The Jaxson

Jacksonville by Neighborhood => Downtown => Topic started by: downtownbrown on March 09, 2020, 10:30:40 AM

Title: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: downtownbrown on March 09, 2020, 10:30:40 AM
https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2020/03/06/berkman-ii-owner-getting-close-to-resolving.html

Hate to bring up a sore subject, but apparently Ohde is not dead yet.  Would be nice to know who Boyer spoke with, and if Ohde has anything to do with that conversation.  I suspect not, but I'm always optimistic.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Ken_FSU on March 09, 2020, 10:53:33 PM
Hopefully, but it sounds a bit like he might be posturing to avoid having the property confiscated by the city.

Quote
"In a conversation with the Business Journal, Ohde declined to give specifics about how the company will handle its impending balloon payment, but said, "We've got things ready to go forward."

The building has sat vacant and unfinished for years, and the city condemned the structure last month. City spokespeople did not immediately respond to questions sent Friday morning about steps the city has taken since sending that letter.

Barrington submitted plans in 2018 to redevelop the Berkman into a 340-room hotel, water park, ferris wheel and parking garage. It subsequently downgraded those plans, and 500 East Bay then failed to pay $58,000 in property taxes that year.

Those delinquent taxes, as well as last year's property taxes, were paid in full last December.

Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer told the Business Journal on Friday she had met with prospective buyers for the Berkman – including people who were in Jacksonville this week — but Ohde said he expects to stay attached to the property.

"We're looking at partnering with someone at this point," he said. "I can't go into any more details at this point."
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: downtownbrown on March 10, 2020, 09:40:23 AM
one look at Ohde's website will confirm that he is out of his depth.  Hard to believe he still hasn't updated it over the last several years.  Documents still pasted haphazardly.  No, the more I think about it, the more I think part of the strategy is to get him out of the way.

https://www.500eastbay.com/
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: heights unknown on March 10, 2020, 01:44:37 PM
OK. Once we get these road blocks out of the way...WHERE are the damn cranes? Let's get moving!
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 10, 2020, 03:35:54 PM
one look at Ohde's website will confirm that he is out of his depth.  Hard to believe he still hasn't updated it over the last several years.  Documents still pasted haphazardly.  No, the more I think about it, the more I think part of the strategy is to get him out of the way.

https://www.500eastbay.com/ (https://www.500eastbay.com/)

I mean, for pete's sake… what are the odds I could charge this guy a thousand bucks to get him some Wordpress? It's pitiful.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Ken_FSU on March 12, 2020, 10:16:51 AM
RFP for demolition appears imminent.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2020/03/11/city-has-steps-in-place-to-demolish-berkman.html
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on March 12, 2020, 10:20:24 AM
^Sounds like a Jax type solution. Who pays for the demolition?
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: heights unknown on March 12, 2020, 11:40:34 AM
RFP for demolition appears imminent.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2020/03/11/city-has-steps-in-place-to-demolish-berkman.html
Man oh man; unless they're going to build something super and extraordinary there, they should find someone who wants to finish building what's there (residential, office, or multi). Every time I turn around something is getting demolished, torn down, or razed in downtown Jacksonville. Glad it's not the whole city because if it was, there would be no Jacksonville!
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on March 12, 2020, 12:52:23 PM
they should find someone who wants to finish building what's there

Doesn't seem very likely. Difficult to finish a structure that's sat vacant and possibly vandalized for over a decade, even harder to find someone who would sign off on the structural integrity of such a building, especially when the ORIGINAL construction had a major collapse and death.

Getting nostalgic and wanting old structures not to be knocked down, I can sympathize with. IDGAF about an unfinished eyesore, can't see why anybody else would either.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: heights unknown on March 13, 2020, 12:00:02 AM
they should find someone who wants to finish building what's there

Doesn't seem very likely. Difficult to finish a structure that's sat vacant and possibly vandalized for over a decade, even harder to find someone who would sign off on the structural integrity of such a building, especially when the ORIGINAL construction had a major collapse and death.

Getting nostalgic and wanting old structures not to be knocked down, I can sympathize with. IDGAF about an unfinished eyesore, can't see why anybody else would either.
But wasn't the idea entertained a few years ago where someone was going to finish it into something else. IDOGAF; understood about structural integrity, etc.; but look like they would have demolished it long ago if that really was an issue.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: acme54321 on March 13, 2020, 06:27:21 AM
At this point I really don't care.  I'd rather see the city just fine the piss out of the property then foreclose on it and RFP it or something.  Mainly because I would rather not pay for the demo.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Charles Hunter on March 13, 2020, 08:46:44 AM
At this point I really don't care.  I'd rather see the city just fine the piss out of the property then foreclose on it and RFP it or something.  Mainly because I would rather not pay for the demo.

