Permit issued to demolish Capt. Sandy Yawn’s Downtown building
The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission recommended denial of landmark status for the 109-year-old building that the reality star says was caved in and filled with mold.
ByKaren Brune Mathis & Mike Mendenhall
| 9:25 a.m. February 10, 2023
Citing permission after historic review, the city issued a permit Feb. 9 for TV personality Capt. Sandy Yawn to demolish a more than century-old building she bought Downtown.
Contractor ELEV8 Demolition will demolish the structure at 618 W. Adam St. The permit shows a project cost of $24,000.
Duval County property records say the structure was built in 1914. The two-story building comprises 6,840 square feet of enclosed space and 760 square feet of unenclosed space.
Last summer, the demolition plans were put on hold for historic review.
On Nov. 18, the Jacksonville Planning and Development Department sent a memo to Yawn at Yawn Properties LLC of West Palm Beach.
The memo said the city Historic Preservation Commission voted to recommend denial of local landmark designation of the property, clearing the way for demolition.
Yawn bought the property with partner Chad Quist in June 2020 through Yawn Properties LLC for $185,000.
Yawn said in 2020 she wanted to renovate the building into the Maritime 618 restaurant.
But the star of the Bravo reality TV series “Below Deck Mediterranean” later found mold, a caved-in roof and second floor, and prohibitive renovation costs.
Yawn and Quist applied June 9, 2022, for a permit to demolish the building. Yawn said June 10 they could not restore it.
“It is full of mold,” she said.
Yawn said that after demolition, she and Quist planned to redevelop the 0.10-acre site with a replica of the building and find a tenant to operate the nautical-themed restaurant.
Area historic preservation advocates and property owners sought to halt the razing and on June 22, the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission ordered a historic review of the building.
The commission voted 5-0 to sponsor an application to determine if the structure, at Adams and Broad streets and a block from the Duval County Courthouse, is eligible for local landmark status.
The commission would evaluate the report and decide whether to recommend that City Council designate the building a local landmark. Only Council can designate a structure a local landmark.
If the commission did not recommend the designation, or if it did but Council rejected it, Yawn Properties would be granted the demolition permit.
The Nov. 18 memo shows the commission recommended denial of the designation.
Yawn said July 5 that when she bought the building sight unseen, she was unaware of its problems.
“How do you save something that’s not structurally sound? That’s my question,” Yawn said.
“When you walk into that building, you look at it and ask how do you make it safe without spending five times the money?”
“If the city can figure out a way to help out (financially), that’s awesome,” she said.
“But to put that on someone’s shoulders and to take on that liability, that’s the scary part.”
Yawn said at least five bids from contractors said it could cost $5 million to $7 million to mitigate and shore up the structure.
The Champlain Towers South condominium collapse in June 2021 in Surfside, Florida, and changes to the service industry brought on by the pandemic also played a role in Yawn’s decision to seek a demolition permit.
As of July, Yawn and Quist were looking for an investment partner to help finance construction of a new building and still plans on operating Maritime 618, she said.
“I’m committed to building the building,” Yawn said. “I’m just not committed to restructuring something that’s existing because of the liability and what could happen.”