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Rebuilding Second Avenue


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An interesting little mention in this Tennesseean article about the city wanting to possibly close down 1st Avenue parts of the day to allow pedestrians to meander around riverfront businesses (which

There's no reason why 2nd Ave can't  be rebuilt to exactly how it looked prior to the bombing.  War-torn cities and villages all across Europe have been able to do it.  I lived in Arras, France, a cit

The City should absolutely invest in the restoration of Second Avenue because of the important role it has in contributing to the 'brand' that is Music City USA. Nashville's Broadway district is the e

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45 minutes ago, donNdonelson2 said:

Wildhorse Saloon down the street is a “copycat” historic structure and it blends seamlessly with the character of the street. As much as it saddens me to see the buildings demolished, the bomber did most of the demolition on Christmas morning. Providing the property owners are committed to building a quality product, and are held to a high standard, I’m sympathetic with their desire to tear down and build new from the ground up.

My only question: is it appropriate to replace the 4 buildings with one building…as a boutique hotel?  The fact that many of these mid-1800’s era buildings were built as very skinny buildings that back all the up to 1st Avenue to load and unload materials from the river to use on 2nd Avenue probably should allow for some “updating” for uses in the 21st century.  It’s just whether or not the city / historic want them to build back the 4 buildings like they were…or will allow one large building to take its place.

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Here’s a little more in-depth reporting from the Tennesseean:

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2021/07/01/downtown-nashville-demolition-sought-historic-2nd-avenue-buildings-bombing/7833313002/

The owner of four historic downtown buildings torn apart in the Christmas Day bombing is seeking immediate demolition.

Much of the 2nd Avenue block between Church Street and Broadway's honky-tonk row will be taken down if the request is approved.

The buildings were built more than a century ago as part of Nashville's first downtown business district. They most recently held luxury lofts, a tattoo parlor, chain restaurants and bars including Hooters and The Old Spaghetti Factory.

H.I. Development Corp. President Andre Callen, representing the owner of 170-176 2nd Avenue North, formally requested demolition permits on Thursday.

"We have come to the heartbreaking conclusion that complete removal of the structures is required. The site is simply unsafe," states a letter to Metro officials from Callen.

 

He was with his family in a condo hit in the bombing. They were evacuated by police officers. 

"We have loved these buildings since we purchased them in 2005," Callen said, in a statement. "With each step forward in removing debris we have found new threats to the stability of the structures and new dangers for the people who are working there.

"We also believe this needs to happen as soon as possible. Our sense of urgency is based on our concern that these structures pose a risk to nearby pedestrians because they could fall when we least expect it."

 
What happens next?

Metro Planning and Codes officials will study the request before Historic Zoning Commission members vote on the matter.

But Historic Nashville Inc. President Elizabeth Elkins said they hired their own structural engineer to decide if the buildings truly need to be removed. The group must approve demolitions of properties with historic designations. 

The properties, part of the city's original Market Street, are on the National Register of Historic Places because of their distinct Victorian commercial style. 

Historic preservationists have expressed concerns for months that the hotel developer will push through demolition to erase protections and clear the way for larger, more lucrative businesses.

"I am saddened, though not surprised, by the Callens request to demo," Elkins said. "As owners of Second and First Avenue facades on 170-178 Second Avenue, Historic Nashville, Inc. has a legal say in whether or not these buildings come down.

 

Callen insisted the company spent months reviewing reports from teams carefully securing the sensitive structures.

Anthony Quinn Warner, a 63-year-old computer technician who lived in Antioch, attempted to blow up an AT&T facility on the historic block early Christmas morning. He turned his RV into a giant homemade bomb and detonated it from inside the van. 

Apart from Warner, who was killed, no one was injured in the blast, which caused water damage in AT&T's basement, devastated a dozen historic buildings, and blew out windows and doors for blocks.

Crews had been working toward preservation

In January, initial engineering reports said 11 buildings collapsed or were about to fall. Workers have since carefully removed debris – in some cases, brick by brick – and preserved bricks, cast iron masonry and other materials heralding from the turn of the 20th century.

 

Engineers, demolition experts, and architects reported that one building's walls still crumble with a simple push. Other buildings aren't much better off, they said.

"The brick wall between 170 and 172 is badly out of alignment and continues to partially collapse as the removal of the damaged structure it supports has progressed," Tom Schaeffer, the company's engineer, reported.

"For months now, the crews working on these buildings have been removing one brick at a time,” Gobbell said. "The owners have been extremely supportive of the efforts to preserve the historic character of Second Avenue, and we have every reason to believe that whatever the outcome they will continue to work with us."

Callen said the most recent evaluations of the buildings found significant safety concerns remain. 

"The purpose of this letter is to request an expedited process to permit controlled demolition of these buildings, which we believe are an imminent safety concern," the letter states. "Since Christmas Day we have worked diligently to keep our property safe, while trying to save what remained of these four beautiful structures. We chose what we believe to be the best team in Nashville to assist us in handling this important project. Our team has worked to preserve the sections of the buildings that are still tenuously standing, while carefully sorting through the debris created by the blast."

