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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jul. 25, 201905:20 AM EST

Site work to start on demolition of The Jacksonville Landing

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The city sends contractor D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. Inc. a Notice to Proceed with demolition of shopping mall.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

Demolition of The Jacksonville Landing will be set in motion Aug. 2 and fencing is scheduled to be put up the week of Aug. 5.

Plant City-based contractor D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. Inc. received a Notice to Proceed from the city’s Department of Public Works on Tuesday authorizing site work to begin at the Downtown shopping mall within 10 days. 

Substantial completion of the demolition will be no later than May 28, according to the notice.

D.H. Griffin was awarded the $1.074 million contract June 20 after a public bidding process to tear down the shuttered riverfront building at 2 Independent Drive W.

The city took control of the Landing in February after a $15 million settlement with Sleiman Enterprises Inc. The city owned the property while Sleiman owned the building. 

City Council legislation approving the agreement included $1.5 million for tenant lease terminations and other expenses.

Tuesday’s notice doesn’t mean demolition will begin next week. 

Additional city documents state that a hazardous material assessment of the site will be completed before physical demolition starts. That includes identification and removal of any asbestos in the building. 

Florida Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller said in a June email that Florida Administrative Code requires the property owner to notify state regulators when a building with asbestos-containing materials is slated for demolition.

The city noted in its project bid specification that the company awarded the demolition would be required to complete an asbestos survey of the 32-year-old Landing. That caused pushback from some contractors considering a reply to the demolition RFP.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the city’s requirement was contrary to federal EPA rules that require “the owner or operator of a demolition or renovation activity to thoroughly inspect the facility for the presence of asbestos.”

D.H. Griffin also must provide the city with verification that it is a registered federal contractor before the company can start site work, and all employees must be proven eligible within 30 days of the contract date.

City code requires that D.H. Griffin also give at least a two-day notice to adjacent property owners that work is scheduled to begin.

The city’s notice instructs D.H. Griffin not to proceed with demolition before a prework video of the area surrounding the job site is filmed and submitted to the City Construction Management Section.

A representative from D.H. Griffin said Wednesday the company has been instructed to direct all media inquiries to the city.

James Croft, the city’s assistant director of public affairs, attended a preconstruction meeting Tuesday with representatives from D.H. Griffin. 

He said the contractor plans to begin to install fencing around the site the week of Aug. 5, after receiving approval from the Department of Public Works.

Croft said Wednesday that D.H. Griffin has not submitted its construction schedule to the city.

BBVA Bank, the last tenant operating at the Landing, plans to vacate by Oct. 28. The city reached a $450,000 lease buyout deal June 12 with the Alabama-based bank.

The bank is operating in the northeast side of the Landing, and the city plans to phase demolition so the bank can continue to operate. City documents state demolition will begin on the buildings adjacent to the St. Johns River that are separate from the main Landing complex.

Hooters Restaurant’s lease expires July 31 as part of a $303,333.31 city buyout, but it ceased operation June 2.

All other businesses operating at the time the city took control were on short-term leases and vacated the complex by June 7.

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