Businesses near massive fire in downtown Jacksonville open up again
Massive demolition is underway of the Doro apartment complex torched by fire in downtown Jacksonville. Photo via Drew Dixon

Businesses are starting to see customers return to the Sports Complex area of Jacksonville's downtown following an inferno at apartment complex that is now being demolished.

Some businesses surrounding the RISE Doro apartment building in Jacksonville’s Sports Complex downtown are starting to return to operations after fire torched the structure more than a week ago.

Intuition Ale Works pub, brewery and entertainment establishment finally opened again this week after the inferno caused so much damage to the Doro that city officials forced Intuition just to the south of the fire to temporarily close. They shut down after fire and public safety officials noted Intuition was in the “collapse zone” and were worried the remnants of the burnt structure could fall on Intuition and other shops.

But at Intuition at A. Philip Randolph Boulevard and Bay Street, customers started to trickle back into the establishment this week following the demolition work on Doro began.

John Middleton said he felt compelled to bring some business back to Intuition as he went to the business with his wife and son.

“We came to eat because they’ve been out of work for a week now so some of these folks haven’t been able to work,” Middleton said as he sat in the dining area of Intuition.

Middleton acknowledged when he heard about the massive blaze that ignited on the night of Jan. 28 and smoldered for nearly a week, he was concerned about the future of Intuition and other businesses in the Sports Complex area.

“Certainly, it’s right next door (to Doro) and we come down to events. We know where this building is located and we were definitely worried,” Middleton said.

The manager at Intuition declined to comment to Florida Politics, but their social media outlets celebrated the return to opening the business Sunday.

“We have received hundreds of notes from folks in the community and truly appreciate every one of you,” Intuition posted on its X account.

The business has what it calls a “bier garden” where they host popular touring bands and artists and Intuition officials say they will continue with their lineup of performing acts through the spring without any further interruptions to operating hours.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan ordered the immediate demolition of the Doro building, which had nearly 300 units that were under construction when the fire started after construction crews were finishing up work on an incomplete structure.

“Investigating agencies have all determined that the building is unsafe for first responders and investigators to enter — and that there is the potential for collapse,” Deegan said. “As a seven-story structure with significant damage, it poses an immediate public safety threat to the surrounding area and businesses, which are also facing the financial burden of remaining closed.”

Elev8 contractors were signed to complete the demolition work that could take two to three months to finish. The demolition project will cost about $1 million.

The estimated value of the Doro apartments was more than $60 million. While demolition has already started to tear down large swaths of the building, the cause of the fire remains elusive. Some were worried quick demolition of the seven-story building could destroy evidence in the search for that cause. No one was injured in the fire.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


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