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NEDC offers $2M incentive for airport plaza

Commissioners mull proposal to resurrect The Landing

BEAUMONT — The Jack Brooks Regional Airport may finally start getting neighboring businesses thanks to a hefty incentive from the Nederland Economic Development Corporation.

If the Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court and the Nederland City Council sign off on its incentive proposal, the NEDC will provide as much as $2 million to get The Landing — a mixed-use shopping center and business park spanning 100 acres of undeveloped county land directly in front of the airport — from the drawing board to the first phase of construction.

The Commissioners’ Court met with EDC and Jack Brooks airport representatives in a brief workshop Monday morning to discuss furthering an already extensive partnership between the Jefferson County, the City of Nederland, the NEDC and Accelerated Development Services — the company selected two years ago to build and secure tenants for The Landing.

Kay DeCuir, NEDC executive director, said divvying up responsibilities for the project — divided into four phases, with Phase 1 slated for 30 acres of business park, hotel, event center and retail space — has postponed the start date for nearly two years.

“We’ve been working with the developer to attract new businesses and with our city and county governments to plan different incentives we can offer,” DeCuir said Wednesday afternoon. “But figuring out whose responsibility it is to build a new road, to provide proper drainage and water detention, to run the water and the sewer lines to all this future construction in front of the airport — it’s been a real challenge.

“We’ve all been kind of stuck, and nothing’s getting done while we sit here and figure it out. We’ve already lost some businesses in this project because of the time it’s taken to get this resolved. We don’t want businesses walking away from Nederland, so the EDC decided to put out our best effort to get The Landing off the ground.”

DeCuir said the EDC is willing to put in as much as $2 million to the initial infrastructure — a year-long project in itself to complete water and sewer, drainage and water detention, and a new road to run between Phase 1 businesses along the U.S. 69 frontage road — so long as the Commissioners’ Court and Nederland City Council sign an agreement stating the county will repay the NEDC in full.

“None of our incentives are gifts or donations. The money must be repaid,” DeCuir said.

Brent Weaver, Jefferson County Commissioner for Precinct 2, asked DeCuir and NEDC attorney Jim Wimberly to bring the proposed inter-local government agreement in writing to the County Courthouse for review.

DeCuir said if the commissioners and the county attorney give the agreement their blessing, Nederland City Council will be next in line.

“We’ve never done anything like this before, but I do feel positive about our meeting today,” DeCuir said. “Of course, the City knows we’ve been planning on doing this, but we will need to present it to them formally if we get the county’s blessing.”

DeCuir said she’s hopeful to “have an answer” from the county and the city by December. If all parties sign the agreement by the end of the year, she said, Accelerated Development Services could begin Phase 1 of The Landing in the spring.

For more information about The Landing, visit nededc.com.

Twitter: @crhenderson90