Downtown AT&T building demolition plan put on hold

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In April 2022, Beaumont City Council members agreed to demolish the old AT&T building and move forward with their waterfront development plans.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A North Texas investor’s last-minute pitch for the downtown AT&T building put demolition plans on hold.

The building is located at 555 Main Street in Beaumont.

Acting City Manager Chris Boone said the city plans to issue a “request for proposals” to give other investors a fair show and an opportunity to bid on the building. Boone told 12News there is a plan to have a “more open and transparent” process.

Boone expects the plan to be released in the coming weeks.

Councilman Mike Getz is a supporter of saving the building that is now owned by the city. Getz told 12News it was important to give other investors the opportunity to bid.

Related: Beaumont City Council to reassess demolition of former AT&T building after potential new investor

Selim Kiralp is from North Texas and is the owner of Selim Kiralp LSC Investments. He offered to buy the building and turn it into luxury apartments, complete with a public gym and rooftop bar.

Kiralp thinks the property has potential.

“I’ve been inside the building, and the structure of the building itself is good,” Kiralp said. “And if the city tears it down, it won’t add anything to the city’s tax roll. It has a lot of potential to bring to downtown Beaumont.”

Council members are not ready to discuss the fate of the building at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Related: Town of Beaumont moves forward with demolition of former AT&T building

In early April 2022, Beaumont City Council members agreed to demolish the old AT&T building and move forward with their waterfront development plans.

A last minute interest from an outside investor in early May 2022 caused the board to reassess its initial demolition plans. Getz previously told 12News that a private investor had expressed interest in purchasing the building.

Getz said he wants to see downtown flourish and believes it starts with the AT&T building and adjacent areas of downtown by the river.

The city council purchased the building from then-owner Tom Flanagan in July 2021 for $2.8 million. Getz is against demolishing the building because, in addition to the $2.8 million purchase, there are other expenses to be met.

According to Getz, the total costs would be around $4 million, leaving the city with $1 million in its budget for the project and a pile of dirt.

Getz also said that part of the original purchase agreement between the city and Flanagan is that Flanagan has the right to buy back the building for the same price the city paid if they don’t tear it down. Getz said the best place for the building is in private hands.

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