PA’s hot corner boosts retail, economy

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The sounds of the hammers and saws working on the new retail establishments are the sound of progress ringing across Port Arthur. New stores and restaurants are going in at Port Arthur’s hottest retail corner, the intersection of U.S. 69 and FM 365. Hobby Lobby and Party City will soon be joined by Chipotle Mexican Grill and Firehouse Subs. A yogurt shop may also take residence on the corner. Gulfside Dental and the new retail star, Petsmart, will join the eateries in the shopping center, with an opening planned in early November.

Those new additions to Port Arthur’s population of retail establishments will enhance the choices for Mid- and South County residents looking for a new place to eat or shop. That will help our dollars to stay at home and circulate in this community instead of traveling out of town to help some other city’s economy. In addition, more than 100 new jobs will be created. These are jobs that entry-level workers as well as experienced retailers and wait staff will be eligible to fill. The new jobs won’t eliminate Port Arthur’s high unemployment number, but it can make a good-sized dent in the issue.

The businesses at Port Arthur’s hot corner are there in part because the Port Arthur City Council several years ago overcame the objections of a faction that was against offering inducements to the developer and offered sales tax rebates for 10 years to help make the project viable. That decision has proved to be worth the investment of sales tax dollars that would have never been received had the stores not been built. Now, as Port Arthur’s hot corner continues to expand, and development is creeping down FM 365 toward Port Acres, it seems the Council’s investment is paying compound interest.

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