The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Port Arthur’s Economic Development Corporation is soliciting bids for the second time around to restore a circa 1930s building considered to be the linchpin of the city’s efforts to restore its downtown.
The old Port Arthur Savings Building, at 501 Procter St., will provide ample office space for the city’s EDC, as well as other tenants, but first a construction contract must be awarded.
The EDC is requiring a guaranteed maximum price contract, one which limits the builder to not exceed $3.4 million in expenditures.
“I am glad we went the route we did instead of just going out for bids. This gives us some flexibility to go back for more bids because we have a guaranteed maximum price.” Floyd Batiste, EDC director, said.
Construction of the 24,000 square feet building is projected to start at the beginning of 2014, provided a contract is awarded in time. Construction will take an estimated nine to 10 months.
Along with the EDC, the Procter Street Building is expected to be leased by other tenants. The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and GP Industries, a private business, have been given rough drafts of their lease agreements, but have not yet signed actual leases.
Together with the EDC, the three tenants will lease 19,000 square feet of the 24,000 square foot building. The remaining space will also be leased to a suitable tenant, Batiste said.
Batiste described as the facility as a “modern building in a historical structure.”
The company selected to construct the building will be charged with maintaining the historical integrity of the building including an ornate atrium, ceiling and an old bank vault, among other features.
In May PAEDC commissioners hired Spawglass as the project’s general contractor. The Texas company, with an office in Beaumont, has experience in restoring historical buildings. Among other projects Spawglass can boast is the Bexar County Courthouse restoration in San Antonio, the Texas State Capital interior restoration, and the Harris County Criminal Court building.
While looking for a contractor, EDC board of directors have decided to go ahead and list their current building at 4173 39th Street with a Realtor.
Board members on Monday voted to list the 4,800 square foot building with Linda Hanchett Realty, a Port Arthur real estate company.
The board also considered to other Realtors including Pat Holmes Real Estate and Jeff Hayes Real Estate, both Port Arthur companies.
Because Pat Holmes is a member of the EDC board, board members thought it best to go with another company.
EDC attorney Guy Goodson said utilizing Holmes’ agency does not violate board statutes, as long as she did not vote on anything concerning the sale.
New EDC board member Langston Adams led the motion to hire the Linda Hanchett Realty group.
“This will avoid the shadow of impropriety,” Adams said.