What will happen to the as-yet undeveloped portion of the 192-acre parcel in Enka that once was home to the former BASF plant? Developers hope to make a shopping center, with a big box store, on part of it; they’re tempting government officials with offers of ball fields, green space and parks.
But some key questions need answers.
What will be the costs to taxpayers for the projects? How would the public portion be funded? What contamination problems lurk on the land and in existing buildings? There is a landfill that may contain hazardous waste on part of the land, and reportedly the deed for the AB Tech campus has restrictions due to existing contamination.
An article by Mark Barrett in the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Big Enka Project Unveiled,” gets interested residents started with a look at developer visions and initial regulatory hurdles.
Here are some items from the article:
“Developers have ‘talked to a lot of people,’ but do not have commitments from tenants yet,” said Ken Murphy, one of a group of local businessmen behind Enka Center.
“The proposal’s space for retail would amount to about one-half the size of Asheville Mall.”
“Even with the economy slowing retail construction, ‘All you need is one big-box store to come in and it’ll go,’” Murphy said.
“A portion of the BASF campus was deeded to Buncombe County for what is now AB Tech’s Enka campus.” …
“A greenway path would run along the south side of Hominy Creek. Developers would reserve at least 29 acres for open space, including some property adjoining Buncombe County Sports Park.” …
“Owners of the property are Fletcher Partners, Enka Partners of Asheville and Enka Water Control Corp. Principals involved developed the commercial portion of Biltmore Lake,” Murphy said.
“Asheville’s Technical Review Committee discussed the proposal Tuesday but delayed any action to allow more time to review a traffic study and get more information on other issues.
“It is tentatively scheduled to be considered by the city Planning and Zoning Commission on Aug. 19.”