Developer behind Berkman Plaza II files for bankruptcy, pauses planned auction

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Downtown neighbors are frustrated by another roadblock for the longtime troubled site of the Berkman Plaza II. The developer behind the property filed for bankruptcy Friday, which puts a planned public auction on hold.


“Typical. It just drags on and drags on. We’re so ready for something to develop next door on either side of us,” Laura Thompson, a resident of the original Berkman Plaza, said. She moved in back in 2003. “It’s beautiful! It’s by the river. Look at it. It’s gorgeous here. It’s sad that other people don’t see that.”

Park Beeler, the owner of PB Riverfront Revitalization, had a plan that included a 42-floor skyscraper with hundreds of apartments, townhouses, and mixed-use on the first floor.

Now Beeler is one of several that owes the property owner, Choate Construction, more than $5 million.

“We were hoping somebody from San Francisco, or Texas, or New York was going to come and put corporate headquarters or something there,” Thompson said.

The bankruptcy case puts all that on hold. In the filing, Beeler estimates assets between $10 and $50 million.

Action News Jax Robert Grant dug through court records and found a history of evictions, foreclosures, and contract disputes listing Beeler as the defendant.

Previously Action News Jax reported on Beeler’s prison time.

According to court documents, there’s a meeting of creditors scheduled for April 24th.

In a statement to Action News Jax, Beeler said: “As somewhat of the ‘last man standing’ for pending downtown projects in the face of tough times for all projects downtown that have been adversely affected by skyrocketing construction costs and constricted financing options, resulting in projects being cancelled, we are determined to continue forward with a project that we believe can make a major contribution to relighting the spark of Northbank development, create jobs, broaden the tax base, and benefit all the citizens of our city.”

The statement went on to say, “This determination is despite the many obstacles we have had to face for over three years to bring this project to fruition. Our Chapter 11 filing, as provided by federal law, has been for the purpose of keeping our plans on track and alive while protecting the interests of the many people and entities who have invested time and money in our project, who continue to believe in our project as a catalyst for revitalizing downtown Jacksonville, along with many other believers eager to invest in downtown.”

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