 

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13 hours ago, titanhog said:

“As owners of Second and First Avenue facades on 170-178 Second Avenue, Historic Nashville, Inc. has a legal say in whether or not these buildings come down.”

If Historic Nashville does, indeed, own the facades of those structures, their “entitlement” is legitimate.

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They likely own a Preservation Easment on the building’s facade. I wonder how much of a say they would have on the 2nd Ave side, seeing as the facade is completely obliterated. Historic Nashville explains the program here: http://historicnashvilleinc.org/what-we-do/preservation-easement-program/

Edit: To add, if the buildings are truly unsafe, and need to come down, I hope Historic Nashville doesn’t press the issue. I’d hate to see that area hang in limbo for years as this gets litigated out, just for the buildings to come down anyways. 

Edited by downtownresident
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2 hours ago, donNdonelson2 said:

If Historic Nashville does, indeed, own the facades of those structures, their “entitlement” is legitimate.

That's where I'm coming from though.  Did they ever up money to own the facades?  It doesn't appear so.

 

These are other questions I have re: Historic Nashville.  I honestly don't know and can't find it on their website.  But if the answer is "no" to these, then there is quite a bit of entitlement.

Do they pay insurance on the facades?

Do they pay property taxes on the facades?

Do they do any upkeep on the facades?

Are they contributing anything towards the rebuild?

 

Also - her use of the word ownership is bothersome.  An easement doesn't grant ownership, it grants an interest or right.

Edited by musiczealot
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5 hours ago, musiczealot said:

These are other questions I have re: Historic Nashville.  I honestly don't know and can't find it on their website.  But if the answer is "no" to these, then there is quite a bit of entitlement.

You can find some of your answers by clicking the link in downtownresident’s post above. I’ll post a screenshot of a portion of the information provided on this website.

C9C55D51-E062-4BF6-8D14-DF3B4DBE06AF.jpeg

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On 7/2/2021 at 6:09 PM, donNdonelson2 said:

You can find some of your answers by clicking the link in downtownresident’s post above. I’ll post a screenshot of a portion of the information provided on this website.

C9C55D51-E062-4BF6-8D14-DF3B4DBE06AF.jpeg

So it sounds like the answer is "no" to all of them?

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On 7/2/2021 at 12:49 PM, musiczealot said:

That's where I'm coming from though.  Did they ever up money to own the facades?  It doesn't appear so.

 

These are other questions I have re: Historic Nashville.  I honestly don't know and can't find it on their website.  But if the answer is "no" to these, then there is quite a bit of entitlement.

Do they pay insurance on the facades?

Do they pay property taxes on the facades?

Do they do any upkeep on the facades?

Are they contributing anything towards the rebuild?

Advocacy does not equal Entitlement.

If you look at the "Revolving Fund" portion of their page it does explain that they do front some money to help find alternatives to demolition as well as acquisitions to include protective easements. While they don't have easements on all of 2nd Ave, that does not mean they are out of bounds on the advocacy of the historical nature of the corridor. They also double as an advocacy group for historical overlays and protection over historical classifications of properties (which is not an end all be all of protection). While they do not always advocate on the correct parcels, in my opinion (ie 2nd & Peabody), having a watchdog group at least present in the city is good. It does keep a certain amount of check & balance with developers and the city. 2nd Ave is under an historical overlay and Historic Nashville wishes to make sure that the overlay is followed beyond the easements that they have funded.

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1 hour ago, VSRJ said:

Is there any timeline on when the AT&T building will be cleaned up? The "burn marks" on the exterior are like an ever-present reminder of the bombing.

No timeline that I know of. But the drawings have been bid out and work is ongoing.

That being said in digging through the permits on this building we should not expect any wild changes. brick to match existing and the entire building will be power washed. *sigh*

image.png.9d1294a0ff0a1727d4b2ca0b0c8866bc.png

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On 9/7/2021 at 11:51 AM, Bos2Nash said:

No timeline that I know of. But the drawings have been bid out and work is ongoing.

That being said in digging through the permits on this building we should not expect any wild changes. brick to match existing and the entire building will be power washed. *sigh*

 

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I've always thought that was a strange little building, but now I know it didn't always stand alone like that. Here's a series of photos about the new historical marker that will go at 315 2nd Avenue, where the Gerst House used to be. 

Courtesy of Fox17... https://fox17.com/news/local/gallery/brewing-history-gerst-house-historical-marker-unveiling-set-for-tuesday-nashville-tennessee?photo=1

Mid 1960s Gerst in the background with the mansard roofed corner turret and crosswalk.  I think the third building from the left with the recessed bay windows and the arches above them is such a cool building. I think that was around the courthouse 'square' and all gone now. Shame!

Gerst House looking South. (Metro Historical Commission submitted photo) photo 1

Gerst House. (Metro Historical Commission submitted photo) photo 2

Will go at the intersection of 2nd Avenue N. and Union Street at the south side of the Public Square

The Nashville Department of Transportation along with the Metro Historical Commission will install the new historical marker at the intersection of 2nd Ave. North and Union Street near Nashville Public Square at 9 a.m. Tuesday. (NDOT photo) photo 4

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