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Jax Daily Record Friday, Dec. 10, 202106:02 PM EST

Berkman II implosion postponed until Jan. 8

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Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization says the delay is a scheduling conflict with the demolition contractor. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

Now delayed three times, city officials will allow the developer of Berkman Plaza II property Downtown to implode the unfinished high-rise Jan. 8.

Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization LLC wants to remove the building at 500 E. Bay St. to make way for development.

An email provided Dec. 10 by the company’s co-manager, Park Beeler, shows the city’s Building Inspection Division signed off on the request to reschedule the demolition. The correspondence was with the project’s lead demolition contractor, Pece of Mind Environmental Inc.

City Building Inspection Chief Joshua Gideon wrote that the city is OK with the Jan. 8, 2022, demolition/implosion of the building.

“Please confirm this is the date and time for the implosion so that we can pull together the agencies for this date and time,” he wrote to Pece.

Beeler said in the email he would consult with the implosion contractor Dec. 13 to confirm the date. 

Beeler informed the city Code Enforcement Board of the delay at its Dec. 9 meeting, he said.

The demolition was planned for Dec. 20. It’s the third time the implosion has been postponed.

Beeler said the latest delay was caused by a scheduling conflict with implosion contractor Maryland-based Controlled Demolition Inc.

According to Beeler, another CDI customer exercised a contract clause that allowed it take the Dec. 20 date.

“This was an acknowledged possibility under our agreement with CDI, but was judged to be very remote at the time,” Beeler wrote in a statement sent to city officials, the news media and residents of the neighboring The Plaza Condominium at Berkman Plaza & Marina.

CDI is working with Pece of Mind Environmental on the project. 

Two previous dates for the implosion, Oct. 17 and Nov. 14, were scrapped because of scheduling conflicts, safety concerns and supply chain issues. 

In August, Pece of Mind halted a manual tear-down because of structural and safety concerns and sought city approval for an implosion.

The riverfront property is under condemnation by the city. 

The city’s demolition order that had been in place since late 2020 was nullified in August, according to a Sept. 1 email exchange with the Office of General Counsel.

That was caused by the “supersede notice of condemnation” city code enforcement officials issued for the property. 

The notice gave the developer time to complete its demolition before the city would step in to complete it.

Beeler said Dec. 10 that there is no danger of the building collapsing before the implosion.

PB Riverfront Revitalization of Jacksonville LLC, a company controlled by the developer, bought the Berkman II on April 21 for $5.503 million.

The developer has plans to replace the 14-year-old Berkman shell with a mixed-use residential and hotel high-rise.

The building has been vacant since 2007, following the collapse of a parking garage that killed one and injured others.

 

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