City of Nederland buys $558K Bank of America building at 1308 Boston Avenue

Published 12:18 am Thursday, October 12, 2023

NEDERLAND — The City of Nederland is now the proud owner of a half-million dollar, two-story building on Boston Avenue.

The city council unanimously approved the building purchase of $558,415 when meeting this week, bringing into the fold the old Bank of America building at 1308 Boston Avenue.

It was two years ago when the Nederland Economic Development Corporation bought the location for $520,000 (with city council approval) from Ploutti, LLC.

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During that October of 2021 transaction period, there were smaller leasers operating at the location.

At the time, Nederland EDC leaders floated the redevelopment idea of turning the location into an event center, business incubator or bed & breakfast. Those were merely preliminary ideas and not a complete list of what ultimately was considered, but none came to fruition and the sale to the city followed this week.

The price listed at $558,415 is 56 cents per square foot, according to Nederland EDC Executive Director Kay DeCuir.

In recent months, Nederland EDC leaders focused on the creation of an event center for the downstairs and an emergency management services center for the upstairs.

“We talked about doing a dual lease or possibly selling the upstairs to the city and we keep the bottom,” DeCuir said. “(The sale to the city has) been a smoother, cleaner transaction to have one person own the building, and that’s the way we decided to go forward.

The Nederland EDC maintains ownership of the property across the street, approximately an acre in size, that once housed a drive-through banking operation. This, DeCuir said, could be turned into an event center down the line if that’s something the Nederland EDC board decides.

A picture of a hotel that used to sit along present day Boston Avenue at the site of the Bank of America building.

City response

City Manager Chris Duque said municipal leaders have been looking at the property for more than a year with a goal to use the location for emergency management operations.

“We’ve defined the need for additional emergency management operations space after hurricanes Laura and Delta,” he said. “We’ve been looking at buildings or the possibility of building a building that would be able to stand a category 4 hurricane. That building can meet those requirements with some improvements.”

With the city now owning the whole building and not just the upstairs, city officials must define what goes downstairs.

“We are very far along in terms of the design and specs for that renovation and those upgrades, but now that we are looking at the entire building, there may be some going back to, making some adjustments, based on having to address the entire building,” Duque said. “I need to speak to the engineering firm that has been working on the upstairs before I could give a timeframe or timeline (for occupation).”

History

It was October 2021 when DeCuir recited verbiage to the city council from a plaque she said was hanging inside the Bank of America building dating back decades when the location operated as Nederland State Bank on the former location of an 1897 hotel.

The pristine, clean look inside has not aged, giving the plaque extra impact as a historical marker, according to DeCuir.

“From late 1897 through the early years of the 1900s, The Orange Hotel was the center of activity for this struggling and growing community. What better location could have been chosen for Nederland State Bank — Your Hometown Bank! This site continues to be the hub of activity for a thriving and progressive city: Nederland,” DeCuir recited to city council members, adding “that is exactly what we are. We are a progressive city that is moving forward.”

Those comments came right after Nederland City Council members voted unanimously to approve the NEDC’s purchase of the Bank of America building for a price not to exceed $520,000.

EDC officials said the two-story building is roughly 17,000 square feet and sits on a footprint more than an acre in size, including a small grassy area and parking lot.

DeCuir has stated the bank building is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and includes an elevator.

— Staff writer Mary Meaux contributed to this report.