Breaking News
More () »

Cleanup is still behind schedule, but Jacksonville should finally be rid of the Berkman II by the end of July

The pile of rubble at the site of the old Berkman II building has been sitting since March. The new deadline for cleanup has been set for July 21.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Berkman II is still haunting Jacksonville, even in death.

The building was a skeleton to begin with, abandoned and a reminder of death and tragedy. Then it came down and left downtown Jacksonville with a pile of bones -- in the form of several tons of concrete, piled so high it blocked the view of the St. Johns River from the road.

But by the end of July, the company who demolished the building says the debris will be gone. And the Berkman II Plaza will be clear and ripe for development.

The big day is July 21. 

Of course, this isn't set in stone: Remember that the Berkman II site was originally supposed to be clear within two months of demolition (with demo day March 5, that would've been May 4.) Pece of Mind Demolition then named the deadline as the second week in June. Now, it'll be nearly a month after that.

However, new drone footage taken by First Coast News shows that progress is happening fast. Where last month the rubble engulfed the entire plot, there's been a significant clear-out. Grass and weeds are starting to poke out, the way plants grow over a gravesite. And drivers can finally see the river over the pile of rubble.

Soon, it'll be like the Berkman II was never there.

When the site is clear, what has been an eyesore in downtown for over a decade will be gone for good, with new development set to take its place.

The Berkman II was abandoned in December 2007 after a parking garage collapsed, taking the life of 26-year-old Willie Edwards III. 

The towering eyesore was left there until 2022. Getting rid of the Berkman II was a campaign goal for Mayor Lenny Curry, who helped press the button on demolition day.

The Florida Times-Union received renderings of what might be to come for the Berkman II site

Credit: KBJ Architects (Courtesy of the Florida-Times-Union)
KBJ Architects (Courtesy of the Florida-Times-Union)
Credit: WTLV
Looking North from Riverplace Tower, at least eight buildings designed by KBJ Architects are visible and dozens of others just out of view.

The renderings from KBJ architects show a 550-foot tall condominium complex with 40 stories. There's also a vision for a rooftop green space and pool at the lower level. 

If this comes to fruition, the Berkman Plaza II would tower over the Berkman I and most of the downtown area as well. The new proposal is almost twice as tall as the previous renderings from last August.

Before You Leave, Check This Out