Then the owner will declare bankruptcy and the fines will attach as a lien that any potential buyer will have to pay.  No one will want to buy it. The City will still be stuck with demolition.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: acme54321 on March 13, 2020, 10:57:48 AM
At this point I really don't care.  I'd rather see the city just fine the piss out of the property then foreclose on it and RFP it or something.  Mainly because I would rather not pay for the demo.

Then the owner will declare bankruptcy and the fines will attach as a lien that any potential buyer will have to pay.  No one will want to buy it. The City will still be stuck with demolition.

That's why I said the city could foreclose on it and sell/RFP it.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Papa33 on March 13, 2020, 11:24:14 AM
Can't the city waive or reduce the fines?  If someone wants to take it over and develop it, the fines should not get in the way.  If some developer were to get a certificate of occupancy, the city should say job well done and waive the fines/remove the liens.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: bl8jaxnative on March 17, 2020, 04:07:01 PM

The city has made it clear in the past they're willing to wave the fines.   Those shouldn't be an issue unless the developer lookign to buy has been stepping on too many toes in town.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Ken_FSU on September 10, 2020, 07:19:31 AM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/unfinished-berkman-plaza-ii-downtown-could-be-sold-soon
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 10, 2020, 07:54:40 AM
This is one of those, we'll see ones. I can see a stick frame development on this site but have my doubts on if there's a real market for high rise residential construction currently. Hopefully it works out.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Steve on September 10, 2020, 09:16:07 AM
The rendering doesn't make any sense. It's showing an L shaped property, which the Berkman II property is not.

The property doesn't stick out into the river until you get to almost Hogan's Creek, which is about 3 blocks East of Berkman. Even if their just trying to show art to make it pretty the land doesn't stick out there.

That makes me think this is HIGHLY conceptual. I'm much more exited about the Sifakas plans if for no other reason I think they'll happen.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 10, 2020, 09:58:59 AM
I think that rendering takes some artistic liberties with the shipyards site next door. The L-shape comes from the artist showing the submerged portion of the Shipyards parcel being filled in with a make believe building sitting on it. Nevertheless, I agree that what is show is HIGHLY conceptual.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 10, 2020, 11:11:15 AM
I thought I was crazy or something with how little sense that rendering made.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: downtownbrown on September 10, 2020, 11:15:06 AM
It looks like the rendering assumes the city is going to give some land up.  I think that has been the case with the earlier concepts when more space for parking was in the conversation.  Regardless, the whole thing is "conceptual" until somebody signs a contract.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Steve on September 10, 2020, 01:38:28 PM
To me I don't even understand the logic in putting out a rendering that shows reclaimed river land. I mean, with all of the vacant lots downtown, there's no way it's economical to fill in the river to build something. Especially when there's a COJ owned surface parking lot ACROSS THE STREET
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 10, 2020, 01:55:39 PM
Oh I agree but I doubt who ever did the rendering put much thought into the feasibility of that part.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: jaxlongtimer on September 10, 2020, 02:25:55 PM
The rendering doesn't make any sense. It's showing an L shaped property, which the Berkman II property is not.

The property doesn't stick out into the river until you get to almost Hogan's Creek, which is about 3 blocks East of Berkman. Even if their just trying to show art to make it pretty the land doesn't stick out there.

That makes me think this is HIGHLY conceptual. I'm much more exited about the Sifakas plans if for no other reason I think they'll happen.

They say they will tear down the existing unfinished structure and start over.  In viewing the concept drawing, it looks to me like the actual structure on the demolished site parallels Bay Street, not that it sticks out into the river (note the stadium rendering in the distance).  The part "behind" the building that does project into river as apparent "green space" appears to be part of the will-it-ever-happen Shipyards project.  That's another story  8)!

Quote
Beeler said the group intends to demolish the property, which has sat unfinished on the Downtown Northbank of the St. Johns River for nearly 13 years.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: downtownbrown on September 10, 2020, 02:34:21 PM
you are correct
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: downtownbrown on September 10, 2020, 02:36:11 PM
the more I look at it the more it looks like the existing footprint. 
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 10, 2020, 02:44:29 PM
Apparently KBJ provided the renderings.

And wait, so everything behind the tall building is actually the Shipyards? Weird why they'd even include it in there.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Florida Power And Light on September 10, 2020, 09:37:13 PM
It looks like the rendering assumes the city is going to give some land up.  I think that has been the case with the earlier concepts when more space for parking was in the conversation.  Regardless, the whole thing is "conceptual" until somebody signs a contract.

