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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 30, 201805:00 AM EST

Deal could be close on unfinished Berkman II Downtown

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Choate Construction working to sell property.

By Jim Piggott, News4Jax Reporter

 A 23-story  partially completed Downtown building could be sold and a deal done by the end of the summer. 

“That eyesore has to be gone one way or another,” Mayor Lenny Curry said last summer.

Berkman Plaza II, the concrete skeleton of a high-rise condominium along the St Johns River that has stood unfinished since the collapse at its parking garage over a decade ago, could see redevelopment if a deal to sell the property goes through in August. 

In December 2007, the parking garage under construction next door at the Berkman Plaza collapsed, killing one construction worker and injuring several others. A lawsuit and other court action caused construction to stop. 

Choate Construction has owned the property since receiving it as a settlement in a lawsuit against the original owner. Choate CEO Mike Hampton said the company has been actively trying to sell the property ever since and is close to making a deal. 

Last week, News4Jax spoke with Hampton after he met with Curry to update him on the pending sale. Hampton won’t reveal the name of the buyer or plans for the site. 

Curry has made cleaning up and developing the site, which is next to a potential Shipyards development, a priority for his administration. 

People living at The Plaza Condominium at Berkman Plaza and Marina remain skeptical. 

“I will believe it when I see it. And, of course, if the new ownership makes progress making some improvements and getting some units sold,” Darryl Patterson said. “I’m waiting for action. Words don’t mean too much.” 

Other residents, who wouldn’t give their names, told News4Jax that it’s easy for people to climb over the fence and sneak in.

They said vagrants live in the structure and rodents are everywhere. 

News4Jax is a Daily Record media partner.

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