to act as Real Estate advisor for the airport less than a year ago.

Sauer explained the conceptual plan calls for approximately 450,000 square feet of retail development and six to eight restaurants.

“We see this as a power center location,” Sauer said. “It’s mixed with big box, mid-sized junior anchor and pad restaurant and other retail who want to locate here.”

Success depends largely on demand created from marketing and exposure; Sauer is optimistic the firm can generate the demand and bring in the retailers.

NEDC Executive Director Mark Rantala said the property compliments Central Mall much as Dowlen Road compliments Parkdale Mall.

Accelerated Developments has identified a list of candidates and began discussions with retailers, he said.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with the EDC and the County to develop this property and add even more to the robust economy of Jefferson County,” he said. “The site is well positioned in terms of spacing from other retail hubs and we believe the market is under-served. This property has never really been available and tracts of this size are difficult to assemble in a developed market. Overall, we are optimistic that retailers will respond well to the offering.”

NEDC Board President Larry Ducharme is also pleased with the possibilities of the project.

“We believe that a real opportunity for this project exists. We are excited to have identified a developer with this amount of experience,” Ducharme said. “As with any project of this type it is dependent upon the retailers and the national economy. We believe this site is very competitive.”

If all goes as planned construction could start by the end of 2014, he added.

The development project is set to go forward even with the resignation of Rantala from the NEDC and American Airline’s $1.5 million dollar Minimum Revenue Guarantee paid for by governing entities and individuals within the county.

Sauer said the development is not so much tied to the airport as it is largely driven by roof tops.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

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