A look back at the history of Berkman II

East Bay Street reopens after being shut down out of concern about Berkman II

East Bay Street reopens after being shut down out of concern about Berkman II.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A section of East Bay Street reopened after being shut down for a day out of concern about Berkman Plaza II.

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 update comes after some were concerned about the integrity of the building.

News4Jax looked back at how the building went from what was supposed to be a place of luxury to a failed plan.

Berkman II was supposed to be the second beautiful high rise of riverfront units along East Bay Street.

But on Dec. 6, 2007, 23 workers were injured when the six-floor parking garage under construction at the Berkman Plaza II tower collapsed. Willie Edwards III, 26, was missing. The father of two was found dead Dec. 8, 2007, among the rubble. And investigation and fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration followed.

In February 2011, a three-member panel of arbitrators ruled the collapse of the Berkman Plaza garage was the “direct result of design errors” for which Berkman is legally responsible. The panel also ordered Berkman to pay Choate Construction, the general contractor, a multi-million dollar lien, for wrongful termination, after the garage collapse.

Since April 2021, the city has been preparing to demolish the garage and one floor at a time.

In July 2021, the demolition began with a high-reach excavator. The work was expected to take at least three months.

Now, the city is one step closer to demolishing the entire building, but structural integrity concerns arose Friday, causing the shutdown of Bay Street a precautionary step.

The road was reopened Saturday night. Though the road is reopened, the Riverwalk will be closed near Berkman II.


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