“Port Arthur is the future home” — Motiva officials share updated downtown planning

Published 12:24 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Motiva Enterprises announced the restart of the renovations to the Adams Building in Downtown Port Arthur.

The pandemic in 2020, along with unprecedented market volatility, sidelined the downtown project for almost three years, Claire Jackson, Motiva social responsibility and community affairs manager, said during Tuesday’s announcement at the Port Arthur City Council meeting.

“As we’ve managed our business through the market downturn, we’ve always considered a commitment to the Port Arthur community and even during the slowdown, Motiva has been working behind the scenes to restart the rehabilitation of the Adams Building,” Jackson said.

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“As we’ve shared before, Port Arthur is the future home to hundreds of Motiva employees who are not related to the maintenance or operations at our site. We’re excited to stand before you tonight to share that our project has received full funding from our board.”

Chad Allen, Motiva senior manager of capital projects, makes a major announcement during a Port Arthur City Council meeting on Tuesday. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Chad Allen, senior manager of capital projects, said financial approval has been given for the project to move forward. During the last few months they have been working closely with an architect and specialty structural engineer out of Austin.

An architectural rendering shown to council depicts the Adams Building refurbished to look as it did 100 years ago, he said.

A full investigation of the geotechnical was performed and the soil around the building analyzed, among other similar projects.

Besides the offices in the building, the first floor would be open to the public and offer restaurants and other amenities, Jackson said.

Councilman Thomas Kinlaw III asked simply, how soon would construction begin.

Allen said all of the bids are in and they have awarded all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler system and have recently received the bids for all structural repair work.

“We will be issuing a purchase order for that work, hopefully in the next couple of weeks,” Allen said. “We’re doing the final reviews on that and we’re trying to get the structural repair work all completed or started towards the end of September, first part of October. And then from there will be continuous construction all the way through.”

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bill Bartie stands near the Adams Building. (Courtesy photo)


Following the 2017 purchase, Motiva in 2019 hosted an unveiling and downtown celebration for the revitalization, which would turn the two historic buildings into offices for more than 500 contractors and personnel.

Construction came to a halt in 2021. In May 2022, representatives from Motiva reiterated to city councilmembers their intent to continue the downtown revitalization project.

They had faced by a multitude of issues since the unveiling — COVID, requirements from the Texas Historical Commission to renovate the Adams Building and Federal Building, and ongoing inflation that drastically increased the cost of building materials.

In addition to the Adams and Federal Buildings, Motiva also purchased the building that houses the Port Arthur Health Department as the city renovates the former Health and Human Services building for rehoming.