‘We’re making progress.’ Second Ave recovery continues 6 months after bombing

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Posted at 6:41 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 19:21:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville’s Second Avenue Project Management Team provided an update Friday as the city continues to rebuild Second Avenue. Friday marks six months since the Christmas Day bombing rocked that area of downtown.

65 buildings were damaged in the bombing – some were heavily damaged. To date, 31 businesses have reopened.

Project Manager Ron Gobbell said 21 buildings are under “normal construction,” with window installations and other interior works going on. Others like the Lofts at 160, the Old Spaghetti Factory and B.B. King's Blues Club are going through “heavy reconstruction.”

Gobbell said for the most part, they’ve been focused on ten buildings located between Commerce and Church Streets. He said they also had to change traffic patterns in the area because they’re still several months away from opening Commerce to Church.

2nd Avenue 6 months after Christmas Day bombing

Additionally, Gobbell said they’re working with property owners to experiment with ideas like outdoor dining and outdoor events. Five outdoor dining permits are currently in-progress.

Following the update, officials gave a tour of some of the buildings.

Gobbell told reporters that the AT&T building, that was the target of the blast, would likely remain under construction through the end of the year. The four buildings directly across from the parked RV saw the worst damage, and it could be a year or longer before they're able to reopen.

NewsChannel 5's Chris Davis also got to tour inside the historic Rhea building, the former home of Rodizio Grill, The Melting Pot and Laser Quest. Because of the fragility of other nearby buildings, crews only got to go inside and begin debris removal three weeks ago.

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Second Avenue after the Christmas Day bombing.
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Second Avenue six months after the bombing.

Photos: 2nd Avenue 6 months after Christmas Day bombing

An in-depth look at the numbers shows the blast impacted an estimated 400 residents, 1,200 employees, more than 45 businesses, damaged more than 40 buildings and three people were hurt.

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The man officials said is responsible for the damage is Anthony Warner from Antioch. He died in the explosion. Authorities said they got DNA from a relative and it matched the remains found at the explosion.

Not only did the bombing impact the 2nd Avenue area, but it downed 911 services across Tennessee and beyond. Flights out of Nashville were also briefly halted by the FAA because of ongoing telecommunications issues.


The work surrounding that Christmas Day is still not done. Earlier this month, Metro police announced the department would implement changes based on a committee’s findings of its 2019 response to Warner’s home.

While those recommendations have been given out, a nine-person commission is still active. They first met in April and are expected to have a report on the response to the bombing by the end of this year.

The commission has a lot of power – for instance, they can conduct their own investigations and hold their own hearings. According to the city's website, their function is to make recommendations on things like policy and procedure to reduce the likelihood of another bombing in Nashville – plus, make improvements the city's response to similar things in the future.

Previous stories:

Photos: Explosion in downtown Nashville causes heavy smoke, damage

Christmas Day bombing damages much of Nashville's 2nd Ave

AT&T provides no explanation to regulators about 911 failures after the Nashville bombing

FBI: Nashville bomber driven by conspiracies, paranoia

Anthony Warner's girlfriend warned police he was building bombs in his RV last year

Former girlfriend of bombing suspect makes claim for reward money through her new attorney