Incentives approved to entice fast food development in Nederland

Published 12:10 am Saturday, October 23, 2021

NEDERLAND — A national fast food brand looking to break into the Mid County market checked off a major step this week, securing initial approval on a near $100,000 incentive package to locate in Nederland.

By unanimous vote, Nederland Economic Development Corporation board members approved $94,015 in incentives to facilitate Checkers building a location at 1132 Nederland Avenue on a .32-acre space previously the site of Villa Motel.

Outgoing Nederland EDC Board President Brian Swindel, who served on the board in his last meeting this week before stepping down, said seeing the dilapidated motel torn down and its site prepped for redevelopment was one his proudest moments working in local economic development.

More than $30,000 was approved by the Nederland City Council to demolish the site of Villa Motel on Nederland Avenue. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

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“I’m not from here; I got out of the Marine Corp. in 1996 and moved here in 96 and have been here ever since,” he said.

“That place was an eyesore when I got here. That place was questionable even back then, and it’s nice to get rid of that and have something in there that kind of dresses it up.”

The Nederland EDC purchased the motel building and land it sits on for $300,000 in 2020 from ZBC Realty Specialists Trust and received city council approval to spend an additional $31,858 with Salenga Construction for demolition.

Another $12,875 was approved for asbestos abatement via Inland Environmental.

Executive Director Kay DeCuir has long said the EDC was not looking to make a profit in selling the location but simply looking to recoup funds already spent while fostering economic growth in Nederland.

A boarded up and blocked off Villa Motel is seen in 2020 before it was demolished to make way, city developers hope, for a new restaurant. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

The location is approximately 14,000 square feet and is zoned commercial, meaning apartments or duplexes are not development options.

The Nederland EDC still owns the land and is working with Checkers on zoning issues before a sale can be finalized.

The Nederland City Council must approve the $94,015 incentive package in order for the EDC to include it as part of its sale negotiations with Checkers.

That process takes two city council meetings and could be complete by the end of November.

DeCuir said Checkers officials hope to close a deal, build a restaurant and open in 2022 if there are no hold-ups.

Checkers is a drive-through only fast food restaurant with dual ordering lanes. There are two locations operating in Beaumont — 4215 E. Lucas Dr. and 490 N. 11th St. — and none in Port Arthur or Mid County.