Rise expects to hire forensic engineers to analyze concrete garage, podium

The developer wants to remain a part of the sports district where its new Rise Doro apartments were destroyed by fire in late January.

On Feb. 28, most of the wood-framed apartment structure is removed at the fire-destroyed Rise Doro apartments. The concrete parking structure remains intact.
On Feb. 28, most of the wood-framed apartment structure is removed at the fire-destroyed Rise Doro apartments. The concrete parking structure remains intact.
Photo by Monty Zickuhr
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Rise: A Real Estate Company expects to hire a forensic engineer to analyze the concrete parking garage and podium at its Downtown Rise Doro apartments that were destroyed by fire at the end of January as the first residents were expected to move into the first 10 units.

Rise Senior Vice President of Development Matt Marshall said Feb. 29 that the Jacksonville-based company waits for a fire marshal’s report about the cause of the fire and then from the insurance company.

Depending on those reports, Rise wants to hire the structural engineer to determine whether the concrete garage and the podium, which was the base for the five floors of wood-frame apartments that were destroyed, can be reused.

Rise Senior Vice President of Development Matt Marshall.
Rise: A Real Estate Company

He said that report can determine how the water used to extinguish the fire has affected those concrete structures.

“We hope to reuse the podium and the garage,” he said. “That depends on what the structural engineers determine.”

Marshall said Rise is in touch with the city and Downtown Investment Authority about the project status.

“We believe in Downtown Jacksonville. We believe in the sports district,” he said.

“We want to be a part of that.”

Marshall said the fire “tears into your heart.”

“No one got hurt,” he said. “That’s the important thing.”

Marshall spoke after he was on a panel discussion at the BisNow Jacksonville State of the Market presentation Feb. 29 at the Southbank Hotel Jacksonville Riverwalk. The event coincidentally was a month after the fire.

“Our opinion of Downtown hasn’t changed,” he said on the panel, adding Rise wants to be part of the Downtown resurgence.

“When you look at the Sports and Entertainment District, it needs housing. It needs people there more than just (at) a concert time or a game time to be able to fully activate an area component to live there and once they start living there the restaurants, the retail and the common spaces will follow.”

More than 100 Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel battled the fire at the Rise Doro apartment building.
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department

The wood portions of the $65 million Rise Doro building at 960 E. Adams St. are being demolished after the Jan. 28 fire that burned for more than 24 hours and caused extensive damage. 

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighters worked overnight Jan. 28 to bring the flames under control and continued to pour water on the building into the evening of Jan. 29.

The structure is south of VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Demolition began Feb. 2 after the city of Jacksonville approved an emergency permit to take down the wood-framed portions of the structure based on engineering inspections. 

Crews from Jacksonville-based ELEV8 Demolition used a crane with a mechanical jaw to tear away the wood-frame part of the building, which exposed cabinetry, tiled backsplashes, microwave ovens and refrigerators to passersby on Bay Street.

Rise 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. 

The Jan. 31 posting said Rise continues to work with the city “and the Florida State Fire Marshal regarding their respective investigations into the RISE Doro fire.”

“RISE remains grateful to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department for its fearless efforts to battle and extinguish the fire despite the unfavorable weather conditions. Our attention now turns to the work of demolition, debris removal, and rebuilding.”

Demolition progresses on the Rise Doro apartments Feb. 7 after a fire destroyed the structure.
Photo by Monty Zickuhr

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. 

Rise estimated the work would take eight to 10 weeks.

The city said the emergency demolition was needed to protect the public and nearby buildings.

The risedoro.com site reported Feb. 14 that surrounding businesses had reopened and resumed operations “following the commencement of demolition of the RISE Doro structure that promptly started on the morning of Friday, February 2.”

Those businesses include Manifest Distilling, Intuition Ale Works and some nearby offices.

“The priority of RISE continues to be the safety and success of its neighbors, employees, and the community,” it said.

In 2020, the Downtown Investment Authority board approved a $5.75 million Recapture Enhanced Value Grant for Rise to build the $65 million building.

Rise:Doro was nearly completed next to 121 Financial Ballpark and VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena and near EverBank Stadium before it was destroyed by a fire.

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.  

In an interview Feb. 8, DIA CEO Lori Boyer said she and her staff had met with Rise and learned that it was examining whether to rebuild on the site using concrete and steel as opposed to wood framing. 

The developer of the Rise Doro apartment building is “very committed” to rebuilding the structure but is evaluating whether to redesign the project, she said.

“That really depends on the results of the information they get from the fire marshal and also an evaluation of the market,” Boyer said.



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