Former Capital One Tower goes up for sale as residents wonder why no work is being done

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 3:28 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2023 at 7:12 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, La. (KPLC) - Hertz Investment Group, the owner of the former Capital One Tower, has announced that it will list the hurricane-damaged building for sale.

The City of Lake Charles was quick to warn that they will not let the building remain an eyesore for a long time.

Hertz settled with its insurance company in January after a battle for millions in repair costs.

Built as a hub for business in Southwest Louisiana 40 years ago, the tower has sat empty since Hurricane Laura in 2020. Locals keep asking why there’s no work being done on the building.

Work started removing boards from the tower windows in September 2022, but it does not seem there has been any recent activity at the site.

Visitor Cesar Reyes, of Katy, Texas, said the building gives a sad impression of the city.

“When you’re going past on the freeway you see this desolate building that’s been sitting out there and you don’t really see that there’s actually a nice city down below that you can actually shop and eat and have a little bit of a nightlife,” said Reyes.

When the lawsuit was settled, city officials said after much negotiation $7 million was put in an escrow account controlled by the city. If Hertz does not repair or demolish the structure, the city can use the money to do what needs to be done, including potential fines or demolition costs.

Local resident Donald Demease said it’s discouraging to see the building.

“It’s kind of depressing to see it’s not being worked on or anything. We have been getting a lot of work done since the hurricane hit us. I just believe that this building represents a big part of Lake Charles, and they should be doing something with it,” he said.

Hertz has two years from the end of last November to repair or demolish the building, which leaves about 20 months until the deadline.

Hertz released the following statement Friday:

“Hertz is formally listing the property for sale and is repositioning this asset to the appropriate buyer pool with the intention and hope of it being purchased and refurbished as a vital part of the city’s lakefront.”

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter released the following statement in response:

“Though we are disappointed with the news that Hertz has chosen not to move forward with refurbishing the building, we are not surprised. We reiterate to Hertz, any potential buyers of the structure, and the public at large that the City is firmly committed and will use every tool at our disposal to make sure that this building, in one way or another, is ultimately addressed. We will not allow this structure to continue existing in its blighted state for an extended period of time.”