After delay, November date picked for Berkman II implosion

Berkman II (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After multiple delays in the demolition of the Jacksonville riverfront eyesore known as Berkman II, an implosion date has now officially been set for Nov. 14.

Councilman Reggie Gaffney on Monday announced the new date in front of the abandoned building on the Northbank. Last week, News4Jax reported that the implosion had been pushed back but an exact date wasn’t known until now.

Plans to blow up the Berkman II were last set for Oct.16, but Gaffney said conflicts with Jacksonville Jaguars games, the Florida-Georiga game and the Jacksonville fair, as well as delays in materials needed for the implosion, pushed the date back.

“So after those three events, and communicating with the jailhouse and administration, that was the date that we all agree on which makes sense,” Gaffney said.

Of course, the new date is subject to change.

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.

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 Berkman 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 will cost more than $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.

As far as the exact time of the imploding, it will likely be in the morning, pending any weather issues.

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