A new restaurant is coming to the Haywood Park atrium, but don’t expect to see a new tenant move in. Rather, the company that owns the development will open the eatery.
“We are opening up a café inside the atrium that we're going to be operating ourselves,” says Wes Reinhardt, vice president of FIRC Group. “It will be a breakfast and lunch destination. It will be simple, healthy fare: things from paninis, coffee, shakes.”
The new venture will be called the Haywood Park Café. With it come improvements to the atrium, Reinhardt says, including wi-fi and café tables. “Changes are happening right now, and we hope to be open before the end of the year,” he says.
The restaurant space has been vacant since 2007 (it previously housed Souper Sandwich). The atrium is tucked back from the street behind The Chocolate Fetish and The Bier Garden. It's accessible from a set of double doors on Haywood Street and the lobby of the Haywood Park Hotel. The upper levels that surround the atrium house offices, including those of FIRC Group.
As for the management, Reinhardt says the restaurant is a team effort, but he adds that some of the real-estate group's employees have restaurant backgrounds. “We've got a lot of talented people — you'd be surprised — that can do a lot of different things here,” he says. FIRC Group owns and manages properties in the Carolinas and Florida. The company also owns the Westgate Shopping Center (anchored by Earth Fare).
Reinhardt says the new café will not affect the Asheville City Market's plans to use the atrium space from January through March. The market will continue as scheduled.
News of the new Haywood Park project comes on the heels of the closing announcement of one of the building's most visible tenants: Restaurant Solace, at the corner of Battery Park Avenue and Haywood Street. That eatery will close its doors on Oct. 28. Reinhardt says that FIRC is not ready to release any news about the future of that property.
Haywood Park is located at 46 Haywood St. For more information about FIRC Group, see fircgroup.com.