Gosh, just think...... not too long ago the citizens of Jacksonville owned near 100 acres public waterfront.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: heights unknown on September 11, 2020, 02:02:01 PM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/unfinished-berkman-plaza-ii-downtown-could-be-sold-soon
Hallelujah (maybe).
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: heights unknown on September 11, 2020, 02:03:26 PM
The rendering doesn't make any sense. It's showing an L shaped property, which the Berkman II property is not.

The property doesn't stick out into the river until you get to almost Hogan's Creek, which is about 3 blocks East of Berkman. Even if their just trying to show art to make it pretty the land doesn't stick out there.

That makes me think this is HIGHLY conceptual. I'm much more exited about the Sifakas plans if for no other reason I think they'll happen.
I agree; and...the conception or rendering is so "un-Jacksonville" like; but...if it comes to fruition, I will take it.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: bl8jaxnative on September 11, 2020, 02:48:38 PM

The city posted a new condemnation notice on Berkman II last week.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 16, 2020, 10:28:02 AM
Quote
Downtown's half-built Berkman II tower could be sold, demolished

Downtown’s Berkman II property could soon be sold to a new ownership group that plans to tear down the half-built tower and build a mixed-use development that includes townhomes, retail space and possibly a hotel.

If the sale goes through, it would start a new chapter for the beleaguered property that has seen its waterfront potential squandered by tragedy, economic recession, legal battles, and most recently, its owners’ unexplained abandonment of their plans to build a family-focused urban resort.

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2020/09/16/downtown-jacksonvilles-half-built-berkman-ii-could-sold-razed/3471500001/
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 16, 2020, 10:53:26 AM
Reading this, this project is possibly reliant on a convention center. Don't get your hopes up high at seeing anything materialize any time soon.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 16, 2020, 11:05:48 AM
It's strange, they're insisting that they'd move forward regardless of there being a convention center, but they really can't help but bring up a convention center.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 16, 2020, 11:10:04 AM
That article made this thing sound like a pipe dream.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 16, 2020, 11:25:59 AM
I'm being an idealist, but it's so crazy that in over a decade we haven't be able to find anyone to just top off the building where it is, build a new garage and put something in there. The insistence on a convention center implies the numbers don't really work for a site clearing and new vertical build.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: itsfantastic1 on September 16, 2020, 11:53:25 AM
There were some interesting quotes in the article.

Quote
However, Beeler said the group is keeping close tabs on the nearby Ford on Bay property, a vacant city-owned lot that was once the site of the old City Hall and county courthouse. He said their project would be greatly enhanced by the construction of a convention center.
Seems it isn't planning on a convention at the Shipyards but at Ford on Bay to help their development.

Quote
The DIA’s board rejected the firm’s unsolicited offer for a convention center last month but said they would reconsider it if their negotiations with Spandrel fall through.
Seems like Hyatt's first right of refusal is still holding. Either Spandrel needs to play ball with Hyatt and incorporate what they want to be able to develop the land or it sounds like the negotiations would fall through and then the DIA might be on board with a convention center (pending details probably)
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Steve on September 16, 2020, 12:00:58 PM
Seems like Hyatt's first right of refusal is still holding. Either Spandrel needs to play ball with Hyatt and incorporate what they want to be able to develop the land or it sounds like the negotiations would fall through and then the DIA might be on board with a convention center (pending details probably)

This is one I really don't understand from Boyer's tenure with DIA. Did they not know about that first right when the issued the RFP?  If not then that's REALLY bad on someone. If so then why issue the RFP?
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 16, 2020, 12:12:21 PM
I can't remember but was that RFP issued before Boyer's tenure?
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Steve on September 16, 2020, 12:22:32 PM
I can't remember but was that RFP issued before Boyer's tenure?

Well, the decision to issue was not. But yes, the RFP I believe WAS actually issued after Boyer started. So in fairness, Brian Hughes owns this too.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Ken_FSU on September 16, 2020, 12:34:18 PM
I can't remember but was that RFP issued before Boyer's tenure?

Nope, during her tenure.

Aundra Wallace's last act as DIA President was to help close out the original convention center RFP that Jacobs won.

Boyer was selected to lead the DIA in May 2019.

Her tenure started immediately after she left City Council in June 2019.

RFP was then scoped, developed, and voted on in mid-September 2019, for a late October 2019 release.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on September 16, 2020, 12:44:11 PM
So it was during Hughes' stint that the actual decision to issue the RFP was made.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Ken_FSU on September 16, 2020, 12:46:51 PM
This is one I really don't understand from Boyer's tenure with DIA. Did they not know about that first right when the issued the RFP?  If not then that's REALLY bad on someone. If so then why issue the RFP?

The DIA/Lori Boyer did know.

