What To Expect: City Hall Annex Sunday Implosion Q & A

Jan 18, 2019

The old City Hall Annex Building at 200 E. Bay Street will be imploded on Sunday at 8 a.m. 

Our Jacksonville Daily Record news partner has put together a Q & A for area residents, businesses and spectators. 

Traffic: Beginning at 7 a.m. and up to three hours following the implosion, access in and around Downtown areas (Main, Liberty, Adams streets and the St. Johns River) will be off-limits to people, vehicles and boats as inspections and clean-up efforts are conducted.

Watching: Anyone required to be in the exclusion zone (see map) during the implosion should stay indoors because of the safety risk of noise, sound pressure levels and dust.

Credit City of Jacksonville / Via Jacksonville Daily Record

Safety measures: Doors, windows and entryways are to be kept closed and exhaust fans turned off. As clean-up efforts are completed, access to areas within the exclusion zone (within dotted lines) will be restored and communicated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Implosion Q&A

Will there be a ceremony before the blast? None is planned.

Will I be able to get in and out of the area? Public access to and around the demolition area is restricted. An area, shown on the map, is considered an exclusion zone. Residents and business personnel required to be in the area during the time of implosion are instructed to stay indoors for the duration of the implosion. Adams Street and the southbound lanes of Main Street will remain open. The northbound lanes of the Main Street Bridge will be closed.

How long is it expected to last? The duration includes both pre- and post-demolition work and is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Roads will be closed to vehicle, boat and foot traffic during this time. However, areas will reopen and access restored by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office as clean-up efforts are completed.

Will I know when the implosion has started? A horn siren will be used to announce when the demolition is commencing and has concluded. At 7:58 a.m., a series of sirens will blare, announcing a two-minute warning for the implosion. Once the demolition is finished, a siren will sound, notifying successful completion. This is not a signal for citizens to come outside.

Can I come out when the blast is over? The demolition is expected to last no more than 5 minutes. However, the falling debris is expected to produce a dust cloud that, with wind, can travel outside of the immediate area and last longer. It is critical to remain indoors until JSO says it is safe to come outside.

Am I in danger if I come out prior to notification? Months of work have been conducted to prepare the building for implosion, including the remediation and removal of hazardous interior materials. However, to minimize health risks, everyone is advised to remain indoors until notified. In addition, noise and sound pressure levels at and near the site during the blast may pose a threat to hearing.

Are there other restrictions in the city? River and air traffic also are restricted. A section of the river is restricted and is being managed by the JSO Marine Unit and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Air traffic, including drones, is restricted to a half-mile above the demolition site (2,500 feet).

Will the implosion happen rain or shine? Weather conditions such as thunderstorms and low cloud coverage can affect the scheduled demolition. If either occurs, the demolition will start when conditions warrant (as close to the 8 a.m. hour.)

Who is the contractor? Environmental Holdings Group LLC of Mooresville, North Carolina, and Controlled Demolition Inc.

Why is the implosion occurring on a Sunday? The contractor advises that Sunday is the least disruptive day for an implosion, where high traffic volumes, increased Downtown activities, business openings, and merchant transactions are minimal.

What will happen to the property? The land will be cleared for the city to prepare for possible redevelopment. Plans for a convention center there were put on hold last month. While the site waits, the area will be grassed.

What's the history of the building? The 15-story, brick and glass structure has been part of the Northbank skyline since construction began in 1958.

After the building opened for the city’s business in 1960, it was the office for thousands of city employees over the years, including seven mayors: Haydon Burns, Lou Ritter, Hans Tanzler, Jake Godbold, Tommy Hazouri, Ed Austin and John Delaney.

It’s where the city set the goal to be known as “The Bold New City of the South,” where the consolidated county and city government convened for the first time and where negotiations were hammered out to bring the NFL to Jacksonville.

When the dust settles after the implosion, the building will be gone, but not forgotten.

The contents of a time capsule sealed by Burns and his contemporaries in October 1960, including letters, photos, government documents and a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes, is on display at the Main Library.

A slideshow of the demolition work being done in advance of the implosion is on the Jacksonville Daily Record's website.  Our News4Jax partner, WJXT TV-4 will be providing live coverage beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday.