Deadly Storms Largely Spare Nashville’s Booming Downtown
The storms and tornado that ravaged Nashville in the early hours of March 3 left at least 22 people dead, along with an estimated 50 collapsed buildings and other widespread damage. By Tuesday afternoon, more than 60,000 customers in Davidson and Wilson counties were still without power, according to reports.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor John Cooper (D) signed an executive order declaring an official state of emergency as a result of the March 3 tornado that “caused death, injury, and widespread property damage in Davidson County.”
The mayor’s accompanying statement noted that the order will help facilitate “response and recovery efforts on behalf of all Nashvillians affected by this morning’s devastating storm.”
Downtown Nashville, a hotbed of development and construction activity recently, though, appeared relatively unscathed.
In a Tuesday morning press briefing, Mayor John Cooper responded to the first question posed to him, which was regarding the fact that no cranes in downtown Nashville had been damaged, by crediting the city’s code and building inspectors. “We have a lot of great code inspectors here,” Cooper said. “So they did their job and you can look at how much was preserved.”
Included among the “preserved” downtown developments was the $1-billion Nashville Yards mixed-use project. No damage was reported at the project, which will be the home of a 5,000-employee Amazon office. Brentwood, Tenn.-based Bell & Associates, which has joint ventured with Clark Construction to build a 25-story office tower at Nashville Yards, told ENR that the storm had no impact on its downtown projects.
Other contractors contacted by ENR reported that their firm’s projects also had made it through the storm experiencing only minor damage.
Still, “It was a very scary night and the daylight has proven to be very harsh for our city,” said Kaitlyn Jones, director of marketing with Nashville-based R.C. Mathews Contractor. “Thankfully, our sites and employees are all mostly untouched.”
Sean Buck, Nashville division manager for JE Dunn Construction, noted that the firm’s local projects “were relatively unscathed due in large part to the diligence of our project teams and trade partners working hard to secure our projects and materials in an appropriate fashion.”
Choate Construction also reported that its active jobsites and office were not impacted and that its projects remain “active.”
Less fortunate was landscape architecture firm Hawkins Partners, which suffered significant damage to its office in East Nashville, where tornado damage was severe. The firm posted to its Facebook page: “Much of our immediate neighborhood in East Nashville was hit hard…. Our office sustained extensive damage. We are grateful that all of our HPI family are safe, though several have had heavy damage to their homes. Our leadership team is formulating a plan for our days ahead.”