It's why the RFP specifically gave developers the option of proposing development on either one, two, or three of the parcels included in the RFP (the Courthouse site owned by the city, the Annex site that Hyatt has claim to, and the now-submerged portion of the property).

From the way that the DIA describes it, there were over 130 interested parties that responded to the initial RFI.

When the formal RFP/Notice of Disposition went out - which did disclose the Hyatt's right of first refusal - the pool shrunk down to only the two developers who submitted responses.

Everyone else was scared off (if you take the DIA at face value here).

At some point after the RFP was released, Lori Boyer went to Texas to try to convince the Hyatt's owners to release their right of first refusal, but they refused.


Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Ken_FSU on September 16, 2020, 12:51:07 PM
So it was during Hughes' stint that the actual decision to issue the RFP was made.

Yep, correct.

It was around March or April that Brian Hughes specifically floated the idea of either an RFI, RFP, or finding a way to give the property outright to Rimrock Devlin for their counter-proposal for the site that dropped alongside Khan's Shipyards convention center proposal during the initial RFP for a convention center at the old Courthouse site.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Steve on September 16, 2020, 01:17:25 PM
Hmm....that's a take I didn't completely know. So it could be that Boyer thought the First Right didn't matter, OR she was in a position to try to keep the Mayor's office happy by doing it anyway because CurryHughes wanted to.

I'm remembering this now. There were only 2 participants and I remember that the first right was disclosed.

So basically, #BoyerKnew. But it's unclear if behind the scenes she objected and CurryHughes said, "Damn the Torpedoes". I'd believe it either way.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Ken_FSU on October 28, 2020, 03:52:58 PM
Looks like she's coming down soon after the Florida-Georgia game.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/developer-applies-to-demolish-the-unfinished-berkman-plaza-ii-downtown
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: BridgeTroll on October 28, 2020, 04:46:57 PM
Well thank god we are gonna preserve it for the game...
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fhrathore on October 28, 2020, 06:21:57 PM
Do we know what has been proposed on the site after demolition?
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on October 28, 2020, 06:45:58 PM
From the linked article above:

Quote
Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization intends to redevelop the property with mixed-use retail, a 300-unit residential development and public park space.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fhrathore on October 28, 2020, 06:56:50 PM
From the linked article above:

Quote
Jacksonville Riverfront Revitalization intends to redevelop the property with mixed-use retail, a 300-unit residential development and public park space.

I see. But I assume there are no publicly available info in terms of design or images.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on October 28, 2020, 07:41:32 PM
Nothing concrete! Here is a conceptual rendering that was shown last month:

https://news.wjct.org/post/potential-buyers-want-demolish-unfinished-berkman-ii-redevelop-property

Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: ProjectMaximus on October 28, 2020, 07:49:50 PM
Nothing concrete!

I would agree. Probably just a grass and dirt "park" for the foreseeable future  ;)
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: downtownbrown on October 30, 2020, 03:04:59 PM
Nothing concrete!

I would agree. Probably just a grass and dirt "park" for the foreseeable future  ;)

....which would be awesome...
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: albert_m2 on November 01, 2020, 11:14:41 AM
Why is it more efficient to tear down what is there instead of finishing/adapting with what is a substantial amount of structure..?

Sorry if I missed it, but I am confused.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on November 01, 2020, 09:25:18 PM
One man's trash is another one's treasure. Although the shell appears to be structurally sound, it really depends on the buyer and the product they seek to do.  The previous buyer planned to finish/adapt the existing structure. The current buyer does not.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: bl8jaxnative on November 05, 2020, 11:47:27 AM

Consider the original garage structure wasn't supposed to collapse and yet the garage did.  Do you really want to roll the dice that the same builders somehow got it perfectly right on the remaining tower?

Throw in the high cost of high rises and a small market overall and little obvious demand for that location and.... ya, not the sort of thing most people want to undertake.

Keep in mind that there there are 2 residential high rises going up right now.  One over in Brooklyn and the other on the south bank next to the Acosta.   I suspect the nail in the coffin is the poor location of the tower.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: marcuscnelson on November 05, 2020, 12:13:00 PM
Should we really consider 7 stories high rise, in the case of the Southbank?
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: jaxjags on November 06, 2020, 07:07:52 PM

Consider the original garage structure wasn't supposed to collapse and yet the garage did.  Do you really want to roll the dice that the same builders somehow got it perfectly right on the remaining tower?

Throw in the high cost of high rises and a small market overall and little obvious demand for that location and.... ya, not the sort of thing most people want to undertake.

Keep in mind that there there are 2 residential high rises going up right now.  One over in Brooklyn and the other on the south bank next to the Acosta.   I suspect the nail in the coffin is the poor location of the tower.

