Bay Street reopens after being closed due to ‘structural concerns’ in Berkman II demolition

Residents of Berkman I tower, other nearby buildings were left to find alternate routes home

Several blocks of Bay Street downtown remain were closed because of structural concerns from the Berkman Plaza II demolition. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A section of Bay Street has reopened after being shut down Friday due to “structural concerns” associated with the demolition of Berkman Plaza II.

The Riverwalk is still closed for now.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry sent a tweet on Twitter on Saturday night, saying, “Berkman II Update: The situation at the demolition site has been secured and at approximately 8:30 PM tonight Bay St. will reopen& the Riverwalk will remain closed at this time. Contractors, Jax Fire & Jax Sheriff worked diligently today to ensure this project can safely continue.”

The closure of several blocks of Bay Street from Liberty Street to Marsh Street left residents of nearby buildings to find alternate routes to get home.

RELATED: A look back at the history of Berkman II

People like Jessie Ceccorulli and Latrese Hargrave, who live nearby, were tasked with finding new ways around Bay Street to start the weekend.

“Who knows what can happen at any moment at any time,” Ceccorulli said.

“It’s a little concerning because of [Friday] night,” Hargrave said.

During the demolition process of Berkman II, a large piece of concrete did not move the way crews wanted it to. That caused them to pause their work to be on the safe side.

But there was some good news for those who live right next door.

Everyone living in Berkman I received notice they are safe and do not have to evacuate currently.

Hargrave has been living in Berkman I for the last year and not having to evacuate is giving her peace.

“It makes me feel safe, but I know that they are trying to make sure nothing happens,” she said. “But at the same time, you can never be too sure. My faith kicks in and [Friday] night was just a lot.”

Ceccorulli lives down the street.

The area used to be the normal spot for her and her dogs, Raven and Louie, to walk.

Jessie Ceccorulli walks her dogs, Raven and Louie, near the Berkman Plaza II demolition site. (WJXT)

“Rubble from the deconstruction kept encroaching, encroaching and encroaching to the point where my dogs didn’t even want to go in there,” she said.

Ceccorulli and Hargrave are waiting for the site to be revamped.

“What I say to those people who think it’s an eyesore is, it is,” Ceccorulli said of Berkman II. “But there’s progress being made, and safety has to be No. 1 as far as taking a building down.”

“The value of the property is going to increase,” Hargave said. “It’s just going to attract a lot of more great people to downtown Jacksonville.”

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