BEAUMONT -- This building has been abandoned for about five years, and on February 15th, an online auction will take place to sell it. City of Beaumont elected officials are deciding whether or not they should place a bid.
Councilman Mike Getz is arguing against it.
“The City of Beaumont could be spending north of a million dollars to buy the building, north of a million dollars to demolish the building, for an acquisition of land that is only worth $500,000,” he says. “That is just ridiculous.”
He believes the money could be better spent:
“We have real things that need to be paid for in Beaumont. We need to work on our infrastructure, we need more police officers, we need to do things with our general fund other than speculate on a building that has been sitting here vacant already for 5 years.”
In addition to not wanting to use tax payer money for this large project, Getz says a private business is interested in purchasing the building and hiring 100 employees.
“The City of Beaumont does not need to be in the way of that. It needs to help make it easier for the private sector to come in here and do something. Not put up road blocks, and certainly not bid against the private sector that has an interest in the building.”
Councilwoman Virginia Jordan is one of the members supporting a bid on the building.
“In our mind, we owe the citizens of Beaumont a future and this is one step in that direction.”
Jordan hopes to repurpose this area, allowing for more entertainment and leisurely activities.
“I hope multiple restaurants open up. I hope shops open up. Boutiques; perhaps a hotel. Once we give people a nice, positive, delightful reason to come to downtown the possibilities are endless.”
Adding with the city in control of this land, downtown will stay alive.
“We've received criticism for, 'well they can't possibly manage a development project on the river look what they did with Crocket Street or look what they did with the Ford Center.’ Well the City of Beaumont doesn't own either of those assets and has no control over how they're operated.”
To keep this land in the private sector, or to let the city control it. To spend tax payer money now, in the hopes that revenue will eventually come. A big decision for the council.