Just to be clear the garage was designed by a different engineer and being built by a completely different contractor.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: bl8jaxnative on November 11, 2020, 11:38:23 AM
yes, 7 stories is a high rise
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on November 11, 2020, 01:17:54 PM
the National Fire Protection Association defines a high-rise as being higher than 75 feet (23 meters), or about 7 stories.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: downtownbrown on November 25, 2020, 10:58:46 AM
Workers in Berkman 2 this morning.  Looks like this implosion might actually happen!
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on January 12, 2021, 07:48:55 AM
No more implosion but Curry will get him a crane in the sky for the demolition.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/berkman-plaza-ii-headed-for-conventional-demolition-not-implosion
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 12, 2021, 08:29:07 AM
I was wondering when action would be taken on this. It struck me the other day when I was crossing the river to see the Berkman II skeleton hanging in the skyline that it would be odd to stump for the construction of a new district with a never-finished structure just a mile away, within line-of-sight of the new project.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 12, 2021, 01:24:08 PM
The new section of the Riverwalk there from the hotel and around Berkman is nice...
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: tufsu1 on January 12, 2021, 02:26:17 PM
The new section of the Riverwalk there from the hotel and around Berkman is nice...

umm no - try sitting down at a bench and let me know what you see
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on January 12, 2021, 02:51:47 PM
LOL....concrete and a missed opportunity to tie the Hyatt's ground floor bars and restaurants into the space.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: heights unknown on January 12, 2021, 06:12:59 PM
LOL....concrete and a missed opportunity to tie the Hyatt's ground floor bars and restaurants into the space.
LOL...someone is from MacClenny if they think that's nice.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 12, 2021, 07:38:16 PM
Wow...I certainly wasn't commenting on the building.   The Riverwalk extension from Hyatt to Berkman around the former bridge/parking lot is a huge improvement.  Great view of the river... not sure what Maclenny has to do with anything... if not the Riverwalk then what lakelander... tufsu... and heights???
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: tufsu1 on January 14, 2021, 01:06:13 PM
^ problem is there's no view of the river when sitting down. The whole thing seems to have been over-engineered and sterile. That's fine for the "under-carriage" infrastructure, but its a missed opportunity at street level. Maybe that will change over time, but IMO what was there before was better.

oh, and the City seems to have decided to leave the connecting block incomplete - and wait on the proposed development (which may never come).
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 14, 2021, 01:31:39 PM
Wow...I certainly wasn't commenting on the building.   The Riverwalk extension from Hyatt to Berkman around the former bridge/parking lot is a huge improvement.  Great view of the river... not sure what Maclenny has to do with anything... if not the Riverwalk then what lakelander... tufsu... and heights???

There are large concrete barricades along the Riverwalk in front of the Hyatt and Berkman, pictured here:

(https://photos.moderncities.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Development/UCU092720/i-KMQcXCs/0/4a3d7f39/L/20201115_105737-L.jpg) 

(https://photos.moderncities.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Development/UCU092720/i-4fhvsKZ/0/ef44d8e1/L/20200926_110159-L.jpg)

If you are sitting in the outdoor dining section at Morton's inside the Hyatt, you stare into a concrete wall. You used to stare into transparent fencing like the rest of the Riverwalk.

If the Ford on Bay project ever moves forward, the developer would be required to complete their portion of the Riverwalk. Due to massive cost overruns on the Liberty Street project that shored up the failing bulkhead and also removed the overwater parking deck, the City chose to not complete the Riverwalk between the Hyatt and Berkman, and chose to instead wait on whatever developer would build on the old Courthouse/City Hall site.  Whether the Ford on Bay project moves forward, appears to still be in limbo... so we're stuck with a gap in the Riverwalk for the foreseeable future, seen here:

(https://photos.moderncities.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Development/UCU111420/i-mxJm2bF/0/bb94c4a5/L/20201114_142941-L.jpg)

I guess you could criticize the City for the Riverwalk extension... however I understand the logic behind it. On the Chamber trip to Toronto a few years back, public officials there talked quite a bit about how requiring developers to pay for the public access portion of their waterfront development was a key piece missing from their waterfront revitalization plan/  The City, and specifically then-Councilwoman and now-DIA head Lori Boyer... decided to adopt that policy.  I agree with that reasoning, and so I won't get too bent out of shape about the gap in the Riverwalk.

However, putting up concrete barriers along with Riverwalk has nothing to do with that aforementioned policy procedure.  Those concrete walls along the Riverwalk are inexcusable.

To tufsu1's point, the new streetscape along Coastline and Market Street is way overengineered.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 14, 2021, 01:44:07 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 14, 2021, 01:47:16 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 14, 2021, 02:00:48 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.

Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!






Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 14, 2021, 02:08:54 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.

Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!

You must work for GAI?

As far as 'private access-controlled parking lot as it was', sorry no. Coastline Drive has been in existence since before my father was born.

(http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/photos/453319076_2zR8A-L.jpg)
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 14, 2021, 02:12:06 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.

Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!

You must work for GAI?

Nope, but nice try. I just know a potential safety issue when I see one.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 14, 2021, 02:15:07 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.

Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!

You must work for GAI?

Nope, but nice try. I just know a potential safety issue when I see one.


Good thing there aren't transportation professionals commenting here that can't offer their own professional analysis or anything.  Safety issues have all sorts of solutions, after all.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 14, 2021, 02:26:00 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.

Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!

You must work for GAI?

Nope, but nice try. I just know a potential safety issue when I see one.


Good thing there aren't transportation professionals commenting here that can't offer their own professional analysis or anything.  Safety issues have all sorts of solutions, after all.

In this case, a vehicular dropoff hazard would typically be shielded by guardrail, but that would provide no pedestrian dropoff protection and might still allow a vehicle to deform the guardrail to the point that it would fall. The other option is... you guessed it! A concrete barrier wall.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 14, 2021, 02:45:59 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.

Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!

You must work for GAI?

Nope, but nice try. I just know a potential safety issue when I see one.


Good thing there aren't transportation professionals commenting here that can't offer their own professional analysis or anything.  Safety issues have all sorts of solutions, after all.

In this case, a vehicular dropoff hazard would typically be shielded by guardrail, but that would provide no pedestrian dropoff protection and might still allow a vehicle to deform the guardrail to the point that it would fall. The other option is... you guessed it! A concrete barrier wall.

Just off the top of my head...

I'll go down and measure later today, but I don't think that the roadway is more than 22 feet from the river in front of the Hyatt. Could be wrong. There is a lot of space there.

To your point about safety data, FDOT actually does require crash data when evaluating whether a guardrail is necessary.

I could go one about this, but I have to work.  This could turn into a good discussion. There are many examples of providing similar accommodations along the waterfront that don't resort to concrete barriers.

Of course, FDOT once told us that the Fuller Warren Bridge couldn't include a shared use path, and yet....
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 14, 2021, 03:43:47 PM
Better to have a concrete wall than someone drowning in the river because they accidentally drove off the side of the bulkhead

I guess the fencing that had been installed when the Riverwalk was built in the 1980's was somehow inviting motorists to drive into the river?  Never once saw that happen, but then again its not like that area hadn't been a large parking lot since the 1960's or anything.. so the sample size for motorists driving into the river is not very large.

Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!

You must work for GAI?

Nope, but nice try. I just know a potential safety issue when I see one.


Good thing there aren't transportation professionals commenting here that can't offer their own professional analysis or anything.  Safety issues have all sorts of solutions, after all.

In this case, a vehicular dropoff hazard would typically be shielded by guardrail, but that would provide no pedestrian dropoff protection and might still allow a vehicle to deform the guardrail to the point that it would fall. The other option is... you guessed it! A concrete barrier wall.

Just off the top of my head...

I'll go down and measure later today, but I don't think that the roadway is more than 22 feet from the river in front of the Hyatt. Could be wrong. There is a lot of space there.

To your point about safety data, FDOT actually does require crash data when evaluating whether a guardrail is necessary.

I could go one about this, but I have to work.  This could turn into a good discussion. There are many examples of providing similar accommodations along the waterfront that don't resort to concrete barriers.

Of course, FDOT once told us that the Fuller Warren Bridge couldn't include a shared use path, and yet....

Alright, pal. You can jump through all the hoops you want to make yourself believe that you're correct on this one by pointing to vague "similar accommodations" and other unrelated things.

This isn't an FDOT job, a crash study is not necessary to install additional guardrail on a project. If a slope does not meet recoverable criteria and is too close to the roadway, a roadside barrier is installed so long as work is being done on the project. Plus, guardrail would look even worse here and would require maintenance, so it's a non-starter.

As for the riverwalk bulkhead by Hyatt, built in a different time, and wouldn't you know, it has concrete barriers behind the guardrail as well! But alas, that type probably wouldn't match any modern standard or adhere to crash safety standards.

I work in the the transportation industry. Safety modifications are part and parcel of any project. Safety rules over aesthetics for a very good reason. It's unfathomable to me that you'd bother arguing contrary to that because you think it would be nice to see the water.


My initial post was a jaded-tone post about why a concrete barrier would be built next to a roadway, which seems pretty obvious to me, but then you went and started spouting off unsubstantiated reasons as to why a dropoff into the river a mere dozen or so feet from the edge of the pavement on a public road is not unsafe. If it isn't obvious to you, no amount of pointless arguing I could do would convince you otherwise.

