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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jan. 18, 202204:50 AM EST

Implosion-damaged Blackstone Building windows to be replaced

The 17 panes were broken by shrapnel when the former City Hall was imploded in January 2019.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Three years later, Blackstone Building windows shattered by the 2019 Jacksonville City Hall Annex implosion might be replaced.

The plywood covering the holes in the 11-story Downtown building at 233 E. Bay St. soon may be swapped out for new glass.

Building owners applied to the city Jan. 10 for a permit to replace 17 windows that were broken the morning of Jan. 20, 2019, when the former 15-story Jacksonville City Hall was imploded across the street at 220 E. Bay St.

The job cost shown on the application is $240,000. The contractor is RLH Construction LLC, based in Oviedo.

Blackstone Building owners applied to the city Jan. 10 for a permit to replace 17 windows.

According to the contract between RLH and the owners of the Blackstone Building dated Aug. 25, 2021, the job cost shall not exceed $710,000.

A Dec. 28, 2021, report by Alta Engineering Co. filed with the application indicates that debris from the implosion caused the damage to the windows.

Alta’s report states that the demolition was performed using explosives contained in brass housings. Shrapnel from the housings struck the south face of the Blackstone Building in 17 places, causing the 1/4-inch-thick tempered glass windows to break.

The contractor for the City Hall Annex demolition was Maryland-based Controlled Demolition Inc., the same company scheduled to complete the implosion of the abandoned Berkman II tower at 500 E. Bay St., a few blocks east of the Blackstone Building.

The windows in the Blackstone Building were shattered by the implosion of the City Hall Annex on Jan. 20, 2019.

Blackstone Building Inc., the building’s condominium association, sued Controlled Demolition Inc. in June 2019. The complaint remains unresolved in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court.

According to the lawsuit, while the Blackstone Building owners and tenants were advised to evacuate when the former City Hall was to be imploded Jan. 20, there were no warnings about possible property damage.

The complaint alleges that the owners asked the defendants to install a protective curtain on the side of Blackstone Building facing the implosion to prevent flying debris from striking the building.

The defendants initially indicated that they would install the curtain, but the day before the implosion “changed their minds” and informed the owners that the curtain would not be installed, according to the complaint.

On Jan. 11, City Council approved $1.2 million for the Berkman II implosion after the redeveloper of the property and its demolition contractor were unable to remove the structure. 

Bringing down the building is expected to be scheduled by the end of February.

Two of the shattered windows in the Blackstone Building.


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