LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was a transaction that seemed to infuriate some. Outraged that a group of local investors could buy a building and a month or so later turn around and sell it to parish government and make a $1,500,000 profit. Still, in December 2008 Calcasieu Police Jurors gave unanimous approval to buy the 901 Lakeshore Building for $4,900,000.
Two years later, Calcasieu Administrator Bryan Beam says it's replacement value is many times that. "It was a tremendous amount of savings to acquire an existing building versus building a new one. Just for an example in our latest insurance evaluations that building came in at replacement value of like $23,000,000," explained Beam. "Looking ahead ten and twenty years and the needs we are legally responsible to provide it's been a great investment for the voters and the citizens of Calcasieu Parish."
At the time of purchase officials said the 11 story building would go a long way toward solving the growing needs of the Calcasieu District Attorney's Office and Family Court, especially since it's right next to the courthouse complex. In the coming year Homeland Security will occupy the second floor and the District Attorney's Office will move to 901 Lakeshore.
"We are going to move forward in 2011 with relocating the District Attorney's Office to that building which has been in the plans. They have been really short on space. So, they will use several floors of that building. As it turns out, the building will not be used for Family Court as originally expected. We are not able to do the Family and Juvenile Court Building to there simply because court needs and those type security needs and size of the courtrooms and so forth just didn't fit in a traditional office tower. So, that's still a challenge we have to try to figure out," said Beam.
Beam said they also have private tenants whose rent pays the lion's share of maintenance costs. Rent from private tenants greatly offsets the cost of maintaining that building. And parish official say the property that went with the building helps relieve parking problems that have plagued the courthouse complex for years.