A Tornado, A Pandemic, & Now A Bombing
2020 was already a year for the history books, but Nashville will now have a side note added: the detonation of a car bomb at 6:30 a.m. on Christmas morning. Thankfully, there were no fatalities aside from the bomber who, investigators have determined, died in the blast. Mayor John Cooper and Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake called Metro Nashville police officers Brenna Hosey, James Luellen, Michael Sipos, Amanda Topping, James Wells, and Sgt. Timothy Miller “heroes” for their bravery during the moments leading up to the explosion.
Initially responding to a call about “gunshots fired,” the officers quickly realized the perilous situation called for the evacuation of everyone in proximity to an RV broadcasting a message using a computer-generated voice. Just as everyone reached a relatively safe distance, the bomb went off, devastating an entire block of Second Avenue North between Commerce and Church Streets.
The blast severely damaged the AT&T building, causing network outages extending into neighboring states. In an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Mayor Cooper said, “To all of us locally, it feels like there has to be some connection with the AT&T facility and the site of the bombing. It’s got to have something to do with the infrastructure.”
Although FBI investigators have declined to speculate on a motive, one person said that during an interview with investigators he was asked if the suspect had ever expressed any “5G paranoia.”
The buildings on the east side of the street, opposite the monolithic AT&T building, were built in the 19th century. The historic facades of at least two of these were completely destroyed.
Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary a Taste of East Nashville!
A reminder this holiday season that we’re still celebrating our 10th anniversary with a very special print edition and a unique “Taste of East Nashville Gift Set” perfect for belated holiday giving or goodwill in general! This special East-centric gift package includes the “10th Anniversary Issue” along with a selection of quality goods from East Side Vendors delivered to your door (and shipping is free!) Click here for complete details and to place your order.
Nashville’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Opens on East Side
The Metro Nashville Health Department opened the city’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Wednesday at Explore! Community School in East Nashville at 707 S. Seventh St. The opening came after the city received 3,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday and 6,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine Wednesday, with the first doses going to Meharry Medical College personnel who have been doing volunteer work at Nashville’s testing sites over the last few months.
“The term ‘essential’ only begins to describe the role that these medical professionals have filled over this last year,” Cooper said in a press conference Tuesday. “They’re been courageous, selfless, vigilant, and professional, in the service of our community during this pandemic. But really, if you’ve been tested, you know what a comforting presence they are during a stressful time and I’m grateful to every one of them.”
In accordance with state guidelines, the first recipients of the vaccines in Nashville will be health care workers who are closest to the virus every day — including workers at long term care facilities and in-home care employees — and first responders, including firefighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and emergency communications center employees.
Forthcoming shipments are expected to provide enough doses in the next few weeks to vaccinate all individuals in the high priority group. Metro is currently working with HCA to open another location to administer vaccines as more doses become available. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine visit the “General COVID-19 Vaccine Questions” page at asafenashville.org.
Will It All Come Out In The Wash?
A big change is coming near the intersection of Gallatin and Douglas Avenues with the announcement of plans for The Wash — a take-out and delivery food hub concept that is the latest undertaking by East Nashville-based developer Tyler Cauble. Located in the self-service car wash structure at 1101 McKennie Ave., but fronting onto Gallatin Avenue and a short walk from the new Hill Center Greenwood/ Publix currently under construction, Cauble says the concept had an unusual birth procedure.
“The city wouldn’t let us tear the building down without giving them a significant right of way which would have made the parcel unusable, so we had to keep the structure,” Cauble says. “We couldn’t figure out what would work on the site at first because it’s so small. We considered grabbing Hattie B’s or some other established restaurant that might want to open a take-out location in East Nashville, but the further we got into it we decided to go for the ‘pirate’ real estate concepts, the true start-ups.”
Cauble says on-site construction should begin in mid-February with an eye on opening in mid-2021, and he hopes the almost corporate-chain-proof design will play well for both financial growth and neighborhood preservation.
“We don’t want something that’s already been done,” Cauble says. ”We want the next Funk Seoul Brother or Grilled Cheeserie. We want something different and unique that will keep the spirit of East Nashville alive.”
It remains to be seen how long-term residents will respond to the project’s name. Beloved Eastside institution The Family Wash — a “true start-up“ if there ever was one — was affectionately known as “The Wash“ for most of its existence and was originally located just down the road in the building currently occupied by Vinyl Tap.
Re-Presenting The Idea Hatchery Shops
The 2019 closing of the Art & Invention Gallery followed by the devastation brought by the March 3 tornado was a hard blow for the 5 Points area. Local real-estate developer Christian Paro, who purchased the gallery along with The Idea Hatchery from Bret and Meg Macfadyen in April 2019, now has both properties ready for a fresh restart.
“We’ve rebranded both 1106 and 1108 Woodland St. as ‘Five Points Alley Shops’ with retail suites ranging in size from 168 to 2900 square feet.,” Paro says. “We feel very fortunate to have kept our new project 90% occupied even during a pandemic. This is due to our fair pricing and tenant/landlord partnerships that create win/win scenarios.”
In addition to several long-time favorites that are still in place at the former Idea Hatchery, East Side favs Fairytales Bookstore and Meliora Movement have moved into new spaces in the Five Points Alley Shops after their former locations were damaged by the tornado. Also, coming soon to the Shops is Burger & Co., a restaurant concept based out of Iowa that will be opening in Suite #1 of 1106 Woodland St. in Spring/Summer 2021, leaving only one available space in the revamped 1106 Woodland building.
