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Demolition date pushed back again for Downtown Jacksonville eyesore

The demolition process began in early fall of 2020, with developers seeking a demolition permit to implode the building "as soon as possible".

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — People in Jacksonville will have to deal with the eyesore along the Downtown Jacksonville skyline for a bit longer after the building's demolition was delayed yet again.

The latest demolition date for the Berkman Plaza II was Jan. 8, 2022, according to the City of Jacksonville. That has since been canceled. 

This now marks over five times the demolition date has been delayed since structural concerns became a factor in 2020. A new demolition date has not been announced.

First Coast News has reached out to the City of Jacksonville for more information about this latest delay.

Previous demolition dates where demolition has only been partly done or passed altogether:

A Dec. 9 letter from the developer to the City of Jacksonville explains in detail some reasons for all the delays. Click here to read the full letter.

"The old adage that 'If it were easy, everybody would be doing it!' holds true in this case," the letter says. "This demolition project has not been easy, to say the least. From day one we have had to deal with a litany of problems and unanticipated obstacles that have increased our demolition expenses by over 100%, and have necessitated several revisions to our timetables."

The demolition process began in early fall of 2020, with developers seeking a demolition permit to implode the building "as soon as possible after we closed on the purchase of the property and cleared title, and to do so while minimizing inconvenience to all parties that could be affected by the demolition while also taking all necessary steps to assure public safety," the letter says.

That permit application was denied by the city "for a variety of reasons" after it had been pending for three months, the letter says. One of the reasons was that the city did not want an implosion that could cause debris to fall to the East from the Plaza, according to the letter.

Those concerns led the developer to pursue a strategy of taking the building apart piece-by-piece from the top down. That plan was later scrapped in August as the building was found to be structurally unsafe.

RELATED: Berkman Plaza II expected to be imploded Oct. 17

The new plan was to implode the 18-story building in October, with that date delayed due to supply chain issues for protective fencing for surrounding buildings. 

Next, city officials set Nov. 14 as the demo date, but the implosion was again postponed while the company responsible for the demolition finalized risk assessments. That process was expected to be complete before Christmas but has now been pushed back another time, due to the high demand for service of the contractor hired to handle the implosion.

The developer also had to take into account long-scheduled events Downtown and Jaguars games, the letter says.

The contractor ultimately preferred a later date of Jan. 8, 2022, the letter says. The Jaguars are scheduled for a home game the following day, which the letter refers to as "a potential complication that we hope to be able to work around."

The eyesore has been sitting vacant for more than 13 years. After a parking garage collapsed in 2007, killing a construction worker, the building was finally condemned in 2020, paving the way for demolition. 

RELATED: Yet another demolition date set for Downtown Jacksonville eyesore

RELATED: New date announced for demolition of Downtown Jacksonville eyesore

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