The signs are going up at the intersection of U.S. 69 and FM 365, signaling a retail development months in the making is getting close to completion.
In February, Houston-based developer Baker-Katz announced an expansion to the Hobby Lobby/Party City center that had opened months earlier to much fanfare.
New businesses include two eateries, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Firehouse Subs.
Also included in the expansion is Gulfside Dental, and the largest of the group: PetSmart.
While PetSmart is built adjacent to Party City in an expanded 13,000 square foot space, the others will be housed in a building constructed in front of the existing Hobby Lobby and Party City retailers.
When plans were originally announced, Baker-Katz said a fourth business would be a Cash Store. That business has since pulled out of the project.
Neal Wade, partner with Baker-Katz, said the developer is in negotiations with other companies, possibly a yogurt shop to fill the 1,500 square foot vacant spot.
“We are excited to be getting close to completion because we got hit with a ton of rain in the summer and the spring,” Wade said.
The first retailer expected to open its doors is PetSmart.
Wade said Baker-Katz will officially finish the 13,000 square foot PetSmart building Wednesday.
Melissa Wendel, consumer public relations manager with PetSmart said the company plans to open its Port Arthur location with a grand opening scheduled for Dec. 5.
Brittany Mirvil, public relations with Firehouse Subs, said the company would open in early November, potentially Nov. 1. Firehouse Subs plans to employee 36 people at its new Port Arthur location.
The 1,750 square foot eatery is the first Firehouse Subs Restaurant in Port Arthur and the first location for husband-wife duo James and Keeya Gillard. James Gillard is an active firefighter with the Beaumont Fire Department, where he has served for 23 years
Gulfside Dental, with dentist Dr. Ashley Demarco, is expected to open its 1,750 square foot building in January, according to the company’s website.
Chipotle Grill is expected to open Dec. 16, in the 2,000 square foot building, Wade said.
Further down FM 365, Tractor Supply is building between Crazy 8’s pool hall and the new Park Place Central apartments currently under construction.
Tractor Supply is expected to have a soft opening the last weekend in January and a grand opening the following weekend.
Wade said the company’s experience with the city of Port Arthur has been very favorable.
“We are more than happy with the development, the city officials, just everybody in the whole process,” Wade said. “I have heard that Party City and Hobby Lobby have been doing extremely well. My interaction with government officials down there has been great.”
In addition to the Hobby Lobby Center expansions, developer Kerry LaGrone is planning to expand an area along U.S. 69 and the Jimmy Johnson intersection area. LaGrone plans to build another national restaurant adjacent to the existing Saltgrass Steakhouse. LaGrone, though his company PA69 L.P. also plans to expand the building that houses Conn’s and Boot Barn by another 13,260 square feet.
Port Arthur City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to approve a Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation grant in the amount of $275,000 for infrastructure storm drainage improvements associated with the expansion.
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