By MARISSA SULEK
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — The bombing had a major impact on businesses along Second Avenue and for many of them, they can’t move past an event that closed their doors. On Friday, News4 got to see where the damage is six months after the Christmas Day bombing and how far businesses are in the renovation process.
Progress has not gone far. Look down the 2nd Avenue and you can see Christmas garland wrapped around light posts.
“For us, it’s still like Christmas Day,” says Mark Rosenthal, co-owner of Rodizio’s Grill and Brazilian Steakhouse and The Melting Pot.
Inside Rodizio’s Grill and Brazilian Steakhouse the décor is frozen in time. Wine glasses still hang, a dessert tray still stands, and Christmas trees still glisten.
“It’s frustrating,” says Demetrius Kelly, Rosenthal’s partner. “Right now, there’s manpower shortages, material shortages. I mean you can’t go build a deck in your own backyard without spending three times as much as you did last year.”
Ron Gobbell is the Second Avenue Project Manager with GHP Inc. He gave News4 a tour of the red zone, or the restricted area, which he plans to maintain for the time being.
“This is going to be a construction zone for at least a year maybe longer,” says Gobbell.
Steve Prosser is the structural engineer on the project. He says the Rhea building, which houses The Melting Pot and Rodizio’s Grill and Brazilian Steakhouse, was given a gift on Christmas Day thanks to their steel columns being 44 feet from the bomb.
“There’s steel going to the top,” Prosser explains. “That’s what saved this building right here.”
While the steel helped mitigate the damage, there’s been zero progress on the first floor. Prosser says that’s because the buildings next door were deemed unstable until three weeks ago.
“We know it’s a process, but our goal is to do everything we can to not slow down the process,” says
“The Melting Pot brand is seeing 30% more sales all over the country and we are missing out on that,” Rosenthal mentions. But while they are missing out on business, he says they do plan to reopen when the time is right.
Since the four buildings next to the Rhea Building were deemed stable enough, crews will start taking debris out of the Rhea Building next week.
A precise completion date is still undetermined. Gobbell says it could take at least another year, but he hopes to open the street to car and foot traffic before that.
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