UPDATED: Beer buzz: Future East Coast site of New Belgium Brewing? WLOS reports “maybe”

Last month, Xpress reported on a rezoning request for a River Arts District property that some say could be the next New Belgium Brewery site; a property agent said “no” but today WLOS TV reports a strong “maybe.”

FROM WLOS:

Sources say the old livestock yard on Craven street has been visited by New Belgium officials in recent days. The site is now being rezoned by its owners from Urban Village back to a less restrictive River District. A public hearing was scheduled to hear the re-zoning request this evening (Wednesday). News 13 has also learned that the owner of the old tobacco warehouse property adjacent to the stockyard has a sales contract on the property [but won't say who]…

PREVIOUS XPRESS REPORT:
The buzz continues in Asheville, with locals pointing to signs of surveying on Craven Street in the River Arts District and noting that the Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission will hear a rezoning request for this and an adjacent property on March 7.
On Feb. 14, the Denver Business Journal reported: “Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Co. has narrowed its list of potential East Coast brewery sites to two: the Philadelphia area and Asheville, N.C.”

The buzz continues in Asheville, with locals pointing to signs of surveying on Craven Street in the River Arts District, say Xpress sources.

But Joe Ferikes, who represents property owner French Broad River Group, says, “I’ve heard that too.” The rezoning request is actually a return to what the two lots were classified as, pre-recession, he explains. A few years ago, at the city’s suggestion, he got the properties rezoned from River District to Urban Place. The latter designation allows up to 64 units per acre and is set up to encourage mixed-use development like Biltmore Park. “It just didn’t work … That was about when everything tanked [in the economy],” says Ferikes.

Going back to a River District classification allows much fewer units per acre (just 18) but allows for types of development, he adds.

Ferikes also notes that one of the tenants on Craven Street — Country Kitchen — just relocated from a Smokey Park Highway location. The other tenant uses the old Western Carolina Livestock building to house bucking bulls for the rodeo.

And on March 7, the Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a rezoning request for 157 and 163 Craven Street. Currently at that location are the Western Carolina Livestock Market and a restaurant (Country Kitchen):

Request to rezone the properties located at 157 and 163 Craven Street from UP (Urban Place) to River District. The petitioner is French Broad River Group, LLC and the contact is Joe Ferikes. The properties are identified as PIN(s) 9638-78-8092, 9638-88-0138 and 9638-88-2312.

Is all this buzz connected? Stay tuned.


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