Asheville Council approves RAD Lofts incentives

Harry Pilos pitched Asheville City Council on his RAD Lofts development. Photo by Alicia Funderburk
Harry Pilos pitched Asheville City Council on his RAD Lofts development. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Asheville City Council helped pave the way for major growth in the River Arts District Aug. 26,  approving a roughly $764,000 incentive package for RAD Lofts. The mixed-use development at the intersection of Roberts Street and Clingman Extension will include 209 apartments as well as 48,000 square feet of commercial space and a parking garage.

All told, Developer Harry Pilos said he’s planning to invest roughly $52 million into the project. At the meeting he also revealed new details, saying the building will likely include a small grocery store operated by West Village Market, a sushi restaurant and a novelty store/tattoo parlor. It will also include office space and other retail outlets.

“It will all create a synergy I’m going for in the project. … I’ve been as thoughtful as can be. We’re not just chasing dollars here, we’re trying to do a good project,” said Pilos.

In exchange for the incentives, which will mostly come in the form of tax refunds, Pilos agreed to keep rents in 198 apartment units at “workforce” levels and 11 units at “affordable” standards. Based on the city’s rules for “workforce housing,” that translates to a maximum rent of $1,267 per month for a one-bedroom apartment up to $1,418 for a two-bedroom, according to Asheville Public Works Director Cathy Ball. Rents in the “affordable” units would be capped at $819 for a one-bedroom and $914 for a two-bedroom.

In order to receive the tax refunds, the development will also need to comply with Energy Star environmental requirements. Before construction can begin, contaminants will have to be cleaned from the site, which was a former steel factory.

Without the city incentives, Pilos said that he would have to charge higher rents to make the project feasible.

No residents spoke out against the plan during a public hearing on the matter, and Council members were generally supportive. However, Council member Jan Davis did express concerns that the novelty shop could be “less than a good neighbor,” worrying that it could attract people into “drugs and loud music.”

In response, Pilos asserted that there will be “no problem with that,” saying if such problems occurred, “I’ll shut them down before you do.” He previously did consider building an underground music club at the site, but decided against it, he said.

Davis ended up voting in favor.

Vice Mayor Marc Hunt praised the city’s efforts “to be proactive” in attracting investment in the area. “We may be on the front-end of the River Arts District we’ve been hoping to see for many many years,” he said.

Council members Gordon Smith and Gwen Wisler cast the only dissenting votes against the incentive package. The project was eligible for the money through the city’s Land Use Incentive program, but they favored giving Pilos a portion of the requested funding directly from the city’s General Fund. Smith said he thought that approach would be more consistent with previous development deals but added, “I certainly do support the project.”

Here’s Council’s “action agenda” for Aug. 26:

The action agenda is intended to provide the reader with an overview of the council meeting and any decisions that were made. It does not provide action on ceremonial or non-substantive matters.

THIS ACTION AGENDA IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. Authority to carry out actions related to any council decision should be obtained through normal departmental procedure.

Please call the City Clerk’s office at 259-5601 if you have any questions.

Present: Mayor Esther E. Manheimer, Presiding; Vice-Mayor Marc W. Hunt; Councilman Cecil Bothwell; Councilman Jan B. Davis; Councilman Christopher A. Pelly; Councilman Gordon D. Smith; Councilwoman Gwen C. Wisler; City Manager Gary Jackson; City Attorney Robin T. Currin; and City Clerk Magdalen Burleson

Absent: None

ITEM AND SUMMARY

Resolutions making provisions for the possession and consumption of malt beverages and/or unfortified wine at the following events:

  1. Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival on August 31, 2014
  2. Beer City Cup on August 31, 2014
  3. Goombay on September 12 & 13, 2014
  4. Dog Day Afternoon on September 28, 2014

Resolutions setting public hearings on October 14, 2014, to consider the creation of a Municipal Service Districts for the following areas:

  1. The South Slope
  2. The River Arts District
  3. North Charlotte Street

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with Adecco USA Inc. for Information Technology Services contract employees.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute change orders with Copeland Holdings (CH) Security Services, LLC for City Hall security guard services.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract amendment with Cavanaugh & Associates, P.A., for the Non-Revenue Water Management Contract.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with Stewart, Inc. for the development of the French Broad River Greenway and Amboy Bridge Connector.

Ordinance amending Chapter 11 of the Code of Ordinances to regulate trespass towing from private parking lots.

Resolution amending the City’s Land Use Incentive Policy.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Asheville Humane Society for animal shelter services within the territorial limits of the City of Asheville.

