$18 million project seen in Navy Park
A substanstial change in the landscape of the Navy Park Addition should see families or individuals moving into new units starting in a couple of weeks.
Construction is targeted through the end of September, said Chris Akbari with ITEX Developers of Port Arthur. ITEX specializes in property management and construction, and was able to get tax credits and funding assistance through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
The project was originally earmarked for $16 million, however, ITEX was able to get additional funding, increasing the cost to about $18 million, Akbari said.
Unit prices are undetermined and subject to change, he said.
“For quite some time we’ve been tearing down a significant number of units in the neighborhood and building them back,” he said.
“There were originally going to be 115 quad units, tri-units and duplexes, but we received some additional funding and altogether now, there will be 150 units with three bedrooms, two-and-a half baths, two stories and a one- or two-car garage.”
There will also be a community center, and several other amenities such as a playground, he said.
“Right now we’ve demolished about 60 structures,” he said.
Since the Navy Park Addition is considered a part of Orange history, ITEX had to get clearance through the Texas Historic Commission. The Orange City Council was also required to approve the project.
Nightclub owner Buster Johnson owned much of Navy Park Addition at one time. Officers’ quarters were confined to their own section on the grounds. The community was built more than 60 years ago to house shipyard workers during World War II.
The units were among the first housing facilities constructed specifically to support wartime production.
According to a 1997 report prepared by the Orange Historical Commission, the Naval Base at Orange was considered “closed” in 1962, although continued to operate as a reserve base.
Orange’s population grew from some 7,500 in 1940, to an estimated 45,000 by 1943.
Many Navy Park streets are named after Naval heroes such as Farragut, Dewey and Decatur. Another street honors Franklin Roosevelt, president during most of the war.