Berdon-Campbell building, owner speaks

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A very familiar scene of birds flying on and off the Berdon-Campbell building. It sits right next door to what's now known as Muller's Lofts in downtown Lake Charles, La. Lori Marinovich, Director of Lakefront Downtown Development for City of Lake Charles, says "The Berdon-Campbell building is one of the very important historic national registered buildings in the downtown lakefront area".

That explains why critics of the building will never see the building get torn down even though there are visible broken windows, graffiti and bird droppings around the building's perimeter.

In the 1930s, the building was a furniture store.  However, in the 1940s, the building had some type of affiliation with the then Muller's Department store.  Over time, there were various owners and today, it is owned by Timothy Vaughan.

"Sha Sha's of Creole" restaurant on Ryan Street shares a parking lot with the Berdon-Campbell building.  Sha Sha's (sha is pronounced like the first syllable in 'shatter') co-owner Sherry Styron says she had quite a few customers complain about the Berdon-Campbell's overhang and bird droppings as restaurant patrons walk to her restaurant. However, she assures her customers that the downtown development is a work in progress. And just this past week, the building's owner removed the overhang canopy due to severe damage from weather and birds.

When owner, Tim Vaughan is asked what is holding him up from doing more now, he says that he is trying to acquire the parking lot behind him from AT&T. But he says owners of that AT&T space haven't been very responsive.

Vaughan has owned the building for the past 15 years.  He would like to turn Berdon-Campbell into a hotel.

And when this reporter asked if he had anything else to add for his critics, Vaughan's answer was simple:

(Vaughan:) "It's not finished. Wait."

On August 10th, the city of Lake Charles will hold a meeting to address concerns on those holding historic buildings. Marinovich says, "we will create some guidelines that can be incorporated into our development code and we are going to invite the public to come participate in that meeting. Those codes will be enforced".