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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Mar. 25, 200412:00 PM EST

Crawdaddy's will be torn down

by: Tammy Taylor

by Tammy Taylor

Staff Writer

Crawdaddy’s Restaurant, once located on the Southbank next to the Radisson, will soon be demolished. Future plans for the site will be announced after the building’s demolition.

The restaurant, which closed about two years ago to undergo remodeling after being sold to a Tampa-based restaurant chain, has not opened its doors since. Riverwalk Hotels, LLC, the company which owns the Radisson and recently bought the Crawdaddy’s building, told the NFL the structure will be removed before the 2005 Super Bowl, said Steven Pardo of Pardo & Gainsburg, legal counsel for Riverwalk Hotels, LLC.

According to Radisson representatives, they are awaiting the proper permits before demolition begins.

Heather Dorsey, a sales and catering representative for the Radisson, said the building has been condemned.

According to Bill Warren, a construction worker for the Radisson, “the building is caving in on the waterfront side.”

The site will sit empty while being in the center of the Southbank Super Bowl events, including the NFL Experience, a celebration that will be held next door to the old Creole restaurant on the 30-acre JEA property which was once the Southside Generating Plant.

“We were looking at a couple of different options that would be beneficial to community groups, but if it does not happen within a reasonable amount of time, it will be taken down within the next couple of months. But our plan and commitment to the NFL is that the building will be removed,” said Pardo.

Joe Hockenbury, general manager of the Radisson, is in talks with the NFL on how they can use the property during the Super Bowl festivities. Pardo said there are also plans in the works with the Super Bowl Host Committee on what the property can be used for during the events.

Heather Surface, communication director for the Host Committee, said she currently knows of no plans to use the site for Super Bowl activities.

Specialty Foods Corporation, a California restaurant company which operated Crawdaddy’s, forfeited its lease in 2001. John Kenny, CFO of Specialty Foods Corporation said the company decided to sell the lease back to the landlord shortly after the restaurant closed.

He declined to say why Specialty Foods decided to close the restaurant, saying “I’m not going to go into that.”

The restaurant, designed to give the feel of stepping into a old Florida home, featured large picture windows that allowed fora river view while dining.

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