Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
A group of nine local residents want to bring their vision for a waterfront restaurant to Port Neches city.
Bert Lamson, a Port Arthur ISD educator and owner an architectural design firm, addressed Port Neches Riverfront Development Authority during a meeting on Wednesday and will bring the issue before Port Neches City Council during the 4 p.m. meeting on Thursday at city hall in hopes of receiving council’s blessing.
Armed with a visual presentation that was viewed on large flat screen monitors in city hall chambers, Lamson told of the plans for The Neches River Wheel House restaurant.
“The Wheelhouse will be a 3,500 square foot open air restaurant that will be open for lunch and dinner. While the menu is far from being determined, it is the goal of the company to offer a simple menu with a local flair and provide the best quality food and service while patrons look out over the Neches River,” Lamson said. “Beer, wine and mixed drinks will also be available.”
The group of investors , who have agreed to form a limited liability corporation, are eyeing a 3.75 acre piece of property adjacent to the boat ramps at Port Neches Riverfront Park.
Lamson said the company would prefer to have a title to the land at a nominal cost and then construct the restaurant. The estimated cost of construction is between $400,000 to $450,000 and the company has $200,000 cash ready for start-up thus going into construction with 50 percent equity. Third party financing will be used for the balance of needed funds.
“We would also like to work with RiverFest and believe we would be an asset,” he said.
Four of the seven Riverfront Development Authority board members were in attendance at the meeting which is a requirement for a quorum but Chairman Lance Bradley abstained from all discussion and vote because he and other members of his law firm are involved in the issue.
Other board members in attendance included Leslie Symmonds, Eric Sullivan and Dale Lack.
Symmonds asked Lamson is any one of the company members had experience in the restaurant field to which Lamson answered ‘no.’
The company plans to bring in a manager for the everyday operations of the restaurant, he added.
Robbie Muse, a member of the company, feels the location is a prime spot for the restaurant, adding that there is no other local restaurant on the water similar to what they are proposing.
“And we want to build a service for boaters to come in and eat,” Lamson said.
Sullivan said the board believes that conceptually, the project is a good idea and hopes the city council looks favorably on the project.