We’re hearing that there is a change in plans on how to take down the vacant Berkman II in downtown. Earlier this weekend, the city temporarily shut down Bay Street and the Riverwalk due to structural concerns associated with the demolition.
The temporary closure of roads around Berkman II set off concerns in the community that city councilman Reggie Gaffney wants to put at ease. He confirms that engineers are looking at changing their strategy as to how to bring down the half-built highrise that was never completed after its garage collapsed.
“There’s a strong possibility that it may come down on its own,” Gaffney said. “And when you don’t have it controlled like that, you don’t know which way it’s gonna fall. So they’ve been advised by engineers to not do it that way again.”
Gaffney says the concerns lie in the way they had been tearing it down, piece by piece and floor by floor. That may not remain a feasible option and he said one idea that’s now on the table is implosion.
“Now they’ve got to go to a plan B,” he said.
Gaffney said the strategy to take down the remaining structure will likely be laid out this week and the goal was to have it totally down by November. He’s optimistic the timeline could move up and the building could be on the ground by sometime in October.
Gaffney also cited weather concerns because we are in hurricane season and that’s another reason to make sure demolition remains on schedule.
While Bay Street has reopened, the riverwalk on the other side of the building remains closed at this time.