Another done deal

As a downtown Asheville resident who has been involved with issues of development and “infill” projects from the beginning, I want to be clear about what I am for and what I am against.

I am for good paying jobs for working people. I am for increased business for our local merchants. I am for Asheville developing into a world-class small city. Development that fulfills these needs, I applaud.

That said, I want it known I am not for how deals seem to be made and the public included only as window dressing on what seems to be done deals. I am against infill high-rise projects that detract from the charm and beauty of our city — as a specific example, Aloft Hotel — that, rather than add uniqueness and charm, stand as an eye-sore of mediocre design and materials, marring the quaintness of south Biltmore Avenue.

I am against big-money developers believing they can have their way with Asheville by dangling money in front of our city officials. Downtown space has value that is almost incalculable. We are a sellers' market. The city and the people of Asheville deserve better than what has happened with development in the past. Currently, our city property facing the Basilica seems to have been the latest “done deal” that went for too little money to the same developer who built Aloft or, if you prefer, the Neon Sparkler.

Paraphrasing Mayor Bellamy from the Sept. 11 Council hearing/meeting before Council’s final vote concerning the property facing the Basilica, “I don’t like the way this deal was done. Over the years, we did not give the public enough information and voice through the decision process.”  We deserve better.

— Joe Cobble
Asheville

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3 thoughts on “Another done deal

  1. Stephen Lange

    When I first visited Asheville, I didn’t pay any attention to the buildings. I thought the giant cardboard box that dominated the skyline could’ve been spruced up but I wasn’t here for an architecture tour or a business seminar, I came here to work for a professional artist. He wanted help turning a giant space in the RAD into a workable studio. Then I discovered the food, the music and as an avid cyclist, the terrain was literally breathtaking. I have never stayed in a single hotel in Asheville. I live in West Asheville and my studio is in the RAD. My collectors come from all over the east coast, the country and the world. They don’t mention the architecture or the locals much. We talk about art, music, food and how lucky I am to live here. That’s the big picture here. See the mountains past the buildings and realize that this town is too lovely to keep all to ourselves.

  2. indy499

    Hardly. Cities are vibrant, evolving creatures. Good ones have a mix of styles that join the landscape over time. Some styles last ans some don’t.

    The properties that became Aloft and will become the new hotel were decades old eyesores. Glad for the new additions.

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