Motiva updates progress, completion timeline for historic Adams Building in Downtown Port Arthur

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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Officials with Motiva Enterprises are working with the Texas Historical Commission to create an accurate restoration of the Adams Building in downtown Port Arthur.

The state agency is reviewing color matches and material selections — an approximate 60-day process — for the structure that will house administrative offices for Motiva.

Chad Allen, senior manager of capital projects for Motiva, said they have a representative who works closely with the historical society to make sure all of the color matches correctly and the building looks as it did 100 years ago.

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The multi-floor building has stood vacant for many years, but the city wasn’t allowed to demolish the structure because of the historical designation, Port Arthur City Councilman Willie “Bae” Lewis said.

The restoration work is way more than cosmetic.

Structural engineering on the building has been completed, and officials are working closely with structural engineers to make repairs.

Allen presented photographs to the Port Arthur City Council, showing cracks in beams and the same area fully repaired with grout. Every single beam in the building has been checked, Allen said.

Crew members have chipped out old concrete, repaired rebar and made it structurally sound.

“It’s a very tedious process,” Allen said. “But you can see a lot of the scaffolding that goes on either side of those columns as we do a repair one at a time. Everybody has been working very safely and are very focused on getting the work completed.”

Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire sprinkler specialists are working on 3D modeling, then in a few weeks will work to install the equipment.

The major structural repair should be complete by August and the minor structural repair will taper off into December.

This will allow other contractors to come into the building and start their work.

Councilmember Thomas Kinlaw III, who requested Motiva update the council on the Adams Building, asked when the project would be totally completed.

Allen said the goal is to move furniture and other items into the building by the end of 2025.

Kinlaw said he and fellow councilmembers are excited and hope other businesses want to locate in downtown Port Arthur.

Claire Jackson, Motiva social responsibility and community affairs manager, provided an update on the industry giant’s contributions to the community, some of which include delivering more than 100 care packages from the civilian task force to local churches for further distribution, supporting Community Care Prayer Outreach to help with utility bills for Port Arthur residents and partnering with the City of Port Arthur to identify those in need of support in the area.

In addition, Motiva volunteers completed 200 community service projects throughout 2023.

A few of the projects, she said, turned into annual support, such as first responder grants and the Symphony of Southeast Texas.

In August 2023, Motiva announced the restart of the renovations to the Adams Building following a multi-year break in work due to the pandemic and unprecedented market vitality.

The Adams Building was built in 1924 by John R. Adams and served as offices for doctors, attorneys, insurance agents and other businesses. It was later renamed the World Trade Building, according to the Portal to Texas History.