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City of Beaumont expected to approve contract for asbestos abatement of former AT&T building

The city is planning to make room for a riverfront development.

BEAUMONT, Texas — The City of Beaumont is expected to approve a $259,572.80 contract with PfP Abatement Groups, LLC for asbestos abatement of the former AT&T building on Tuesday.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from a October 13, 2021 newscast.)

The company will have 60 days from start to complete the job. They were the lowest bid submitted out of three bidders total.

The city is planning to make room for a riverfront development.

The former AT&T building located at 555 Main Street was bought on July 27, 2021 in a six to one vote, with Councilman Mike Getz being the lone abstainer. The mayor and five other council members voted in favor of the purchase.  

Getz wasn't the only on against the deal. Mary Williams previously told 12News, she wasn't pleased with outcome.

“I think I speak for a lot of people in Beaumont because the reaction is just really disappointing right now,” Williams said.

RELATED: Beaumont City Council votes 6-1 to buy AT&T building

Dozens of people who packed council chambers July 2021 left behind empty seats, walking out once the vote was decided.

“So much money that's going to be used to demolish that building could be used for so much more things in Beaumont,” Williams said.

Christopher Matthews told 12News, it's OK to focus on downtown development and infrastructure.

“As humans, we're complex to be able to do two things at one time,” Matthews said.

He trusts that the city won’t let the community down as they move forward with plans for a riverfront development.

RELATED: Packed House: City of Beaumont hosts town hall about proposal to purchase AT&T building

“I think that this is a great decision to move forward with. You find Beaumont downtown revitalizing giving the citizens something recreational to do,” Matthews said.

Despite the divide, both Williams and Matthews said they hope the move will finally push the city forward.

“I hope we can get past the negative reaction and the positive, you know. The people who had who were for it can get along with the people who were against it,” Williams said.

“Also giving them hope for the future and future development in investments in that area,” Matthews said.

RELATED: City of Beaumont releases plans for 'Tevis Landing' on site of AT&T Building

On July 16, 2021, the city released images from their plans for possible uses of the space where the AT&T building sits. City Manager Kyle Hayes estimates the entire project would cost about $5 million.

Hayes estimates roughly $2.8 million would cover the purchase price of the property from current owner Tom Flanagan. Other expenses would cover the cost of demolition and land improvements.

Getz said this new idea may not be the best one.

"This is what I’m trying to promote on land that we already own this is celebration park in Naples, Florida. It’s an upscale food truck park," Getz said.

On July 13, 2021, the city held a meeting to gauge where the Beaumont community stood on the purchase decision.

The community seemed evenly split on the city’s decision to purchase the building. Some said the purchase of the building would bring in money more to the city.

“You get something in downtown Beaumont, and you see people coming off the freeway to visit,” a member of the Beaumont community who was for the purchase said. “That is money you do not have to spend because that will bring tax dollars to the city. That is what people are not understanding.”

Others argued the money spent on this could be used to better the city of Beaumont. “To develop money into this is not wise when we need streets that do not flood. We need our sewage improved. We need a lot of infrastructures, and this is not infrastructure.”

The city lost the building in 2019 online auction, when Tom Flanagan bought it for more than $2 million. The auction for the building started Feb.11, 2019 and ended Feb. 13, 2019.

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