A video on Facebook shows the beginning of the demolition of the Capital One Tower in Lake Charles.

Staff Photo
Staff Photo

Some speculate that a tornado so severely damaged the building during Hurricane Laura's landfall. Others say the windows on the side of the building weren't rated to withstand the power of Hurricane Laura's winds.

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The Hertz Investment Group (HIG), the owner of the 41-year-old building, had estimated the renovation would cost over $150 million. The tower was built in 1981 and is 22 stories tall.

This is a bitter sweet story for SWLA residents. For so long it was an icon in the sky that symbolized Lake Charles. It was the first thing you noticed when crossing over the Calcasieu River bridge. I remember driving past it as a kid and marveling at how gigantic the building was to me.

I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge, Lake Charles, La.
Scott Lewis

On the other hand, it reminds us every day of the utter destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

The deadline that the City of Lake Charles gave Hertz to renovate or dispose of the building passed. So, the city gave companies the ability to bid on the demolition of the building.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter had this to say in a press release back in March:

The City has recently been made aware of the potential for the former Capital One Building to be demolished. We knew renovating this massive structure would be a monumental task, and this is why we injected ourselves into the insurance litigation, to protect the interests of locals. This is why the City insisted upon $7M from the insurance settlement being set aside in an escrow account.

We visited with and cooperated with multiple parties who were interested in rehabilitating the building. Ultimately, the economics in a post-COVID environment just may not work out. Seeing this building torn down would be sad for some, but three and a half years in its current state is long enough. A single building does not define our beautiful City. Ultimately, it is better for the building to be gone than to linger any longer in its current state.

A video on Facebook shows the beginning of demolition on the building:

Shane D. Liggio
Shane D. Liggio

A huge thanks goes out to Mr. Liggio for allowing us to share his Facebook post on this historical moment in SWLA history.

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