Old Bradenton Herald building to fall to wrecking ball

BRADENTON -- A $16 million building once occupied by the Bradenton Herald is being torn down.

This week, a demolition company will begin taking down the two-story building at 102 Manatee Ave. W. that was once home to the Herald's newsroom, sales force, administration and printing plant.

Under a permit issued by Bradenton, Graber Excavation & Demolition will begin ripping away at the 91,000-square-foot block and steel structure in earnest on Tuesday. Rendina Cos., the Jupiter health care real estate company that purchased the building for $3.362 million in April 2014, commissioned the demolition work.

The job is expected to take about 60 days, according to Josh Graber, the owner of the Sarasota demolition company. He said the $180,000 project will employ six of his workers full time beginning to end. It is one of the largest projects his company has undertaken.

The crew will remove the building and all the asphalt and concrete paving from the property. The majority of the concrete, steel and other building materials will be recycled. In all, 550 truckloads of rubble are expected to leave the property.

"We're basically just leaving it a clean slate," Graber said.

The razing will level a building that once anchored a corner of downtown Bradenton. Built in 1984 by the Herald's owner at the time, Knight Ridder, the struc

ture sits in the midst of a grove of rare trees at U.S. 301 and Manatee Avenue West. The Herald moved to its new offices in the Bradenton Herald Corporate Center, 1111 Third Ave. W., in September 2013.

The building was previously owned by the McClatchy Co.'s pension fund. McClatchy purchased Knight Ridder in 2006. The Herald's building was sold five years later to McClatchy's pension fund for more than $4.7 million.

Last year, the city reviewed a conceptual plan submitted by Rendina that would put a three-story, 55,000-square foot medical office building on the property. However, the deal fell through, said Tim Polk, Bradenton's planning director. There is no current development plan for the property.

According to its website, Rendina has developed more than 7 million square feet in more than a dozen states. The former Herald site is in an area that hosts a concentration of medical buildings. The structure lies between Manatee Memorial Hospital to the east and Bradenton Cardiology Associates, a practice owned by the hospital.

Rendina's CEO, Richard Rendina, did not reply to a request to comment on the demolition or what his company is planning to do with the property once the old building is cleared away.

Demolition at the site will take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.