Here’s a complete run-down of each store’s current status. For more information, follow the individual links.
Alegria — Online store coming soon; DM to purchase items on Instagram; eGift cards available; domestic shipping, curbside pickup, contactless store pick, and local delivery options
Black Dog Beads — By appointment only; local contact-free delivery options on request
Defunct Books — Online shopping through Biblio with curbside pickup available; in person by appointment only to buy/sell; eGift cards available
Fairytales Bookstore — Online shop, curbside/in-store pickup, plus free local delivery to 37206 and 37216
The Good Fill — Online shop and eGift cards
Goodbuy Girls — Online shop, domestic $5 flat rate shipping on orders $50 and over, in-store pickup and curbside pickup options
Meliora Movement — (Pilates studio) private classes available by request
Raven & Whale Gallery — Online shop, eGift cards, shipping options on request
Riveter — Online shop only
Tertiary Sight — By appointment only, eGift cards
Save Our Stages Passes as Part of COVID Relief Act
On Sunday night, celebrations seemed in order when the long-sought Save Our Stage Act passed as part of the far-from-perfect-but-it’s-all-we-got COVID-19 relief bill. The SOS Act provides $15 billion in relief for struggling show venues, working musicians, and venue employees while offering a vital lifeline for an industry that has been on the verge of collapse for months.
However, the good feelings of cheer shifted back to dread and anxiety on Tuesday evening when lame-duck President Donald Trump referred to the bill as a “disgrace” and implied a veto threat unless it was changed to meet specific demands that he was now voicing for the first time since the month-long negotiations on the bill began.
For now, the bill remains in limbo, as Trump has not yet signed or vetoed it, and the question remains if a large portion of Congress will defy his wishes for the first time as the President’s term in office draws to a close. ***UPDATE: POTUS finally signed the bill Sunday night. But we should cut him some slack for taking his sweet time (which allowed unemployment benefit to lapse for a week) because he had to figure out when to squeeze this in between trips to his golf course.
Even if the bill does become law, it will take several weeks before funds begin to flow to venues and their employees. In the meantime, The National Independent Venue Association will continue its vital support to venues and their employees through the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund. For more information and to make a donation to fund, visit saveourstages.com.
Mayor Announces River North Development Deal
Late last week Mayor John Cooper announced an agreement with Chicago’s Monroe Investment Partners for over $20 million of infrastructure construction in the 40-acre area of River North, located just north of Topgolf. Oracle Corp. is possibly planning a major office hub for the development.
According to the new agreement, Metro will fund $13.8 million in public road costs in the River North Phase I area with Monroe Investment contributing more than $7.1 million in public infrastructure costs, which will include public greenways and green spaces. Monroe will also be responsible for any costs beyond the budgeted $20.9 million.
The agreement also establishes a River North Business Improvement District in the area of Cowan Court and I-40. The mayor’s office also said additional future revenues from the district would go into Metro’s general operating fund to benefit all of Davidson County.
Molly Secours‘ Book Reflects On Whiteness
Author, filmmaker, and East Nashvillian Molly Secours’ new book, White Privilege Pop Quiz – Reflecting on Whiteness, has been drawing praise for its exposure of the invisible nature of privilege and its examination of simple but uncomfortable questions that White people rarely ask themselves about race. For more on the book, check out Ron Wynn’s recent interview with Secours in The Tennessee Tribune.
A Holiday Tip!
Finally, a feel-good holiday story we all can identify with. On, Saturday, Dec. 12, Carrie Taylor, a manager/server at the Rosepepper Cantina was waiting on a VIP table with YouTuber Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley, filmmaker Tyler Bishop, and Thinkswell digital marketing CEO Tim Gerst, when Jabaley presented her with a piñata to hit. A few smacks of the stick later, Taylor found herself with a $500 cash tip. When the group went outside to pose for a photo, Jabaley and Gerst presented her with another $3,000 in cash and a second, more conventional, candy-filled piñata for her to take home for her four kids to enjoy.
It turned out the entire surprise had been engineered by Gerst, a regular customer at the Rosepepper Cafe, who wanted to do something special for Taylor and a local small business. Gerst contacted Jabaley, who with Bishop has been crisscrossing the U.S. doing giveaways and surprising people with random acts of kindness for his Youtube channel, and Rosepepper Cantina Owner/Vice President Andrea Chaires to make the arrangements.
Taylor has used the $3,500 to help her catch up on bills and buy Christmas gifts for her kids, and she hopes Jabaley’s gesture inspires others to be generous whenever they can, especially toward those in the service industry.
Gerst summed up their motivation in a post to his Instagram account, “Seriously, small businesses and restaurants are struggling. Support the businesses you love as much as you can and if you’re able to, bless someone in a special way this Christmas season.”
- The former RJ Market at 3210 Gallatin Ave. is currently undergoing a renovation after the property changed hands in September. The rehab permit lists the catering company “In Good Company” as the future tenant.
- The Nashville Tree Conservation Corps is currently offering discount codes of up to $270 towards tree purchase by individuals who lost a tree during the March 3 tornado and subsequent storms in 2020. For more information and to apply for a discount, visit their Operation Overstory page.
- A 16.4-acre property at 526 Myatt Drive in Madison recently sold for $1.7 million. The industrial warehouse property was the former home Ozburn-Hessey Logistics.