And in the end, it is what it is, and none of us can do anything about it, but that doesn't stop people from nitpicking, and I can't stop that either.

Good arguing with you today.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 14, 2021, 05:30:20 PM
Quote
It's unfathomable to me that you'd bother arguing contrary

You're funny.

Simple bollards separating the sidewalk from the road accomplishes the same thing, while still allowing uniformity (particularly the style of fencing) along the Riverwalk. That you insist that there are only two ways of doing things (either concrete wall or, nice view but sure death), is exactly the problem I am pointing out. 

Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 14, 2021, 06:52:44 PM
Wow... you guys are never happy...rofl.  instead of a collapsing bridge/parking lot we have a small bay with a walkway around it... It is in fact a river walk... not a Riverview so it doesn't bother me one tiny bit that your too short to see over the wall while sitting.

Count me as happy something finally is completed... sheesh...  ::)
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 14, 2021, 08:27:55 PM
Wow... you guys are never happy...rofl.  instead of a collapsing bridge/parking lot we have a small bay with a walkway around it... It is in fact a river walk... not a Riverview so it doesn't bother me one tiny bit that your too short to see over the wall while sitting.

Count me as happy something finally is completed... sheesh...  ::)

Despite my bad attitude that’s what I’m trying to say. People round these parts have a knack for nitpicking

Sure, coulda put bollards, but they put a concrete wall. That’s fine.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: tufsu1 on January 14, 2021, 09:48:04 PM
Well, then, since you never saw it it never happened! Guess they built an expensive concrete wall for absolutely no reason at all, they just wanted to really mess up those precious sight lines to the river. Couldn't possibly be that safety standards have improved since the fencing was installed in the 1980's, or that it is a valid concern considering this is a public street abutting the river and not a private access-controlled parking lot as it was. Plus, as you noted, lack of fatalities in a particular location gives us carte blanche to design unsafe public spaces so long as nobody has been killed by it yet!

If this was the case, why aren't they replacing the fencing throughout - and why didn't they put a concrete wall up on the missing block?
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Wacca Pilatka on January 14, 2021, 11:16:33 PM
This all turns a lot more amusing if, like me, you initially read "bollards" as "collards"
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 15, 2021, 09:02:32 AM
Quote
People round these parts have a knack for nitpicking

Sure, coulda put bollards, but they put a concrete wall. That’s fine.

For being significantly over budget (topping $33 million) and taking over two years longer than it was supposed to have been completed in... and the section in question fronts Downtown's flagship hotel, where most convention guests will garner their first impression of the city... I think 'fine' is a little too low for a standard of acceptance.  To echo tufsu's post:
Quote
The whole thing seems to have been over-engineered and sterile. That's fine for the "under-carriage" infrastructure, but its a missed opportunity at street level.

At some point, it would be nice to have a nice Downtown. But I guess that's just nitpicking. Guess I'll just back to to the large lawn two blocks away from these concrete walls, watch the grass grow and thank my blessings that the engineers made everything just fine.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 15, 2021, 09:05:31 AM
This all turns a lot more amusing if, like me, you initially read "bollards" as "collards"

Luckily, bollards would stop motorists distracted from eating collards in their car from driving into the river. 
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 15, 2021, 09:21:13 AM
At some point, it would be nice to have a nice Downtown. But I guess that's just nitpicking. Guess I'll just back to to the large lawn two blocks away from these concrete walls, watch the grass grow and thank my blessings that the engineers made everything just fine.

Moving the goalposts again and changing the subject yet again. We're talking about one concrete wall. I guess I just can't win, though, clearly you have the solution: bollards on the street and a fence on the river. It's too bad the designers didn't seek your input, and now downtown is worse for it because of this abysmal, unsightly, frankly insulting, concrete wall was constructed.

How will we ever recover from such a blunder...
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: fieldafm on January 15, 2021, 09:34:54 AM
At some point, it would be nice to have a nice Downtown. But I guess that's just nitpicking. Guess I'll just back to to the large lawn two blocks away from these concrete walls, watch the grass grow and thank my blessings that the engineers made everything just fine.

Moving the goalposts again and changing the subject yet again. We're talking about one concrete wall. I guess I just can't win, though, clearly you have the solution: bollards on the street and a fence on the river. It's too bad the designers didn't seek your input, and now downtown is worse for it because of this abysmal, unsightly, frankly insulting, concrete wall was constructed.

How will we ever recover from such a blunder...

Making Downtown more functional and more inviting at the street level is exactly the point.  That environment is created through a series of actions, such as a generational reconstruction of Coastline Drive.  You typically don't get a re-do on a $33 million infrastructure project a few years later. What you design is what your stuck with for decades.

