Credit: Florida Times-Union
On a sunny Sunday morning in downtown Jacksonville earlier this month, a demolition crew successfully imploded the Berkman Plaza II high-rise. The Berkman Plaza II, for those unfamiliar, was supposed to be a cutting-edge waterfront residential high-rise. On December 6, 2007, a partial collapse during construction on the building’s parking garage killed one worker and injured 23. Following an investigation, OSHA found that not one but a whole ‘plague’ of issues, flaws, and errors conspired to cause the collapse. The developer was later found liable by an arbitration panel, and the 2008 financial crisis dashed any remaining plans to finish the project. But the half-finished building remained.
For almost 15 years the 18-story skeletal structure has stood as part of downtown Jacksonville’s skyline; a reminder of the tragedy, and a monument to downtown’s perpetual struggles. It resisted every attempt to demolish it, churning through multiple development groups and at least four different implosion dates, each postponed for various reasons.
Now, mercifully, it’s gone, and we can move on. Developers unveiled new plans for the site, which look good. But it’s more than just that particular site and that particular neighborhood. Berkman II weighed heavy on all of Jacksonville. Now that it’s gone, the future looks brighter than it’s ever been here.
Harbinger worked with design firm API(+) and Waterside Place to manufacture and install a new wayfinding and identity program for a new mixed-use development at Lakewood Ranch. API(+) really knocked the design out of the park with this one. View the rest of the project here.