$1 million Jacksonville Landing demolition will get underway

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One way or another, the distinctive orange-colored metal roof covering the Jacksonville Landing will likely get a second life after a contractor starts demolishing the mall in a few months.

The $1 million demolition job is expected to start in the fall and finish by the end of the year, city spokeswoman Nikki Kimbleton said.

D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. Inc., which won the contract to tear down the mall, has a long-standing practice to salvage materials when possible to avoid dumping them in a landfill.

The big metal roof panels, which have been shown in countless television broadcasts, would fit the bill for that kind of salvage. The metal probably would be sold as scrap rather than re-used as a roof.

D.H. Griffin’s winning bid of $1.074 million came in under the $1.5 million amount Jacksonville City Council set aside earlier this year for demolition.

The demolition won’t use explosives to bring down the Landing in a sudden crash the way the city took out the old City Hall Annex a few blocks away from the Landing.

The Landing’s demolition will be more akin to the methodical, step by step removal that was used for the old county courthouse.

City officials are doing an inventory of the two-story mall to determine whether the city will remove any items as historic mementos of the Landing, which opened in 1987 and has been one of the most well-known buildings in Jacksonville history.

The city has yet to put forward a plan for what will come next at the site, other than a concept showing most of the property would be green space and two new buildings would be set back from the St. Johns River.

In addition to demolition funding, City Council also approved $15 million to buy out the Sleiman family’s long-term ground lease for the Landing site, which put the building into the city’s hands.

Another $1.5 million authorized by City Council went to buy out sub-leases of tenants. Most tenants were on month-to-month leases that just required notification that their leases were ending.

The BBVA Compass branch is the only business still inside the mall. It will vacate by Oct. 28, but demolition could start sooner on two other Landing buildings that are closer to the river.

The march toward demolition means that for the first time in many years, fans coming to the Florida-Georgia football game on Nov. 2 won’t be celebrating in the Landing’s courtyard.

But the outdoors areas of the Landing will be open for a while longer and will be accessible to spectators at the Fourth of July fireworks show.

D.H. Wrecking Co., founded in 1959, has a list of jobs that include high-rise hotels, power plants, and Cape Canaveral launch towers.

“We’re celebrating our 60th anniversary this year and we’ve always made every effort to maximize the recycling effort and salvage anything that can be salvaged on our job sites,” company marketing coordinator Heather Hirschman said.

The Florida Times-Union\

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