The Downtown Commission today approved the designs for the massive redevelopment of downtown’s Haywood Park complex, which would feature two 20-plus-story high rises commanding the skyline between Page Avenue and Haywood Street.
The 6-2 decision, with Commission Chairman Pat Whalen and fellow member Joe Eckert voting against, is only a first, but vital, step. The landmark project envisioned by Asheville developer Tony Fraga still must pass muster with the city’s Technical Review Committee and the Planning and Zoning Commission before a final approval by City Council. And, on July 11, Fraga is scheduled to appear again before the Commission to iron out some architectural and other details of the project.
While many members of the public questioned the project’s scale, the impact of construction on surrounding businesses, and the need to move forward before a downtown master plan is submitted later this year, the Commission in general lauded the project. Some Commission members who voted in favor of it raised similar concerns. But one of those, Commission member Dwight Butner, stated that in most respects the proposed redevelopment was “a beautifully designed project, better than we could ever expect” and “even bordering on brilliant.”
For a full report on the Commission meeting, check out the July 9 edition of Xpress.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer