ONE YEAR LATER: Capital One Tower remains empty

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Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 8:36 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Some know it as the Calcasieu Marine Tower, others as the Hibernia Tower, and more recently, The Capital One Tower.

“Growing up, there was always this connection between the City of Lake Charles skyline and the Capital One Tower,” Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said. “It’s almost synonymous with the City of Lake Charles.”

While they all signify a different era for the building, for Royce Allen, it represents nearly two years of his life.

“I started here at ground level and stayed on this job until we were hanging interior doors,” Allen said.

What was once a tower with windows, now sits empty and replaced with plywood after Hurricane Laura targeted the tower.

“It’s just heartbreaking to see it in the shape it’s in today, you know,” Allen said.

But, one year later, the question remains: will the tower tumble or continue to stand?

“Where we stand today, emotions matter, but to try and be realistic about the situation matters,” Hunter said. “It is public knowledge that the owners of the Capital Tower are going through litigation with their insurance company right now.”

Nic Hunter says he’s had an open conversation with the owners.

“I’m saying things to you right now that I have said to them - face to face,” Hunter said. “We would love to see the building renovated, obviously, that would be great for the City of Lake Charles. I think that, realistically, if that’s going to happen, it’s going to have to be repurposed. It probably wouldn’t all be office space as it was before.”

While many consider the tower an icon, Hunter says there are worse things that could happen besides the building being torn down.

“While it pains me to say this, I would rather see the tower torn down than see it stay the way it is today for an extended period of time.”

As for Allen, he says he would like to see it refurbished.

“It’s a tremendous asset to Lake Charles, I’d love to see it brought back to its former self,” Hunter said.

We did reach out to Hertz Investment Group about the property.

Hertz responded with the following:

On the advice of legal counsel, we cannot comment on the property at this time.

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