NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The owners of four historic buildings on 2nd Avenue directly impacted by the Christmas Day bombing have requested a demolition permit, following a report by a structural engineer hired to assess the buildings who deemed them structurally unsafe.
According to a Metro Codes spokesperson, the owners of 170, 172, 174, and 176 Second Avenue North informed the Second Avenue Project Manager, Metro Planning Department, Metro Historic Zoning Commission, and Metro Codes of the findings. Metro Codes say the owners, members of the Callen family, have “taken the appropriate steps to preserve sections of the building that are still standing.”
“For months now, the crews working on these buildings have been removing one brick at a time,” said Second Avenue Project Manager Ron Gobbell, “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.”
The owners of the impacted buildings stated in their letter that they want “an expedited process to permit controlled demolition of these buildings” which they believe “are an imminent safety concern.”
The letter also reads, in part:
It is best to take the structures down in a controlled manner, to save as much of the history as
possible, so that we can reuse it and rebuild even better for the future, incorporating the history into our design. That is our commitment. We do not intend to sell this property or pave it over. Our goal is, as it has always been, to create a boutique hotel on this site that is an integral part of the historic fabric of Second Avenue. We had hoped to do that within the buildings we owned. Now that those buildings are no more, our hope is to work with Metro and Historic Nashville to create something new that blends into this beautiful urban setting and will stand for decades and centuries to come.
This is an outcome that no one wanted, especially us. We wanted to save the original buildings. But given the reports from the experts, what our own eyes tell us and what the buildings are telling us, we have no choice. We are saddened by the reality of the conditions of our buildings, and we are doing what we believe is the most responsible thing.
Metro Planning, Metro Historic Zoning Commission, and Metro Codes will now carefully review the demolition permit, and a decision will be made “as soon as possible.”
“In the meantime, additional safety measures have been added to increase the protected area surrounding these buildings, which includes a fence extended 50 feet outside the buildings on the First Avenue side, and redirecting access through Fort Nashborough,” a Metro Codes spokesperson said to News 2.
Read the full letter and findings from the structural engineers below: