A national development company recently bought a 14-acre site in South Asheville and is hoping to build a major apartment complex there.
Southwood Realty Co. spent $2.4 million on the land, which lies behind the Earthfare grocery store in between Mills Gap, Sweeten Creek and Gerber roads. The Gastonia–based company is planning a 246-unit apartment complex for the site but will first need approval from Asheville City Council, according to William Ratchford, Southwood Reality’s vice president.
“Asheville’s not the easiest place to get something approved,” he says, adding: “We’ve already met with the city of Asheville. Tentatively, that’s what the city of Asheville feels like should be on this land as well. We wouldn’t have spent that money if we didn’t think it would get approved.”
The company wants to eventually offer one-, two- and three-bedroom rentals at market rates, says Ratchford. The target date for construction to begin is spring of 2014, with the apartments completed by early 2015, he says. The idea is for a complex that’s comparable to Weirbridge Village, a nearby 280-unit apartment complex located at 1 Legacy Oaks Place.
Southwood Realty is currently completing Ballentryne Commons, a 360-unit apartment development in Hendersonville that Ratchford says would serve as a model for the new development. The company owns about 14,500 apartments across the Southeastern U.S. but this would be its first Asheville development, says Ratchford.
South Asheville is in need of more housing, he says.
“The town of Asheville seems to be growing in the south, significantly, towards the airport, towards Biltmore Park and those areas, more than west and north of Asheville,” he says. “We have the money to build it. When we buy things we know we’re going to build it, it’s just a matter of when. … This was kind of a perfect fit.”
The land was previously under consideration for a WalMart, but Asheville City Council declined the proposal in 2000; later, the land was foreclosed on, says Ratchford. The company bought the site from Alabaster Real Estate Holdings LLC.