Downtown Jacksonville will start off with a bang next year as the city intends to implode the old City Hall Annex at 220 E. Bay St on the second weekend of January.
Sam Mousa, chief administrative officer for Mayor Lenny Curry, stated that the date is subject to change. Mouse said the seven story courthouse building will undergo “conventional demolition” that doesn't require an implosion.
Environmental Holdings Group LLC of North Carolina submitted the lowest bid of $7.98 million in June to demolish the 16-story annex and the old Duval County Courthouse.
Built in 1956, the courthouse comprises almost 360,000 square feet of space, much more than the annex according to property records.
The annex, built in 1960, contains 200,000 square feet of space but is much taller than the courthouse. Environmental Holdings Group obtained permitting and began work in early August on both buildings after the city issued notice to proceed on July 26.
Contractors are performing interior demolition starting from the top floors down in both buildings. The Interior demolition on the annex building is expected to run through December and the work inside the courthouse could finish in late October or November.
Environmental Holdings Group will also perform asbestos abatement in the buildings to coincide with the completion of interior demolition.
Both the courthouse and the annex have vacant for years.
The city moved the legislative and executive branch departments in 1997 to the St. James Building at 117 W. Duval St. however some departments and the State Attorneys office maintained space in the old Annex for several more years.
Mousa said that demo of the Annex could be held the weekend of January 12 and 13 of 2019. But Controlled Demolition Inc. president Mark Loizeaux said that could change and that they look forward to the design and felling of the structures.
Assuming the demo work goes as planned, Environmental Holdings will be clearing the sites in January with the goal of completing the project mid March. The properties will be graded and landscaped with grass after demolition is complete.
The mayor had earmarked $8 million for the project in the 2017-18 Capitol Improvement Program Budget.
The Annex will be the first implosion in Jacksonville since the Veterans Memorial Arena was imploded in June of 2003.
Over the summer, JEA imploded its cooling towers at its decommissioned St. Johns River Park.
The cleared Riverfront Bay Street site will be ready for development. Mayor Curry and the Downtown Investment Authority are reviewing the proposals to develop the 8.38 acre property into a convention center complex or other use.
There were three firms who submitted formal bids in August for a new convention center, hotel and parking garage on site. Along with a 6 acre riverfront surface lot thats being demolished between Liberty and Market streets and Coastline Drive. The parking lot collapsed in 2015 and is to be completed in 2019.
With convention center ideas in mind, the Rimrock Devlin Development group submitted an unsolicited bid to DIA to create a mixed use development called Riverwalk Place located on the Bay Street site.
This plan would comprise a five story, 347-unit residential complex; a nine story, 150-room limited service hotel; 10,000 square feet for multiple restaurants; and a 6 1/2-story, 468-space parking garage
An evaluation committee met individually Tuesday with the three firms that submitted official responses to the DIA’s request for proposals to develop a convention center complex along Bay Street.
The DIA board is scheduled to meet this Wednesday to review the evaluation committee’s scores and begin discussions on how to proceed, including whether the Bay Street site is the ideal location for a new convention center or if other plans will be underway after the demolition.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan proposes to build a convention center in Metropolitan Park near TIAA Bank Field.
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