Demolition set for Nederland homes, business as part of downtown development plan

Published 12:28 am Thursday, April 21, 2022

NEDERLAND — Removal of trees along the 1100 block of Atlanta Avenue was completed this week, clearing the way for a Downtown Nederland redevelopment project.

The next step planned within 10 days is the demolition of homes at 1131 Atlanta Avenue, 1125 Atlanta Avenue and 1119 Atlanta Avenue, as well as the former Irene’s Lounge at 147 North Twin City Highway.

All were purchased last year, with city council approval, by the Nederland Economic Development Corporation as part of a $400,000 city square project.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Trees were removed from the site this week, setting up the structures’ removal next week.

Trees were removed this week from the 1100 block of Atlanta Avenue in Nederland. (Dominick Hemelt/The News)

Following demolition, the Economic Development Corporation will work with a designer and contractor to build new business cottages along Atlanta Avenue for re-sale back into the market.

Kay DeCuir said “a couple of franchises” are already talking to the Economic Development Corporation about acquiring the former Irene’s location, which fronts Twin City Highway between Boston Avenue and Nederland Avenue.

The EDC executive director said the business cottages would look like older homes with big windows and be finished on the inside with bathrooms and kitchenettes.

“We’re going to do one at a time,” she said. “Once it is 70 percent complete, we’ll put it on the market. Probably, those are already going to be sold by the time we put them on the market because of the fact that we have had people waiting on these things, because they can’t find another place to go.”

DeCuir said the Economic Development Corporation would be selling the locations to new businesses and not operating as a landlord.

“The (EDC) board will put restrictions around what can go in there and what can’t go in there,” she said. “It still has to follow our revitalization plan and what we’re trying to do for downtown. All that has not been determined yet. We’re just baby stepping.”

Following the trees’ removal this week, demolition of the structures is planned next week. (Dominick Hemelt/The News)

City Councilwoman Sylvia Root, who serves as EDC board president, said the new development would be replacing old construction with something better.

“We like to travel, sometimes, and you go into these small little towns and see these neat little shops,” she said. “It’s hard to explain, but to know you get to have that now in your own hometown is nice. It’s progress.

“The bigger cities get the big box stores. Here in our town, it’s the mom-and-pops who are our bread and butter. To be able to give them more opportunities to expand is nice to see. People support that idea.”

DeCuir said the demolition and construction of new business buildings, plus the installation of added greenery funded through the Port Arthur LNG/Port Arthur News Environmental Champions grant, shows the community there is progress being made.

“They can see there is good stuff going on,” she said. “I think a lot of times they think we sit idle, but we don’t. It’s years in the making, but then you finally start seeing the pieces fall into place.

“You can explain it over and over, but until people actually see it with their eyes, it is not real.”