The mentality that 'its just one section of the riverwalk', and 'its just a lawn on the river', and then 'well its another lawn but it wont be empty long', and 'hey its just a small pocket park', and then 'its just a road cutting through the courthouse public space'... and so on... is how Downtown got to where it is today.   
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on January 15, 2021, 11:39:54 AM
Wow...I certainly wasn't commenting on the building.   The Riverwalk extension from Hyatt to Berkman around the former bridge/parking lot is a huge improvement.  Great view of the river... not sure what Maclenny has to do with anything... if not the Riverwalk then what lakelander... tufsu... and heights???

From my perspective, there are minor things that could have been done to add life to the area. Transparent railings were one. Here's a sitting down view of the river from the new riverwalk benches on Market Street:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-tqHDX5r/0/X2/i-tqHDX5r-X2.jpg)


Some transparent railing, like on the Southbank Riverwalk would have been more preferable:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-r6vqTBr/0/X2/i-r6vqTBr-X2.jpg)

Or even this small piece  on the new riverwalk would have been more preferable:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Neighborhoods/Northbank-Riverwalk-December-2020/i-c7kvjTK/0/3cb6700b/X2/20201224_115307-X2.jpg)

Or the little small things like cleaning up, even if the overgrown weeds and plants are just outside the project limits. After all, they are there because this exact project cut this portion of the riverwalk off for several years, allowing the weeds to grow.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Neighborhoods/Northbank-Riverwalk-December-2020/i-2g7z6cF/0/52f4289b/X2/20201224_120935-X2.jpg)


I also think there was a missed opportunity to better integrate the Hyatt into that corner at Coastline Drive and Market Street. There are three ground floor restaurants (Morton's The Steakhouse, Tavern and Shor Seafood Grill) there, all likely struggling with the pandemic, while we spend all our time dreaming about subsidizing competitive businesses at Lot J. This would be a great space for an outdoor plaza, dining area and signage allowing riverwalk users to know that there are dining spaces literally facing the riverwalk. Especially with the Landing now gone.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-2XCbFP3/0/X2/i-2XCbFP3-X2.jpg)
New dead end driveway to nowhere, looking south.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-VSW3Gq5/0/X2/i-VSW3Gq5-X2.jpg)
New dead end driveway to nowhere, looking east.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Neighborhoods/Northbank-Riverwalk-December-2020/i-H2HZtPL/0/682d3432/X2/20201215_201019-X2.jpg)
Struggling restaurants facing the riverwalk with no outdoor visibility closed on a week day night.

It doesn't have to be anything super expensive but a bit more placemaking areas dominated by large amounts of asphalt and drive by landscaping would greatly benefit people's impression of the area:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/-1/Armature-Works-August-2018/i-mC4rXSg/0/8f2e721f/X2/20180808_200626-X2.jpg)
An interactive green space between Armature Works and the Hillsborough River in Tampa.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/-1/Armature-Works-August-2018/i-fwGmQ3w/0/18ae78ce/X2/20180808_200634-X2.jpg)
Armature Works overlooking the Hillsborough River in Tampa.

Overall, I'd love to see a visionary revamp of the Hyatt and how it can better integrate with the riverwalk. I can say the same thing about other spaces along both riverwalks. A little bit of master planning and coordination would go a long way in maximizing the potential of things we're investing our public dollars into. That's one of the biggest differences between Downtown Jacksonville's story and the story of places considered to be more vibrant.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 15, 2021, 11:53:43 AM
Then there this from NYC's "greenway" wrapping, ultimately, around the entire island of Manhattan.  Notice, too, how much more width to the walkway and the much larger green setback behind it.  In places, the setback is way more than a football field wide.

Even with the value of Manhattan real estate, they don't want high rises or other imposing buildings close to their waterfront.  Contrast that with the apartments proposed for Friendship Park or by the One Call building.

Jax should be doing this with the Shipyards, Landing, District, Friendship Park and Metro Park waterfronts while they can.  No reason we can't aspire to a smaller version of this.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/The_Esplanade_in_Battery_Park_November_2003_New_York_City.jpg)
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: acme54321 on January 15, 2021, 11:59:57 AM
My bet is that since that part of the road is classified as a bridge that the full concrete wall has something to do with the requirements of that classification.
Title: Re: Berkman Getting Close....Again
Post by: thelakelander on January 15, 2021, 12:09:32 PM
^Market Street isn't classified as a bridge. The riverwalk portion on Market Street is essentially a sidewalk. Another trick that could have been used would be to reduce the road width, in favor of a wider riverwalk. More space would alter the sight lines when seated.