Back to the history of Berkman Plaza II

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – East Bay Street has reopened after being closed for a day due to concerns over Berkman Plaza II.

Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted on Twitter on Saturday night, saying, “Update on Berkman II: The situation at the demolition site has been secured and around 8:30 pm tonight Bay Street will reopen and the Riverwalk will remain closed for now.” The contractors, Jax Fire & Jax Sheriff have worked diligently today to ensure this project can proceed safely.

The update comes after some raised concerns about the building’s integrity.

RELATED: Residents of Berkman I Tower, other nearby buildings must find alternate routes home

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News4Jax looked back at how the building went from what was supposed to be a luxury spot to a failed plan.

Berkman II was supposed to be the second beautiful riverside unit tower along East Bay Street.

But on December 6, 2007, 23 workers were injured when the six-story parking lot under construction at the Berkman Plaza Phase 2 tower collapsed. 26-year-old Willie Edwards III is missing. The father of two is said to be found dead in the early morning hours of December 8 among the rubble. And the OSHA investigation and fines followed.

On February 7, 2011, a three-member panel of arbitrators ruled that the collapse of the Berkman Plaza garage was the “direct result of design errors” for which Berkman is legally responsible. The panel also ordered Berkman to pay Choate Construction, the general contractor, a multimillion-dollar lien for wrongful termination after the garage collapsed. Since then, there have been hopes of restoring the building or starting over from scratch.

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Since April 2021, the city has been preparing to demolish the garage and one floor at a time.

On July 16, 2021, demolition began with the High Reach excavator. The work was to last at least three months.

Now the city is set to demolish the entire building, but structural integrity issues emerged on Friday, prompting the closure of East Bay Street as a precaution.

The road was reopened on Saturday evening, and the deconstruction of what was supposed to be a luxury place to live is coming to an end.

Remember, however, that the road is reopened, the Riverwalk will be closed near the Berkman II.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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