Nederland leaders nearing plan to begin $2.2M “Off Boston” Atlanta Avenue development

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

NEDERLAND — The sign in the Nederland Economic Development Corporation board room says “coming soon” and features renderings of what “Off Boston” Atlanta Avenue development project could look like.

A large parking lot, several buildings and landscaping display an inviting view of the project NEDC leaders hope bring jobs, sales tax dollars and ad valorem tax dollars.

On Tuesday those leaders invited the public to a hearing where Executive Director Kay DeCuir laid out the plans for the development.

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The proposed construction contract, which includes six buildings, comes in at roughly $2.2 million. The contractor is N & T Construction, and Architectural Alliance Inc. are the architects.

Background

“We don’t want to just ‘status quo.’ We’re not content with just the way things are,” DeCuir said while commending the NEDC board for being progressive, outstanding community citizens that want to see the city grow.

“We want to make things bigger, better, so that when we walk away one day or we retire, we can say, ‘hey, we brought in more jobs, we brought in more businesses.’ That’s what we’re here for, to grow the economy,” she said.

Real estate is part of the plan, because economic development involves real estate.

DeCuir is a Realtor and stressed the NEDC makes no commission off the sales of the property, saying “I’m a broker. I don’t make a penny.”

In 2020 she made a presentation where she spoke of wanting a town square and the closest thing is Atlanta Avenue, and Chicago Avenue and some rental property.

Then there was the waiting game during which the vacant Villa Motel was purchased and later became the site of Checker’s restaurant on Nederland Avenue.

The money used from the sale of the land was then used to buy the properties/older homes that will be part of the Atlanta Avenue development.

The board is also in talks to sell a Victorian style home already in that area for use only as a restaurant. DeCuir said she can’t provide the name of the interested individuals at this time nor can she say what kind of restaurant.

How does it work

The buildings can only be used for sales-tax driven businesses, DeCuir said and the property can not be leased, it must be sold. Once a buyer chooses a spot, they will need to pay a deposit to put the land on hold.

The sizes are:

  • Unit A — 1,200 square feet
  • Unit C — 1,080 square feet
  • Unit D — 1,350 square feet
  • Unit E — 1,540 square feet
  • Unit F & G— 2,950 square feet

(There is no “unit B”)

While the NEDC is seeking buyers who will bring sales tax dollars to the city, which is how they will pay themselves back for the purchases, there are no deed restrictions that are attached to the land to prohibit the buyer from selling the land, Jim Wimberley, NEDC attorney, said

Don Albanese, Nederland City mayor and member of the NEDC board, said the city has rules in place on what businesses can operate in different zones.

The prices for the properties are set and non-negotiable, meaning the NEDC isn’t going to profit from the endeavor, DeCuir said.

The buildings, once complete, will be a shell with a restroom. It will be up to the owner to do the build-out inside.

The next step is the $2.2 million construction contract to go before city council in two public hearings. The first public hearing is tentatively set for Monday during the Nederland City Council meeting.