Demolition of the Rise Doro apartment building began the morning of Feb. 2, five days after the start of a fire that tore through the nearly completed project and left its exterior walls in danger of collapsing.
Work began in the southeast corner of the $65 million building, where crews from Jacksonville-based ELEV8 Demolition used a crane with a mechanical jaw to chew through the building and sweep debris to the ground.
Apartments that would have provided residents with views of the St. Johns River and the Downtown skyline were exposed as their walls were peeled away. Gray and white cabinetry, tiled backsplashes, microwave ovens and refrigerators were visible to passersby on Bay Street.
Around 10 a.m., workers knocked down the Rise Doro sign on the building’s smoke-stained roofline.
The city of Jacksonville approved an emergency demolition permit for the wood-framed portions of the structure based on engineering inspections. The project developer, Rise: A Real Estate Company, posted Jan. 31 on the Rise Doro website that the concrete portions of the building were sound.
Those portions include a base and a seven-story parking garage with eighth-floor amenities such as a pool and lounge.
City issues FAQ
On Feb. 2, the city issued an FAQ about the project saying officials had barred anyone from entering the wood-framed parts of the building.
“Investigations by the Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosives; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the property owner’s insurance company have been underway, and that work will continue in parallel to the demolition work,” the FAQ read.
“The investigating organizations are collecting information by other means. Given that no person can go into the building itself, there was not a reason to endanger public safety by holding up the demolition process.”
The FAQ said the demolition would continue through the weekend and into next week in 10-hour shifts. Rise, in the website post, estimated the work would take eight to 10 weeks.
The city said the emergency demolition was needed to protect the public and nearby buildings, which include Intuition Ale Works and Manifest Distilling. Those businesses, located immediately to the south of Rise Doro, will remain closed during the demolition process.
“Expedited demolitions are not a new policy or practice,” the FAQ read.
“They have been utilized many times in the past on buildings that are condemned for public safety reasons. In those cases, the buildings were demolished safely and swiftly.”
Roads and sidewalks will be closed as the building is taken down. Closures are:
• East Adams Street (Spearing Street to North Georgia Street)
• East Forsyth Street (Lafayette Street to A. Philip Randolph Boulevard)
• Lafayette Street (East Adams to Gator Bowl Boulevard)
• A. Philip Randolph Boulevard (East Duval Street to Gator Bowl Boulevard)
The city said The FIS Donna 5k run on Feb. 3 at EverBank Stadium would not be affected by the road and sidewalk closures.
The permit for ELEV8 to demolish the structure says the project cost is $1 million. The company will dispose of the debris in the Otis Road Landfill in the Baldwin area of West Jacksonville.
In 2020, the Downtown Investment Authority board approved a $5.75 million Recapture Enhanced Value Grant for Rise to build the project.
Plans called for 247 residential units and a 284-space parking garage, with upscale amenities such as a pet spa, creative lounge and private balconies. The city incentive was payable upon completion of the project, and none of the funding has been paid out.
City Doro websites
The city has set up two web pages about the Rise Doro fire and its aftermath. Click here for the city FAQ site. The JaxReady site is here. Rise also has been providing information on its website, here.