Towering project: $150 million+ rebuild has begun on downtown landmark

Published 5:03 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

In August 2020, Hurricane Laura turned the structure at 1 Lakeshore Drive into a patched-up eyesore. Work has begun on the iconic Lake Charles structure, but no information is available at this time about how long the project could take or a tenant likely to lend its name.

In 1981, the newly constructed 22-story building was named for the Calcasieu Marine National Bank and referred to as the CM Tower.  In 2005, it became the Capital One Bank Tower. In between, the Hibernia Tower. Capital One closed its offices and signage was removed pre-Hurricane Laura.

Hertz Investment Group is the property owner. William Hertz, president, said construction has begun on the envelope of the property, as that is the area “with the highest discomfort to the public.”

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Lemoine Construction has been awarded the contract. The price tag will be more than $150 million, but the timeline is complicated, according to Hertz.

“There are various bottlenecks to the work; not to mention supply chain and labor shocks that the economy has recently been exposed to,” he said.

The company is suing its insurance company for payment. Hertz received a check from its insurance company, however not enough for a rebuild. The company filed suit in the hopes for a “full and fair payment.” The case is slated to be heard in October and Hertz is optimistic.

“We do believe that significant visual progress will take place in the third and fourth quarter of this year,” Hertz said. “The mezzanine level windows should be replaced during this period.”

Some things will be different in the rebuild, for instance new accessibility code standards will be implemented. The glass, which incorporates impact glass and a thicker glass will be installed, but this won’t be a visible change.

Hertz Group is a long-term office building holding company that owns about 17 million square feet across the U.S. with significant holdings in Louisiana.