The New Year Downtown will start with a big bang.
A project schedule shows the city intends to implode the old City Hall Annex at 220 E. Bay St. the second weekend of January.
Sam Mousa, chief administrative officer for Mayor Lenny Curry, said Wednesday that the date is subject to change.
Environmental Holdings Group LLC of North Carolina submitted the lowest bid of $7.98 million in June to demolish the 15-story annex and the old Duval County Courthouse at 330 E. Bay St. The city awarded the bid in July.
Mousa said the seven-story courthouse building will undergo “conventional demolition” that doesn’t require an implosion.
The courthouse, built in 1956, comprises almost 360,000 square feet of space, much more than the annex, according to property records.
The annex, built in 1960, contains 200,000 square feet of space but is much taller than the courthouse. Environmental Holdings Group obtained permitting and began work in early August on both buildings after the city issued a notice to proceed July 26.
Contractors are performing interior demolition, starting from the top floors down in both buildings.
Interior demolition on the annex building is expected to run through December, while work inside the courthouse could finish in late October or early November.
Environmental Holdings Group also will perform asbestos abatement in the buildings to coincide with the completion of interior demolition.
The buildings have been vacant for years.
The city moved most of the legislative and executive branch departments in 1997 to the St. James Building at 117 W. Duval St., although some departments and the State Attorney’s Office occupied space in the old City Hall Annex for several more years.
Courthouse operations relocated in 2012 to the new Duval County Courthouse at 501 W. Adams St.
“At this time, demo of the annex is targeted for the weekend of 1/12/19 and 1/13/19,” said Mousa in an email.
“But that could change.” Controlled Demolition Inc. will perform the implosion of the annex, according to company President Mark Loizeaux. “We look forward to working with (Environmental Holdings and the city) toward the design and felling of the structures,” he said in an email.
Assuming demolition work continues as planned, Environmental Holdings will begin clearing the sites in January with the goal of completing the project in mid-March.
Mousa said the properties will be graded and landscaped with grass.
Curry earmarked $8 million for the project in the 2017-18 Capital Improvement Program budget.
Destruction of the City Hall Annex will be the first major implosion in Downtown Jacksonville since the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum was imploded in June 2003.
Over the summer, JEA imploded large cooling towers at its-decommissioned St. Johns River Power Park.
The cleared riverfront Bay Street site will be ready for redevelopment.
Curry and the Downtown Investment Authority are reviewing proposals to develop the 8.38-acre property into a convention center complex or other use.
Three firms submitted formal bids in August for a new convention center, hotel and parking garage on the site, along with a 6-acre riverfront surface lot that’s being demolished between Liberty and Market streets and Coastline Drive.
The parking lot collapsed in 2015. Demolition is expected to be completed in 2019.
In addition to the convention center ideas, the Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Development group submitted an unsolicited bid to DIA to create a mixed-use development called “Riverwalk Place” on the Bay Street site.
It would comprise a five-story, 347-unit residential complex; a nine-story, 150- room limited-service hotel; 10,000 square feet for multiple restaurants; and a 6½-story, 468-space parking garage.
An evaluation committee met individually Tuesday with three firms that submitted official responses to the DIA’s request for proposals to develop a convention center complex along Bay Street.
The full DIA board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to review the evaluation committee’s scores and begin discussions on how to proceed, including whether the Bay Street site is the ideal location for a new convention center.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan proposes to build a convention center in Metropolitan Park near TIAA Bank Field.