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A Jacksonville riverfront eyesore is coming down. What’s next?

VIDEO: After it was announced that the 18-story skeleton will begin coming down, plans for what could replace the Berkman II building were released.
VIDEO: After it was announced that the 18-story skeleton will begin coming down, plans for what could replace the Berkman II building were released.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is new life for a downtown eyesore.

After it was announced that the 18-story skeleton will begin coming down, plans for what could replace the Berkman II building were released Wednesday. The plan would include residential and some retail sites. The name, for now: 500 East Bay.

Groundbreaking could take place six months after the current site is demolished. Demolition is projected to cost just over $1 million and take four months.

The developer, Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization LLC., is in the process of closing on the site and is paying over $5.6 million for the building and land.

“We think that downtown is worth investing in,” said Park Beeler, senior managing member of the firm.

The project could eventually include about 300 new apartments, 40 townhomes and possibly a grocery store and pharmacy.

Jacksonville has heard similar promises before and that is something Beeler addressed Wednesday.

“We have been just as frustrated as everyone in Jacksonville with the lack of progress downtown,” Beeler said. “So we were determined to come forward with the plan that we know we can implement. That the city will be proud of.”

The plans still need city approval.

The next step will be a meeting with the Downtown Investment Authority on May 8.

Right now, Beeler said the firm is not seeking city dollars upfront like other projects. He did say he may ask for tax incentives down the line.


About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.