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Mathis Report
Jax Daily Record Friday, Jan. 10, 202005:10 AM EST

End is near for old Fire Station No. 5 in Brooklyn

Structure will make way for a road alignment for access to the new $145 million FIS headquarters.

No one bid to rescue it, so the vacant 110-year-old Fire Station No. 5 in Brooklyn is starting to come down this month, the city reports.

James Croft, city assistant director of public affairs, said work on the demolition of the building at 347 Riverside Ave. will take place by the end of January.

The structure is in the path of road realignment needed for access to the $145 million riverfront headquarters to be built for Fidelity National Information Services Inc. at 323 Riverside Ave.

Croft said the demolition will be done by Warden Construction. 

He said the city Public Buildings Division said Warden Construction is confident the demolition will be completed by the end of January.

Preparations are underway. The city issued a permit Jan. 3 for Touchton Plumbing Contractors Inc. to disconnect water and sewer at the site for demolition subcontractor Arwood Waste Management.

The Downtown Investment Authority approved a notice of disposition Nov. 13 to give a 30-day window to anyone interested in buying and relocating the 7,152-square-foot structure but received no responses.

The notice allowed potential buyers to submit a business plan to the city that included the expected return on investment and projected tax revenue. They could request city funding to assist with a proposal. 

At the time, DIA CEO Lori Boyer said Hygema House Movers & Foundation Repairs estimated it would cost about $500,000 to move the fire station a few blocks. DIA preferred a move within the area.

The notice closed Dec. 16 with no responses. That left it up to the city Department of Public Works, which plans to clear the property by March to remain on schedule for the planned realignment of Forest Street across Riverside Avenue.

The realignment is designed to improve access to Sidney J. Gefen Riverwalk Park and the FIS headquarters, which expects to break ground in the second quarter.

Boyer told DIA board members Dec. 18 she “was really disappointed” that no proposals came in.

The fire station is not designated as historic and is considered blight by the city.

Built in 1910, the building was used until 2008, when the city relocated the service to 234 Forest St.

In December, Alan Bliss, director of the Jacksonville Historical Society, said the building may not have a historic designation but could be eligible by U.S. Department of Interior guidelines. 

The building has been on the historical society’s Jacksonville’s annual endangered buildings list for more than a decade.

Bliss said he spoke with people who do not want the building demolished but who didn’t “seem to have the financial capacity to mount any type of rescue.”

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