JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This Sunday, it’s expected that a Jacksonville eyesore will be gone for good.
The Berkman Plaza II building along the riverfront is scheduled for implosion, and News4JAX has now learned that a developer wants to put the tallest skyscraper in the city in that spot.
Steps have been taken around the structure to ensure safety during the implosion. Some downtown streets around the Berkman along Bay Street will be closed at 7 a.m. and reopen after noon — or when any potential debris gets cleared from roads.
As a reminder, the "Berkman II" is scheduled for demo this Sunday (3.6.22) at 10am by way of an implosion. Street closures and "Exclusion Zone" will begin at 7am - see attached. For further info, go to: https://t.co/y51veFRYf3#JSO @CityofJax @JaxReady @THEJFRD pic.twitter.com/lBWDznpR4G— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) March 2, 2022
The city learned a lot from the last implosion of the old city hall building three years ago. It was then that several storefronts and other businesses in the area were damaged from the blast.
They want to make sure that does not happen again, and today, that site still sits empty. It’s something the developer of the Berkman II site doesn’t want to see happen.
Park Beeler, of Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization, sat down with me to talk about the future.
UNCUT: Interview with Park Beeler
His company has come under fire for delaying the demolition and for not paying some subcontractors. That’s why the city has taken it over. Beeler says those problems have been taken care of and that they plan to repay the cost to the city, which could run over $1.2 million once the demolition occurs.
“The city has agreed as soon as the site is cleared, they will file a lien and we will have 90 days to resolve that lien,” Beeler said.
When asked if the timeframe would be problematic, Beeler responded, “No.” He said the same when asked about other liens for former contractors.
The original plans Beeler had for the site included apartments, condos and some retail space. He says those plans have changed, and the plan is to build a huge tower — the highest in the city.
“That will be residential, consisting of apartments and condominiums and possibly a hotel,” Beeler said.
He added, “At the ground level, retail with a restaurant and other retail components and, including if we can get an agreement, a specialty grocery.”
Beeler hopes to have the new renderings to release in the near future.
He said Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization has already invested over $2.5 million and, if approved, the entire project could run over $150 million. He realizes there are many hurdles to overcome.