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Demolition of River City Brewing Company has some feeling nostalgic

Demolition began this week as the property is prepped for apartments.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The sound of construction, including cranes and front loaders, filled the air Wednesday in Jacksonville.

After nearly 30 years, River City Brewing Company is being torn down.

Several people were on the Riverwalk Wednesday, trying to take in one last view or get one last picture.

The future is coming for the property, and that has some folks looking back at all the meals over the years.

"Occasionally we'd have a happy hour over there or, often times, a going away luncheon," said Steve Conger as he looked on at the demolition.

Conger enjoyed several of those happy hours over the years at the brewing company, he remembers it when it used to be Harbormasters.

But, he won't be sipping any more cocktails there - the brewing company closed up last July and is finally being demolished.

"It's kind of sad seeing it come down," said Conger. "I'd rather it be here than what they are planning to put up."

The plan is for more than 300 new apartments, complete with a pool, lounge, recreation space and eight-story parking garage.

Those apartments will have a view of the downtown skyline from across the St. John's River.

A view City Councilman Matt Carlucci has taken in at countless dinners through the years.

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"I've always looked at that restaurant with a lot of nostalgia because so many things that were important to our family we did there," said Carlucci.

Carlucci says the annual quail dinner and his 2019 campaign party at the restaurant stand out as he looks back at it.

He voted in favor of the apartments, but he doesn't love it.

"I supported that, but down deep in my heart, I wish they'd just put up another restaurant to be honest because we have so few restaurants on the river," said Carlucci.

He'd like to see a stand-alone restaurant, but the silver lining for Carlucci is the plan does include a new restaurant on the property to go along with the apartments.

Carlucci hopes it can capture the same magic river city brewing company had at its prime.

"We need to always think about a reasonable restaurant that has a view of the St. John's, so anyone can go there," said Carlucci.

There's a public boat ramp right next to the demo site.

That will stay, and in fact, the developers intend to add temporary slips so folks coming off the river can stop by and enjoy the restaurant, MOSH and everything else around the Southbank.

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