Developer Tony Fraga plans to ask Asheville City Council for a one-year continuance for a proposed hotel and condominium complex at the Battery Park/Haywood Street section of downtown.
The proposal initially appeared before Council on Sept. 23, but discussion revealed that most Council members considered the plan out of scale with the surrounding area. Rather than risk a negative vote by Council, Fraga opted to delay the hearing until Nov. 11 while he explored possible changes to the development.
But, according to an item on Tuesday’s City Council agenda, Fraga plans to ask for more time.
“It did not look like the project was going to get Council approval in its current configuration,” says Lou Bissette, attorney and representative for the project. Bissette said a major challenge in reworking the project is the underground parking garage, which depends on the hotel and condo projects above to balance out the development’s profit margin. He added that the current unstable economic environment is also cause for concern.
“Given the present economy, most developers are putting things on hold until they see how things are going to be next year,” Bissette says.
A continuance for the Haywood Park Project is contingent on the approval of Council.
On Nov. 11, Bissette told Council that Fraga is withdrawing the Haywood Park project, having come to the conclusion that he cannot restructure the buildings to meet Council’s concerns about scale.
“The city’s approval process has cost my client significant time, money and energy,” Bissette told Council, addding, “The city of Asheville makes it very difficult for developers to invest in our city.”
Instead, Bissette said, Fraga will focus his energy on refurbishing the Haywood Park Hotel and turn his attention to a mixed-use development at Wesgate Mall.
— Brian Postelle, staff writer