Berkman II foreclosure auction canceled

The developer of the failed Downtown riverfront condominium project files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, derailing the sale.

  • By Max Marbut
  • | 12:30 p.m. March 25, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
The vacant Berkman II property Downtown at 500 E. Bay St. is across the street from the Duval County Sheriff's Office and Duval County Jail and east of The Plaza at Berkman Plaza & Marina condominiums.
The vacant Berkman II property Downtown at 500 E. Bay St. is across the street from the Duval County Sheriff's Office and Duval County Jail and east of The Plaza at Berkman Plaza & Marina condominiums.
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The public auction of the riverfront Downtown site of the imploded Berkman II condominium project was canceled after a defendant in the foreclosure filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 22.

The property at 500 E. Bay St. was scheduled for auction March 25.

The creditor and plaintiff in the case is Atlanta-based Choate Construction Co.

"Because there are aspects of the case pending, Choate cannot comment at this time," Emily Bridges, vice president of marketing and communications, said March 25.

PB Riverfront Revitalization of Jacksonville LLC Managing member Park Beeler shows a rendering of the planned development at the former Berkman II site in 2022.

PB Riverfront Revitalization of Jacksonville LLC, led by developer Park Beeler, filed a bankruptcy petition at 2:23 p.m. March 22 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida.

According to the notice of filing: “In most instances, the filing of a bankruptcy case automatically stays certain collection and other actions against the debtor and the debtor’s property.”

The auction was canceled by the Duval County Clerk of Courts.

The final judgment of foreclosure, granted Feb. 27 in the 4th Judicial Circuit, states that if the defendants, PB Riverfront Revitalization of Jacksonville LLC, 500 East Bay LLC, James Bergman, the City of Jacksonville, Pece of Mind Environmental Inc. and Arwood Site Services LLC, did not pay Choate the principal, interest, late fees, property taxes and attorney fees totaling $5,125,739, the property would be sold at public auction March 25 by the Duval County Clerk of Courts.

This is not the first time Choate, the general contractor on the project, foreclosed on the property.

After being granted a $10.2 million judgment and lien, Choate was the lone bidder in a foreclosure auction and secured the property for $100 in April 2014.

The Berkman Plaza II high-rise is imploded on March 6, 2022.

In April 2021, Beeler announced plans to demolish the unfinished structure and build a $135 million mixed-use project in its place.

That didn’t happen, so after months of delays, the city condemned the property and took over the demolition preparation from owner PB Riverfront Revitalization in January 2022.

City Council approved a $1.2 million emergency appropriation to pay PB Riverfront’s demolition contractor, Pece of Mind, to finish its work.

Pece of Mind told city officials that it stopped tearing down the building conventionally because engineering concerns made the unfinished structure a public safety risk.

The concrete shell was imploded March 6, 2022, after being abandoned nearly 15 years earlier.

Beeler said March 25 PB Riverfront Revitalization isn't done trying to develop the property.

“We are determined to continue forward with a project that we believe can make a major contribution to relighting the spark of Northbank redevelopment, create jobs, broaden tha tax base and benefit all the citizens of our city," Beeler said in an email.

“Our Chapter 11 filing, as provided by federal law, has been for purposes of keeping our plans on track and alive while protecting the interests of the many people and entities who have invested time and money in our project, who continue to believe in our project as a catalyst for revitalizing downtown Jacksonville, along with many other believers eager to invest in downtown." 

Construction on the Berkman II stopped in December 2007 when the parking garage for the building collapsed, killing one worker and injuring others.

This story has been updated with comments from Choate and Park Beeler.



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