BREAKING: Former Capital One building being put up for sale
Published 6:48 pm Friday, March 24, 2023
Hertz Investment Group assured the city they wanted to repair the tower. They just needed more time to settle with their insurance company. Now, the building is for sale — boarded windows and all — with the “hope it is purchased.”
Friday, Hertz released the following statement, “In January, Hertz Investment Group reached a settlement with their insurance company regarding the hurricane damage to the Capital One Tower building in Lake Charles. Hertz is formally listing the property for sale and is repositioning this asset to the appropriate buyer pool with the intention and hope of it being purchased and refurbished as a vital part of the city’s lakefront.”
Damaged heavily by the 2020 hurricanes, city administrators became actively involved with the fate of the tower right away. The city of Lake Charles does not own or operate the building, but administration made it clear: the best case scenario is to see the “iconic building rehabilitated. The worst case scenario was for the building to remain in its current form for an extended period of time with no end in sight.”
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At the June 15, 2022, council meeting, City AdministratorJohn Cardone said the tower met the city’s definition of blight. It was not just an eyesore.
At the same meeting, New Orleans Attorney Martha Curtis, lead counsel representing the Hertz Group, spoke on the company’s behalf. “We have signed a contract with Lemoine Construction in the mortgage book and with John Williams, an architect out of New Orleans,” she said. “We have done everything we can. We want to be here.”
Construction seemed to begin. In July of 2022, Hertz told the American Press the aluminum and glass work for the mezzanine should be delivered to the site in August.
Hertz’s lawsuit against its insurance company was set to go to trial in October, but was postponed.
In an effort to protect the interests of the city of Lake Charles, it intervened in Hertz’s lawsuit and placed $7 million in an escrow account controlled by the city. The money is available to demolish the structure if Hertz does not repair or demolish the building on its own.
Hertz has two years from the end of November 2022 to make the repairs or demolish the building, according to a news release from the city. If they don’t make that date, the funds can be used for fines and or demolition expenses.
The tower has 22 stories and 400,000 square feet, and before the hurricanes, an all-glass exterior finish. According to commercialsearch.com, the listing price for the 10.76 acre property and building at 1 Lakeshore Drive is $8,500,000.
Joel Davidson, local commercial real estate broker said the building has never been at full capacity since Hurricane Rita. If it doesn’t sell and it has to be demolished, the property might serve a “higher and better use for our downtown/lakefront area.”
It could spur the opportunity for small office development more in line with the market’s need, he said.