Take look inside as The Press Building’s features come to light for Downtown Port Arthur

Published 11:06 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

Some time in the near future, entrepreneurs and others will conduct business using state-of-the-art technology just a stone’s throw from the sub-courthouse in Port Arthur.

For lunch they can venture to a dining area with a view of the two-story atrium.

And that’s just a portion of what is nearing completion at The Press Building in Downtown Port Arthur.

SETEX Construction Corp. Superintendent John Robinson shows blueprints for the center of Community and Business Development, also known as The Press Building. (Mary Meaux/The News)

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The construction

SETEX Construction Corp. Superintendent John Robinson has seen some interesting things while demolishing, bracing up and constructing the building at 549 Fourth St.

The two-story, 40,000 square feet building was once home to The Port Arthur News.

Construction has been done in fourths and what could be the oldest section — on the Waco Avenue end, had wood construction, he said.

Through the phases, areas had to be stabilized while portions were demolished then built new.

Work began in March 2020 and slowed down and sputtered for a while during the pandemic, Robinson said. Throughout the course of the construction there were issues with supplies and materials, leading them to order materials way in advance then find a place for storage.

Along the way the price of steel increased, as well as other necessary materials.

Johnson recently walked through the building noting different areas after most of the sub-contractors had left for the day.

He pointed out the entry to a courtyard-like area where a café and kitchen will be for lease, an atrium and office areas.

Pictured is the site of a future café that has its own kitchen. It is up for rent at The Press Building. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Different view

Jana Barnes, business & community development manager for The Press Building, works with the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation and shed light on the building when speaking with Port Arthur Newsmedia.

Lamar State College Port Arthur has areas in one section of the building, where they teach culinary arts.

“There are two master chef class kitchens and two classrooms, offices and bistro,” Barnes said.

The upstairs area will be home to the city’s emergency operations center and feature a bullpen with three huge monitors. Emergency management will convene there if there is an industrial or natural disaster.

Barnes explained the area under construction is already a sought-after commodity.

There will be 10 long-term office suites and five conference rooms — all state of the art.

“Any type of technology you can imagine will be available in that building,” she said.

Barnes said co-working and entrepreneurship is the way of the future. There’s now a certification for economic development corporations in entrepreneurship.

Co-working is when people with different employers use the same office space.

Barnes is ready to help small businesses and others with their need for office space.

There will also be open areas for networking, and areas for short term leasing.

Robinson said he hopes to have the construction completed by the end of December, weather permitting.

Those wanting more information on the restaurant space or long tem office space are asked to call Barnes at 409-963-0579 or email jbarnes@paedc.org.

A view of the construction that shows the first and second floors. (Mary Meaux/The News)