For just under a hundred years, the former Fire Station No. 5 building served the Riverside and Brooklyn neighborhoods as its primary fire station. Even after its decommissioning, it stood as one of the few historic elements remaining in the increasingly gentrified Brooklyn.
But this morning, the 110-year-old building at 347 Riverside Avenue was demolished rather unceremoniously – as is becoming a disturbing new trend in Jacksonville.
The building was torn down to make room for a portion of FIS’s planned 12-story headquarters building that is set to be developed on the property. Last November, the city announced its plans to demolish the fire station unless a developer came forward that would be willing to pay to relocate it.
In addition to the roughly half-million dollar investment likely required to move the building from its current spot, any potential developer would have had to purchase, lease, or already own a parcel of land within a radius of a few blocks from its current location.
No bidders came forward, prompting the city to move ahead with demolition.
The old Fire Station No. 5 building had been viewed as one of the city’s most at-risk historic structures since not long after its decommissioning in 2008. The property on which it sat had been owned by Fidelity National Financial since 2005 as the result of a land-swap deal with the city.
The building almost met its end back in 2010, when Fidelity planned to tear it down for a new office building. The city was unable to find someone to relocate the building at the time, but demolition plans eventually fell through. The city purchased the property back from Fidelity last year to facilitate the FIS deal.
The old fire station becomes the most recent of several high-profile demolitions around the urban core, beginning with the old county courthouse and city hall annex buildings and including The Jacksonville Landing.
Lot clearing is expected to continue through the next week or two. Construction on the new FIS headquarters building is expected to begin later this year with completion expected by 2022.