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Developer reveals plans for retail center in front of airport

More details have been released regarding development in front of Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

Henry LaBrie with LaBrie Properties recently appeared before Jefferson County commissioners and described the two retail centers planned for the U.S. 69 service center.

Each will be built as eight 1,500 square-foot spaces.

“If somebody wants two or three, then we can divide that up appropriately,” he said during the commissioners workshop.

One, which he called the Hanger, will be modeled to fit the airport.

The other will be called the Derrick.

“It’s a tribute to all oil and gas companies that made Southeast Texas what it is today,” LaBrie told commissioners.

The developer, who created the Silos shopping center in Beaumont near Tram Road, is also creating The Palms Industrial Park, which sits in front of the airport facing Jerry Ware Drive. The website describes the eight-space center as an opportunity “with the flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of business needs.”

Developing the land in front of the airport has long been a discussion held by city and county officials. Commissioner Darrell Bush, who served as Nederland Police Chief from 2001-2018, previously told Port Arthur Newsmedia that he worked in the city as development was discussed, planned and dropped — more than once.

“This has been a long time coming to get something going out there,” Bush said.

Plans for The Palms Industrial Park came to light in late 2019 following an agreement with the county to lease the land in July of that year.

While presenting to commissioners this month, LaBrie said he has filed an application with the Nederland Economic Development Corporation to help with funding for the infrastructure to the Jerry Ware property, but the project’s future was not contingent on the outcome.

“We realize there are no guarantees and that does not affect us at all,” he said.