Kenner officials announced Wednesday that they have razed an abandoned hookah lounge building that some residents and government officials reviled.
The demolition of Elevation Lounge's former home occurred about 10 days after the city's government learned that Regions Bank had purchased it, according to Rick Walther, the assistant director of Kenner's Property Code Enforcement Department.
Walther said Regions officials intend to build a bank branch and office complex at the site in the 3500 block of Williams Boulevard, replacing a business that drew about 10 major property code violations in the year or so that it's been closed.
"This ... property was an eyesore," Mayor Ben Zahn said in a statement. "I want to commend the officials at Regions Bank for quickly arranging for the demolition."
Walther said municipal inspectors had spent much time recently citing the property for litter, uncut grass, trash, debris and a general state of disrepair. Inspectors found a squatter inside the building recently, and rats were a common sight there as well, Walther added.
A company whose listed principals are Mei-Qing and Wan Wang Lin owned the Elevation Lounge site before Regions purchased it. The Lins could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
After Regions acquired the property for an undisclosed price, the city said, it notified bank officials of the problems there — and the building that previously housed the hookah lounge was knocked down Wednesday afternoon.
City Councilman Keith Reynaud, whose district includes the site, said the demolition sent a message that the city will not tolerate blight.
Zahn echoed him, saying his administration will continue working with the City Council to rid Kenner of other dilapidated buildings.
A day after Wednesday's razing, the City Council voted to demolish three dilapidated homes — one each in the 3800 block of Tulane Drive, the 300 block of Pollock Place, and the 3600 block of Arkansas Avenue, unless the abandoned residences are repaired relatively quickly.