Berkman Plaza II, an eyesore in downtown Jacksonville, finally demolished

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After many delays, an eyesore in downtown Jacksonville finally came down Sunday!

How can I watch the implosion?

The demolition of the Berkman Plaza II building, located in the 500 block of East Bay Street, took place Sunday at 10 a.m.

Action News Jax had live coverage as the building is demolished using five different cameras.

We had cameras set up on Bay Street, on the Southbank, a drone view from the Metropolitan Park/Lot J, and two tower cameras.

We aired the implosion live on TV on FOX30 and CBS47, online, and on our streaming apps. In case you missed it, you can watch the video above.

The St. Johns River Taxi also invited the community out on its 100-pax boat to watch the implosion. The price is $25 per person. The boat will depart from Friendship Park at 9 a.m.

How did the building come down?

The implosion happened rather quickly. Previously, plans were to bring the building down floor by floor.

Sunday morning, it came down all at once.

Will the implosion impact downtown traffic?

Yes. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said street closures began at 7 a.m. and will remain until an “all clear” is given and debris has been picked up.

What happens after the implosion?

It could take up to three weeks to clear debris from the area following the implosion. Action News Jax is working to learn what’s next for the Northbank property.

How did we get here?

The implosion comes nearly a year after plans were first announced by the city to demolish the building that has sat empty for nearly 15 years.

The original approach to demolishing the building was to bring the building down floor by floor, but crews deemed that unsafe after discovering corrosion at the top of the building.

In April 2021, plans were announced to bring the building down within 60 to 90 days and in July, demolition preparations were underway.

By October 2021, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the demolition of the building was postponed “due to supply chain issues that have delayed delivery of safety equipment.”

Another demolition date was set for Nov. 14, but that date was then delayed.

In February 2022, the demolition company in charge of bringing it down slapped the site’s owner with a construction lien — a claim for $1.5 million of unpaid bills.

The Jacksonville City Council spent $1.2 million in city funds to demolish it, citing safety concerns.

Why was the building vacant?

The building has sat vacant on prime riverfront property since 2007 after a construction worker was killed when a parking garage collapsed. The incident bankrupted the Berkman family’s visionary project and caused dozens of companies to lose millions of dollars.

Photos: See the moments the Berkman II was imploded in downtown Jacksonville

Aurielle Eady

Aurielle Eady, Action News Jax

Aurielle Eady is a digital content producer for Action News Jax.

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