Today I stopped by Wendy's to get a breakfast biscuit and to my surprise, I saw workers at the old Capital One Tower at 1 Lakeshore Drive. I asked the drive-thru worker if he saw, what I saw and we both started to laugh. He was just as happy as I was to see that the iconic Lake Charles building was going to get fixed up. Since Hurricane Laura hit in August 2020, the tower has not only been a hot mess but a reminder of the devastation that the hurricane did to the entire city. This time last year, there wasn't much hope that we would ever see the building get fixed.

When we got back to Lake Charles after Laura, the city was unrecognizable. That was the very first time, in 30 years, that a hurricane had come through and destroyed everything. Seeing the Capital One Tower for the first time was mind-blowing. Talk about a mess! With nearly all of its windows blown out, there was green glass everywhere. I wonder if they are going to go with the same color when they restore it? Either way, I look forward to watching the progress as I head to work in Downtown Lake Charles.

The American Press(AP) reported the owner of the tower, William Hertz, President of Hertz Investment Group(HIG) confirmed that construction was already underway. They are a long-term real-estate company with major holdings nationwide. Lemoine Construction is the company that has the contract to renovate the 41-year old building. God knows they got their work cut out for them. Hertz says the cost to restore the 300,000 sq. foot building is going to be somewhere around $150 million. Telling AP, “There are various bottlenecks to the work; not to mention supply chain and labor shocks that the economy has recently been exposed to.” The Lake Charles structure was built in 1981 and stands 22-stories high. Originally, it was the Calcasieu Marine National Bank, some years later Hibernia Bank took over and in 2005 Capital One moved-in.

Just in case you were wondering what took so long, HIG launched a lawsuit against its insurance company. Just like everyone else, they have been fighting to get “full and fair payment” to fix their property. Their case is reportedly going to court sometime in October. Regardless Mr. Hertz said, there will be a significant improvement towards the end of the year. That sounds good to me. Can't wait to see what it'll look like when it's done!

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