Berkman II demolition looms

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — If you’ve driven downtown, you’ve seen it. Berkman II has been an eyesore and a danger to Jacksonville for years.

It looks like that problem may be coming to an end.

“The good news is progress is being made.”

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That’s councilmember Gaffney’s assessment of the fate of Berkman II after speaking with the city and the owner of the building today.

“I can almost guarantee it’s gonna come down,” he said.

Action News Jax got the Zabik‐Turner Engineering assessment of the building today. According to the report, Berkman II was so unstable the assessment had to be done from the ground floor, without the assessors being able to go inside.

The report notes rust, cracks and weakened tension bands — all signs the building is not safe.

“We don’t want any incidents to happen here,” councilmember Gaffney said.

This comes after the firm previously helped with the demolition, peace of mind and reported dangerous conditions. The report says, in part,

“As the processing tool touched the concrete deck of the 16 th floor a larger section of the 16 th floor collapsed and fell.”

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It goes on to add:

“The company believes the best way to take this building down is through implosion.”

The updated assessment from Zabik‐Turner Engineering agrees that the current method of tearing the building down is ineffective and it needs to be imploded. Councilmember Gaffney says it could be demolished as soon as October. He adds that at this point everyone’s main concern is getting it down safely.

“You have an owner, and you have a city who’s moving cautiously. you’ve got to make sure that everything, every step that they make is going to be done correctly.”

No word yet on what will be replacing Berkman II.