Towering eyesore? Lingering Hertz property issue will eventually be resolved

The iconic “Tower” at 1 Lakeshore Drive might be an eyesore today, but it won’t be forever. After the hurricanes, the city of Lake Charles had the foresight to put an equitable plan in place for dealing with the future of the area’s tallest structure.

A timeline for repair was set November 2022 that gave owners Hertz Investment Group two years to repair it or demolish it, and just to ensure that happens, the city required Hertz to put $7 million into an escrow account with the city to achieve that end.

“In the event the property is not repaired or demolished by the November 2024 deadline, the city will move to condemn and demolish the building,” said a spokesperson from the mayor’s office, who added the building can be demolished for that amount or less.

“I would love to see the structure rehabilitated, and have stated this numerous times,” Mayor Nic Hunter said. “The city has met with and continues to meet with parties interested in rehabilitating the structure. Ultimately, the worst thing to happen is for that structure to remain in its current state for an extended period of time, and I will not allow that to happen.”

Hertz Investment Group assured the city they wanted to repair “The Tower” after the hurricanes; they just needed more time to settle with their insurance company as late as June 2022. Construction began and it ceased after a settlement was reached. Hertz did not disclose the amount of the settlement. Now, the building is listed for sale.

In 1981, the newly constructed, six-sided 22-story building with 400,000 square feet of office space 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.

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