Wells Fargo Center Reopens After Tenants Were Forced Out By Flooding

Sep 27, 2017

The Wells Faro Center in downtown Jacksonville reopened Wednesday after damage from Hurricane forced its 50 businesses out.

Owen McIntosh is one of the tower’s 1,500 employees who had to temporarily relocate.

Wednesday, he was preparing for The River Club’s reopening, which is located on the top two floors of the downtown landmark.

“We experienced difficulty from the hurricane,” he said, “but we will return to work Friday.”

McIntosh said though he’s optimistic about the reopening of The River Club, restocking and other maintenance would have to take place before serving food again.

Both levels of the underground parking garage were flooded during Irma. Despite the building being equipped with a flood gate located at the loading dock entrance on Independent Drive, the unprecedented high tide of the St. Johns River resulted in flood waters breaching the infrastructure and entering the parking garage.

Neither the main lobby, nor the remainder of the building located above the upper level of the parking garage were affected by flood water.

Our News4Jax partner interviewed Curry Pajcic of The Law Firm of Pajcic & Pajcic and he says his firm was fortunate. But the move out wasn’t easy.  

“It's rough. You have to hike 19 floors to get your office space out, and then 19 floors down with what you can carry in your arms, and then 19 floors back up,” Pajcic said.

Pajcic & Pajcic and other businesses had to move their entire IT departments from the building by lugging computers and servers down flights of steps to set up shop elsewhere.

Some of those tenants are now back in the building and have resumed normal business functions.

In its 42 years, the tower had never sustained significant down time due to power loss, as it did after Irma.

Storm surge flooded both levels of the building’s underground parking garage despite the building being equipped with a flood gate at its loading dock entrance.

The disaster recovery service ServPro, alongside the building’s property management and engineering teams, had a workforce of 150 tradesmen, vendors, contractors, and other service providers who mobilized onsite to assist with cleanup and restoration.

Kelton Givens can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org.