Posted 2/16/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Capital Lodge was once a town of its own, with some 1,500 residents. Now the facility has shut off its power and water, and the owner, Mike Boudreaux, is beginning the process to clear out the modular units.
Boudreaux said the contraction of the oil industry has greatly dried up demand for temporary housing.
“We don’t see any more opportunity there, so we’re looking to repurpose the modular units,” Boudreaux explained.
He’s now looking at opportunities in Louisiana and on the East Coast where demand for temporary housing is growing.
Boudreaux said he’s proud of what he accomplished.
“We deemed our self to be the best around, and we tried really hard to provide a good product for the demand,” he said.
He said most of the structures on the site can be moved but there are a few permanent buildings that will remain. He is looking to sell the land, which is zoned industrial.
Last year, the lodge sought to transform the camp into a permanent hotel, but Williams County refused to rezone the facility for commercial use, even though the plan fit the county’s comprehensive plan for the area.
Boudreaux said the refusal to consider any kind of repurposing was just one of the barriers to continuing to do business in the county.
All along the way, he said the atmosphere from commissioners was unwelcoming, including a bed tax that greatly exceeded that for hotels.
The company faced similar problems when it attempted to provide temporary housing for construction workers for a planned fertilizer plant near Beulah.
Opposition from local residents who were concerned the camp would bring crime and traffic, as well as high bed fees as part of the conditions for the permit, made the planned facility economically infeasible.
Should the price of oil rebound some day and demand for temporary housing return, or some other opportunity arise, Boudreaux said he would prefer to seek opportunities in a more business-friendly area.
“We would definitely shy away from doing business out there,” he said.