The 15-story, 200,140-square-foot structure at 220 E. Bay St. Downtown comes down in less than 10 seconds to make way for future development.
In less than 10 seconds, the 59-year-old City Hall Annex was reduced to history Sunday morning.
“It belongs to the ages,” said former Mayor Tommy Hazouri, who served from 1987-91, one of seven mayors who inhabited the office on the 14th floor of the building.
“We can implode the building, but not the history,” he said.
At 8 a.m., explosives were detonated to implode the 15-story, 200,140-square-foot structure at 220 E. Bay St. The 2.39-acre site will be cleared for eventual redevelopment.
Environmental Holdings Group LLC of Mooresville, North Carolina, is the contractor and has been preparing the site since August, demolishing the interiors and removing windows, among other work.
At The River Club, about 300 city and business leaders gathered on the 34th and 35th floors of the Wells Fargo Center three blocks west to watch the collapse of the former site of government power.
The McCall Group of Companies sponsored the watch event. McCall Group comprises Perry-McCall Construction, Elkins Construction and Parrish McCall Construction in Gainesville.
Brad Glass, executive vice president of Perry-McCall Construction Inc., organized the event.
Hazouri, who watched from The River Club, said while the removal was nostalgic, “let’s do something big there now.”
Now the At-Large Group 3 City Council member, Hazouri would like to see the city “green it up” until it is developed.
Still, he showed some emotion as the dust cleared at the site. “It’s almost like a death. We experienced a funeral.”
Fifteen minutes after the implosion, the sun broke through the clouds.
Next door to the annex site, the 63-year-old former Duval County Courthouse on almost 6 acres at 330 E. Bay St. is being demolished conventionally. That building comprises 357,757 square feet of enclosed space.
Environmental Holdings Group also has been preparing that site since August.
The city approved permits in November for the $4.95 million implosion of the annex and the $3 million demolition of the former courthouse.
Mayor Lenny Curry earmarked $8 million for the annex and courthouse projects in the 2017-18 Capital Improvement Program budget.
Most of the City Hall functions moved to the St. James Building at 117 W. Duval St. in 1997. Courthouse operations moved to the new Duval County Courthouse at 501 W. Adams St. in 2012.
The city will decide what to do with the 8.4-acre riverfront site.