Community members start petition to prevent Flatiron hotel conversion

Flatiron building
UNDER THE WIRE: the historic Flatiron Building was the last hotel proposal to be approved by members of Asheville City Council before they implemented a year-long hotel moratorium. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Petition from Kathy Wienberg:

The 93-year-old Flatiron Building currently houses more than 70 small businesses and organizations. On May 14, Asheville City Council will meet and vote on whether or not to convert the Flatiron into a hotel and displace all the businesses there.

On April 8, Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-2 to move the luxury hotel project forward. The City Council is the final body that will vote on this project.

Asheville does not need another hotel

There are already ten hotels within a half of a mile, two of which are across the street from the Flatiron Building. The new luxury hotel would also fail to provide parking. More importantly, it would eliminate more than 40 parking spaces from Battery Park Ave, Wall St, and a parking structure, which the hotel plans to use for valet parking, on Coxe Avenue and Sears Alley.

The massive Arras Hotel is currently being built on Patten Avenue. Besides the Arras hotel, there are 3 more hotels approved by City Council. One is on the corner of Merrimon Ave and the I-240 exit, another is on Biltmore Ave near Hilliard Ave, and the last is just west of Beaucatcher Tunnel. How many more hotels can Asheville possibly sustain?

Even before the Arras Hotel and other hotels are complete and fighting for guests, the current hotels in Downtown Asheville are often unable to book their rooms from Sunday night to Wednesday night, with tourists mainly interested in Downtown Asheville from Thursday night until Sunday morning. Another hotel would undoubtedly face the same problem.

Who benefits? Not the people of Asheville

Because of all the recent hotels, Asheville has a shortage of places for residents to live and a shortage of office space for small businesses.

While many in Asheville will be harmed by a new hotel in the Flatiron Building, the landlord and hotelier stand to make millions from the deal, with the landlord seeking at least $16 million. In return, the hotel would offer jobs that pay locals badly, and would do nothing to offer affordable housing to Ashevilleans.

The landlord and his company claim that converting the historic Flatiron Building into a hotel is the only way to save it. There is no reason that it could be converted into a hotel, but not into condos or apartments. Asheville needs more places for people to live and more small office spaces.

Take Action!

It is not to late to protect Downtown Asheville and the Flatiron Building. Write to the members of City Council and let them know that you object to another downtown hotel. In the next election, vote against any member who approves changing the Flatiron Building into a hotel.

Mayor Esther Manheimer: esthermanheimer@avlcouncil.com

Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler: gwenwisler@avlcouncil.com

Councilman Brian Haynes: brianhaynes@avlcouncil.com

Councilman Vijay Kapoor: vijaykapoor@avlcouncil.com

Councilwoman Julie Mayfield: juliemayfield@avlcouncil.com

Councilwoman Sheneika Smith: sheneikasmith@avlcouncil.com

Councilman Keith Young: keithyoung@avlcouncil.com

Attend City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, May 14, when they will vote on whether or not to convert the Flatiron Building into another hotel. The meeting takes place at 5 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall. Voice your opposition to City Council approving another hotel at the expense of the citizens of Asheville.

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