BREAKING: Capital One Tower will be demolished this summer

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Hertz Tower — formerly the Capital One Tower — will be demolished in the last half of this summer.

On Tuesday, the city of Lake Charles confirmed in a video shared with The American Press that a private demolition contractor contacted them. Mayor Nic Hunter said the city is “in a very assured position that this building is coming down.”

The Hertz Tower — located at 1 Lakeshore Drive — was gutted after the hurricanes of 2020. Hertz Investment Group expressed a desire to repair the building in 2022, but put the building on the market in March 2023 after the owners received their insurance settlement.

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Hunter said it is important to remember that the Hertz Tower is not owned by the city, and the city does not determine what is done with the property.

“We don’t own the dirt underneath this structure,” he said.

Despite not owning the property, he said that city administration did get involved with the tower situation “on a couple of fronts” due to concern over the “ultimate endgame of the building.”

“We were concerned that if all other options for rehabilitation did not come to fruition, we wanted to make sure that there was private money set aside to take care of a demolition if that day did indeed come,” he said.

Seven million dollars from Hertz was put in an escrow account to ensure the tower would either be repaired or demolished at the request of the city. This step was taken to make sure no taxpayer money was used for a costly demolition.

The city also sat down with a dozen developers and private individuals to attempt to find a way to rehabilitate the building.

“We offered assistance, we offered incentives. Ultimately, private industry was not able to save this building.”

The city is going to continue conversations with the general contractor and demolition contractor, he said.  A city consultant will also be added to the mix to ensure individuals and public and private properties around the structure will be “safe and secure.”

Mobilization for the demotion is slated to begin around May 20. The building is estimated to come down in late August or early September.

“Though the city doesn’t own this structure, we are going to make sure that when it does come down, it’s a very safe, secure and organized event,” he said.

Hunter said the city is viewing the demolition as an opportunity to bring something new to an area of Lake Charles that is in the throughs of development.

“It is blight, and ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to move on. We’ve been looking at this tower for almost four years. I know that there’s a lot of us that wanted to see it saved, but four years is long enough for us to stare at this eyesore in our community. I cannot promise you what’s going to replace that structure. I can promise you that whatever replaces it is going to be better than whatever we’re looking at today.”

The Hertz Tower is located in the Downtown Economic Development District, which provides guidelines and parameters that ensure that what is built on the property will “complement and benefit” downtown Lake Charles and the lakefront.