Residents and businesses on downtown Nashville’s 2nd Avenue are just now starting the process of rebuilding after the devastating bombing that destroyed an entire block on Christmas Day.
For one restaurant, though, it looks like they’re not even going to get the opportunity to reopen – at least not in their original location.
Old Spaghetti Factory had been a staple on 2nd Avenue for 40 years before the building suffered extensive damage in the Christmas day explosion. After the bombing, the restaurant raised over $20,000 from a GoFundMe page set up to help its 32 employees that were out of a job, and owners had hoped to rebuild and eventually reopen their Nashville location in its original building.
But according to WZTV, the owners of Old Spaghetti recently received a letter from their landlord informing them that their lease would be terminated, despite having 14 years remaining on the contract.
Old Spaghetti Factory says that the landlord, LOFTS 160 Nashville, LLC, is making a “business decision” to terminate the lease before its December 2035 expiration date, despite the fact that the owners have offered to invest more than $1 million to rebuild the restaurant back to its original condition.
The president of Old Spaghetti Factory, which is a 41-restaurant chain, released a statement expressing their disappointment in the landlord’s decision and calling for the city to get involved:
“We are incredibly disappointed by the letter sent by our landlord as they are using this tragic event to terminate our lease. Our restaurants and teams have endured the most challenging year, which was punctuated by the bombing. We hoped the Landlord would work with us, but they are making a business decision to have us removed. We now have to tell our team members that they may not have a place to work, which is very disappointing. I hope the City will get involved and let them know this isn’t right.”
For now, though, the Old Spaghetti Factory is forced to look for a new location for their Nashville restaurant, pushing another downtown Nashville landmark out of its home. And we just have to wait and see what’s going to go in its place.
If I have to guess, it’s probably going to be some “trendy” new restaurant with mediocre, overpriced food or another bar owned by some big-name country artist that plays pop songs and “Wagon Wheel” while bachelorette parties sip on $20 vodka sodas.
And that’s a shame for downtown Nashville.