ACTION

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign an agreement with Dr. Paul Martin, MD, d/b/a Asheville Addiction Consultants, PA, for physician services.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to proceed with the Master Contract with Riverside Stump Dump Inc. for the brush and leaf disposal for the City of Asheville.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with Patton Construction Group Inc. for the Concrete Repair – Maintenance and ADA Improvements Project.

Resolution authorizing the Mayor to enter into a joint agreement with Buncombe County and the Board of Trustees of A-B Technical Community College to expand the Community College’s law enforcement jurisdiction to the Allied Health Building.

Ordinance renewing the franchise agreement to operate a trolley bike tour service with Amazing Pubcycle within the City of Asheville.

Ordinance renewing the franchise agreement to operate a pedal bicycle taxi service with Asheville Bike Taxi LLC within the City of Asheville.

Ordinance renewing the franchise agreement to operate a trolley service with Gray Line Trolley Tours within the City of Asheville.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to apply for a Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority Product Development Fund grant for the Riverfront Destination Development Project.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with ESRI, Inc., for a 3-year contract for GIS software maintenance.

Resolution authorizing the Mayor to accept the City of Asheville being identified as the designated recipient for Section 5310 federal transportation funds.

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Motorola Inc. for radio system maintenance.

Resolution directing the City Clerk to advertise for upset bids for the sale of 227.94 square feet of air rights at 56 S. Lexington Avenue to King James Properties, LLC.

Resolution to amend Resolution No. 13-42 to include the bidding and construction services in the exemption from the architectural, engineering and surveying announcement requirement of NCGS §143-64.31 for the North Fork Dam Intake Tower and Conduit Repairs Project; and to authorize the City Manager to execute a professional engineering services agreement with Schnabel Engineering South, PC, for bidding and construction services for said project.

Unauthorized Rights of Way Cuts:

  1. Ordinance amending Chapter 16 of the Code of Ordinances regarding unauthorized right-of-way cuts.
  2. Ordinance amending Appendix B of the Code of Ordinances to increase the civil penalties of unauthorized right-of-way cuts.

Budget amendments:

  1. In the amount of $21,447.94, from insurance recovery funds, from two non-Asheville Police Department at-fault auto accidents to utilize towards the purchase of a new Police Department vehicle.
  2. In the amount of $60,662 to create a new project in the City’s Special Revenue Fund to purchase five additional bus shelters under the stimulus funding grant.

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Adopted Unanimously Adopted Unanimously

Resolution adopting the legislative advocacy proposal to the N.C. League of Municipalities

Public hearing to consider a land use incentive grant agreement for 146 Roberts Street (RAD Lofts).

Public hearing to consider an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance regarding the stormwater utility to provide three levels of tiering for detached singled family properties.

Adopted Unanimously

Adopted 5-2 (50 points) w/Smith & Wisler voting “no”

Adopted Unanimously

Resolution appointing members to the Civic Center Commission.

Boards & Commissions: (Council to determine who, if any, to interview)

  • -  Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
  • -  African American Heritage Commission
  • -  Citizens-Police Advisory Committee
  • -  Community Relations Council
  • -  Multimodal Transportation Commission
  • -  Tourism Development Authority

Reappted Carol Ann Lydon; Appted Bill Russell & Yvonne Cook-Riley

Reappted Jayden Gurney, Mae Creadick & Interview William Irby, Brian Alexander, Randall Barnett,

Laura Simmelink & James Mastrogiacomo

Appted Al Whitesides

Reappted Allen Brailsford, Carol Hallstrom; Larry Holt & Debbie Appelwhite

Appted Fyffe Aschenbrenner

Reappted Till Dohse; Appted Steven Obremski and
John Stuart Ridout

Reappted John Ellis (Manheimer recused)

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Jake Frankel is an award-winning writer and reporter who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

4 thoughts on “Asheville Council approves RAD Lofts incentives

  1. Michael

    If I knew about the meetings and hearing for this I would have spoken against it! “affordable” apartments, thats a complete joke, and only 11 of them. Thats less than 5% of these apartments. More business in RAD is great but not this way.

    • Heather RV

      I completely agree with Michael. I cannot fathom what those rent figures are based on! My husband and I both work F/T, and neither of us at jobs that many sneer at or label as “not real jobs,” but there is no way we could afford rent like that unless all utilities were included in that cost. It’s absurd! This feels like it is geared toward being “affordable” or “workforce” for a group of single people or friends – not families. Sure, if you have a roommate and split that $918 it’s not so bad. But not so much if you’re trying to raise 1 or 2 kids in that space. It’s cheaper than renting a comparable house (assuming you could even find a house for rent) but still not a viable solution.

      I understand things like this happening and the loss of connection with constituents when those making decisions don’t live and work in the communities they’re making decisions for but that’s not the case here. Very disappointing.

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