Another delay in demolishing the Berkman II Plaza

Streets, sidewalks closed due to safety concerns

Streets, sidewalks closed due to safety concerns.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A downtown Jacksonville eyesore has another delay in its date with dynamite.

The view of downtown Jacksonville was expected to change soon with the implosion of the Berkman II on the Northbank downtown, but that is not going to happen right away.

Plans to blow up the Berkman II were set for Sunday, Oct.16, but that is now delayed. It may not happen until next month or even December.

The reason for that delay is due to demolition materials becoming more scarce.

Park Beeler, the senior managing member of Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization LLC., said the hard to get materials are a safety netting and would protect the area from debris during the implosion.

RELATED | A look back at the history of Berkman II

“First and foremost we’ve had an abundance of caution every step of the way,” said Park Beeler. “We don’t want any mishaps to happen... so that kind of overrides everything. We don’t want to rush the prep work for the demolition which is very precise,” Beeler said.

Beeler said they hope they can move the implosion and have a groundbreaking for the new development by the end of the year.

Berkman Plaza II has been half-finished since 2007, when the parking garage collapsed while under construction killing construction worker Willie Edwards III, 26, and injuring 23 others.

The former city hall building, near the Hyatt Regency, was imploded in 2019.

The blast damaged nearby buildings and broke windows. The company doing the demolition at the Birkman has an elaborate plan to put up a mesh screen in front of the sheriff’s office, and at the condo site, to avoid similar damage.

The demolition could cost nearly $2 million and is being paid by the developer. It’s proven to be more expensive than originally thought because they had to change the process several times.

About the Author:

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