Downtown Building Plagued by Homeless

A downtown Lafayette property owner is being issued a warning. Take care of a building now or the city will.

The old BellSouth office building has little in the way of security and Lafayette fire and police say that makes it a threat to public safety.

Police say they make several stops each week at the old office building on Jefferson Street. The property located behind the Whitney Bank high rise has been vacant for years.

TV 10 toured the property with authorities. Signs of people staying in the building are everywhere. They include all types of personal belongings like caps, shoes and sunglasses. It also includes a makeshift bar in the office buildings old lounge area. Police say all they can do now is run people out when they find them.

Lafayette fire investigators say they're seeing other troubling signs.  They think a shirt found wrapped around a stick was covered with oil and used as a torch.  There are also rooms upstairs where smaller fires have been set. Fire officials say a fire at this type of large commercial building is one of the most dangerous situations a firefighter can face. They say it's also a threat to nearby businesses.

The concerns led to a certified letter from the Lafayette Metro codes office to a developer who bought the project about two years ago. It gives the developer five days to respond to the concerns and 30 days to start work on the building or demolish it.

Mike Steele

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