Goodbye, Berkman Plaza II

Jacksonville, FL. — There’s a plan underway to tear down the Berkman Plaza II for good.

It’s been an eyesore for neighbors in the downtown Jacksonville area for more than a decade.

Randy Starling has come across it every day for the past year he’s lived here.

“It just becomes part of the scenery, but I am happy to hear it might be going!” he said.

The Berkman Plaza II has been sitting vacant since 2007, when a construction worker died after a parking garage collapsed.

Jack Garrison, another neighbor, told Action News Jax he was across the street when the incident happened.

“All you could see is that smoke and debris come up from when it crashed,” he said. The plan is to convert it to townhouses, with a retail space on the first floor. “We just hear that it’s going to be gone the next year and then the next year and then it never does happen,” Garrison added.

Councilmember Reggie Gaffney wants to assure the neighbors of the area that this plan is different.

He’s speaking with the potential new owners everyday.

“I vetted them and I think this is the real deal and so I want the City of Jacksonville to know that in another 60 to 90 days, this will not be here,” he said.

Gaffney expects the contract to be written by the end of the day on Wednesday.

He then plans to hand-deliver it to Mayor Lenny Curry so the city can approve the building demo to begin.

The plan is to tear it down floor by floor, and build it up to be a new hub.

“I think with the retail that’s going on downtown with this particular project, as well as the housing upstairs, you should see if you come by here in another four or five months, hopefully you’ll see three or four hundred people hanging around, doing something,” Gaffney explained.

Starling can’t wait for that day.

“It’s about time,” he said. “It’s about time.”