Details shared for 4.5-acre Port Neches riverfront entertainment venue that is near approval

Published 12:18 am Friday, September 8, 2023

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PORT NECHES — The sale of land for a new restaurant along Port Neches riverfront is temporarily postponed while officials fine-tune the contract.

Min Dai is looking to purchase 4.54 acres of land to place a two-story, beach-style structure for a restaurant/bar/entertainment venue.

The sale of the land and approval of other required documents between the City and the Port Neches Economic Development Corporation for the proposed restaurant was postponed Thursday as well as approval of the terms and conditions agreement between the City and Obana Three Company Inc.

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The slight postponement due to paperwork isn’t expected to hamper the development, according to city officials.

City Manager Andre Wimer said Dai expressed interest in getting the project started as soon as possible.

Mayor Glenn Johnson, who has served as mayor for 19 years, has been through the many phases of development along the riverfront, from industrial cleanup to its current state of growth.

Johnson is excited for this new development.

“It goes to show you that we had the right vision for all these years,” Johnson said. “We’re just getting the right match between public and private investments, and it’s a good partnership.”

Johnson said if the new restaurant is as popular as the Neches River Wheelhouse — which was the first development along the riverfront — then the City would see the property taxes and sales taxes that would far exceed what has been put into the property.

“We’re excited,” he said. “Now all we have to do is to develop the rest of it. That’s next. One step at a time.”

Dai spoke to City Council Aug. 24 and said the venue would have permanent and alternating food trucks, four pickleball courts, two sand volleyball courts and a children’s playground.

Dai is owner of several other area restaurants, including Tokyo and Pour09.

During the August meeting Dai addressed Council and the audience, saying he knew there were rumors the establishment would be a bar. He said this was not the case and the plan is to open a venue complex that is family friendly.

Wimer said the issue would likely be back on the agenda for possible approval at the next meeting.