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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 16, 201807:40 AM EST

Old city buildings may end with a boom

Demolition expert says removing former City Hall Annex and Courthouse won’t be a difficult job.
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

Jacksonville is planning to tear down its former City Hall Annex and Duval County Courthouse on East Bay Street, a job one demolition expert says would be the first Downtown implosions since the Veterans Memorial Coliseum was razed in 2003.

The city issued a Request for Qualifications, due Feb. 28, from firms interested in providing permitting and construction services to demolish the old courthouse and City Hall Annex.

Mark Loizeaux, owner of Controlled Demolition Inc.

Those who qualify may then submit a price proposal for demolition of the structures.

The seven-story courthouse was constructed in 1956 and the 15-story city hall building in 1960, according to the Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office.

Mark Loizeaux, owner of Controlled Demolition Inc., said removing the buildings will not be a difficult job.

Loizeaux, 70, has a long resume of large demolition projects, including the implosions of the Seattle Kingdome and Orlando City Hall.

Removal of the buildings is expected to involve three steps. Surveying, for example, building conditions and structural design.  Hazardous material remediation, such as removing asbestos, and the creation of a demolition plan, such as determining the methods of removing debris and controlling dust.

The last Downtown building implosion was the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 2003.

Loizeaux said removal of the former city hall “lends itself to an implosion approach, which would save taxpayers money and dramatically mitigate the risk and duration of demolishing a structure of that magnitude within the community.”

He said the former courthouse also could be imploded, while the low-rise structures surrounding the building could be demolished with hydraulic excavators.

Loizeaux said one question that needs to be answered is the how much environmental remediation is required.

“That’s where the costs really begin to mount up,” he said.

Assistant General Counsel Craig Feiser said no environmental studies of hazardous materials have been completed or remediation plans generated, but “they will be.”

Loizeaux said it may be advantageous to gut the interior of the buildings before taking them down.

Removal of carpeting, tiles, bricks, glass, doors, windows, false ceilings fixtures, mechanical equipment, duct work and wood and other material would result in clean concrete debris for recycling.

If a building is gutted, implosion is quicker and that reduces safety risks, traffic interruption, dust and reduces building debris into manageable pieces that fit into trucks, lowering costs.

Feiser said there is no timeline for producing the demolition RFP.

The Downtown Investment Authority is seeking proposals for a convention center complex on the property.

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