Breaking News
More () »

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

A battle about a downtown Beaumont building that has divided the city for years is moving into a new chapter.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A battle over a downtown Beaumont building that has divided the city for years is moving into a new chapter. 

Dozens turned out Tuesday night as the city council hosted a town hall meeting to gauge community support for a proposal to buy the old AT&T Building located at 555 Main Street.

The city of Beaumont is considering buying the property and demolishing it to make room for riverfront development. City Manager Kyle Hayes estimates the entire project would cost about $5 million. He 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.

During the meeting Hayes asked community members for a show of hands, to see who supported and who opposed the project. The room appeared to be split.

This is the city's second attempt at buying the property. The city of Beaumont participated in an online auction in 2019. However, they lost out to Tom Flanagan who scored the winning bid more than $2 million.

Related: Beaumont building battle continues after city tables purchase of AT&T property for 60 days

At Tuesday's meeting, dozens signed up to speak, and comments were capped at two minutes. 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 argue 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.”

Others question the price for the property. “They want to spend another $2.1 million or $2.5 million to purchase the building,” David Pete, Beaumont community member, said. “That is not equitable.”

Council members took no action during Tuesday's town hall meeting. It was simply a listening session. 12News will keep you updated on the city's next moves.

Also on 12NewsNow.com ... 

Before You Leave, Check This Out