Potential AT&T Building investor Slim Keralp talks about plans for downtown Beaumont

    A Dallas real estate investor plans to submit a formal letter of offer to the city of Beaumont this week to purchase an AT&T building downtown.

    The show will come during a trip to town, something Slim Keralp does up to three times each month, usually to check out a property he already owns. This time, however, he was also looking at the AT&T building.

    Kiralp has been in the real estate business for over a decade. He started in his native Turkey, but after watching the economy in Turkey and the United States, he immigrated with his family to America and has continued to work in Texas for the past six years.

    “I chose Texas because Texas is growing,” Keralp said. “And I didn’t come to Dallas at random. I did my research on it. Six years later, I can say I made the right decision.”

    Even with the rising cost of living in the Lone Star State, Keralp says Texas still has room to grow and recommends people invest in this state the way he wants to invest in Beaumont — a city he believes could really go somewhere, if it’s dealt with. correctly.

    “As a property developer and investor, I dedicate most of my time to researching properties that are commercially right for me, and cities where I see potential. I travel a lot,” he said. “I traveled to Beaumont before I bought my first property in Beaumont. And I saw the potential here.”

    He specifically said he sees potential in downtown Beaumont and that the area could be a much better place.

    But he said current plans by the city of Beaumont to demolish the building at 555 Main Street are meaningless.

    It’s not a very old building on the verge of collapse. He said. “It was never flooded. There is no water in the building. He just needs make-up.”

    His plan would be to transform the building from the ground up, and possibly beyond.

    “Put retail, restaurants, cafes and bars downstairs – and the apartments above it. The basement floor will feature a fitness pool and indoor pool that will be free for tenants who live in apartments. It will also sell memberships – which will include saunas etc. In fact, the building is designed to be higher as well. So, I’m planning to put a rooftop tape there. I might go up with the building and then move the rooftop tape to a floor higher.”

    The building he has in mind is refined and remodeled.

    “I want to put up luxury apartments,” he said. I’m thinking of an apartment with a lobby and entrance gates closed. There will be someone to greet you at the entrance and if you have guests coming, they will greet your guests (and) they will call you, like a hotel lobby.”

    He also considered building an actual hotel on top of the apartments if he expanded the building. This can be done quietly and discreetly, he said, pointing to buildings in Manhattan as a case study.

    He’s interested in getting people to rent kayaks on the riverbank as well, and if the barge Texas came to rest on the Neches River, he offered to set up a museum there as well.

    Kiralp made the city an oral offer of $3 million. He said on Wednesday that he planned to send a formal letter of offer on Thursday.

    However, he is aware of an arrangement with former building owner Tom Flanagan, according to which the city must demolish the building after buying it from him – or else he will buy back the building. If the city finds common ground, Kiralp is committed to buying the building.

    The city is assessing the suitability of Kiralp for such an ambitious project.

    “We are struggling with two problems,” interim city manager Chris Boone said last week. “The first is the developer’s experience and ability to succeed on a project like this. So we are conducting this investigation now.”

    As of Wednesday, Boone said the investigation is not over yet. The city is still reviewing documents and similar projects.

    However, Keralp insists he is ready to take on the challenge.

    “I worked on rehabilitating a lot of historical buildings in Turkey. Some of the buildings were built in the 19th century. Those were actually my first projects when I started real estate investing. I did a lot of rehabilitation work, more than building from scratch,” the investor said. “And as I said, I am building here now. So I have experience building from the ground as well.”

    He says he is currently developing a $10 million condominium with 108 units near Lamar University, which is due to open in August. He said occupancy was 130% with a waiting list but declined to name the building.

    Looking to the future, Keralp has offered to close the property within 90 days if his offer is accepted. It is estimated that it will take no more than a year to conduct structural studies, design and apply for a permit. He said construction could be finished within two years.

    The investor says he only works with the very best in the game in Texas. So in his mind the only thing between him and renovating this building is waiting for the city to decide on the project.

    “My team is quick to respond,” Keralp said. “So I’m looking forward to three years total from my end, plus city time.”