Apartment fire aftermath: Tenants who were days from moving into RISE Doro building must move elsewhere

At least eight people were scheduled to move into the RISE Doro apartments this weekend.

After a devastating fire left the brand-new luxury apartment building unsafe and likely to be demolished, those tenants will have to live elsewhere.

They have been offered alternative places at other RISE properties throughout Jacksonville.

“We will be working with whoever was already contracted to move into the building to see if we can establish new housing,” Mayor Donna Deegan said Monday.

RISE, the company behind the East Adams Street building, has six apartment complexes in its portfolio in the Jacksonville area, including the Doro.

RELATED: A brief history of RISE Doro apartments, the $67M downtown complex that caught fire before opening | What’s next for the downtown apartment building marred by devastating fire? | Wood-frame construction, like what was used in RISE Doro, is common in Florida because of its cost. But there are risks

There’s also RISE Julington, RISE Bartram Park, RISE Baymeadows, RISE Glen Kernan Park, and RISE at Nocatee. RISE Glen Kernan Park and Rise at Nocatee are 55-plus active living apartment complexes.

RISE started in Valdosta, Georgia, but relocated its headquarters to Jacksonville in 2022.

Before the fire sparked Sunday night on the sixth floor, the RISE Doro Apartment was accepting applications for new tenants with the building expected to be completed in March.

It had just added a rooftop pool in September.

Apartments.com listed rent for $1,475-$3,200 with units ranging from studios to two bedrooms.

The company’s CEO told the Jacksonville Daily Record in 2022 that the 247-unit project at RISE Doro was expected to cost $67 million and be completed in the summer of 2023. But now, the immediate concern is keeping the building from collapsing.

The 80-foot-tall building will likely be surrounded by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue crews for days as they pour thousands of gallons of water on the building to control hot spots.

RELATED: JFRD chief explains why it’s difficult to put the fires out at RISE Doro apartments | Timeline: Luxury apartment complex in Downtown Jacksonville goes up in flames weeks before opening

The building’s state of construction and wood frame are both contributing to the difficulty firefighters are having extinguishing the fire.

“Because the whole roof has burned off the building — it’s burnt down into some of the lower floors now — and when that happens, those walls are not supported. Now they’re getting a little bit unstable, which is creating another safety issue around the building,” JFRD Chief Keith Powers said Monday. “So if you notice our ladder pipes are positioned on the corners of the building, and that’s the safest area where we can put our personnel.”

RISE expressed gratitude for the firefighters’ hard work.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters, first responders, and their families who have been committed to the safety of our community. We are thankful for their quick and ongoing response to the situation,” the company said in a statement on its website.

Structural engineers were at the Downtown property on Monday, and Deegan said she’s hopeful they can move through the process quickly once they determine the best course of action.

RELATED: RISE developer says he ‘absolutely wants to see a rebuild’ after fire destroys Downtown apartment complex | Deegan: Massive sports complex apartment fire a ‘setback’ for downtown development, housing woes

RISE President Greg Blais said the company has a long process to navigate but wants to rebuild Downtown.

“We chose to move the company to Jacksonville to make the commitment to be Downtown. We still have that commitment strong in our hearts,” Blais said. “We want to be Downtown, and we absolutely want to see a rebuild happen.”

The fire began Sunday night, with a 911 call coming in around 9:30 p.m. Firefighters believed it was under control by 11 p.m., but within an hour the blaze had reignited. It sent smoke billowing across the St. Johns River for hours on Monday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.