Deschutes spurns Asheville’s courtship, Gantt explains next steps for property Buncombe is left holding

Courtesy of Henderson County

Oregon’s largest brewery, Deschutes, chose Roanoke Virginia to be its new east-coast distribution base instead of Buncombe County, despite a fervent effort from the county’s governing body to woo the company. The project was slated to be on a similar, if smaller, scale from the massive and just finishing up River Arts District, New Belgium Brewing facility. Last year, County Commission Chairman David Gantt led the charge to purchase a large swathe of land from Henderson County as part of a serious negotiation to locate the Decheutes brewery and distribution center in south Buncombe.

Deschutes led several cities across the southeast in a chase, including Greenville and Charleston, SC. But the final cut seemed to be down to Asheville and Roanoke, Va. Today, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Deschutes executives announced that the brewery had made its choice and would be locating at a business park near a golf course.

Roanoke previously had pursued Sierra Nevada and Stone, but was unsuccessful on both attempts. At last partly through a public outpouring of community support and thirst for the project the central Va. city has gained a well respected large craft brewery.

So, for now, it seems Asheville has to settle for the outstanding collection of local and national breweries already assembled in the area.

Chairmain Gantt released a set of comments today congratulating Roanoke. Unsurprisingly, as losing the battle for first place is always a little heartbreaking to those with a vested interest, he wrote with a disheartened yet determined tone on the next steps for the Ferry Rd. property acquired with Deschutes in mind as a buyer. He gave some history on the reasoning and intentions for the buy as well as some thoughts on next steps saying, “My belief that the purchase was a good move for Buncombe County remains in place despite the disappointing decision by Deschutes. The Ferry Road property is one of the last large parcels suitable for economic development left in our County. Buncombe County essentially bought and now owns a prime piece of developable land for half price. We will be good stewards of the land and make sure the group that buys the property from us fulfills our policy of job creation and economic progress while honoring all environmental requirements on the land.”

Gantt’s full comments:

At our April 7, 2015 meeting, the majority of the Buncombe County Commission voted to purchase the Ferry Road property from Henderson County for a total of $6.8 million with a net $3.4 million cost. Pertinent parts of the Resolution approving the purchase read:


….WHEREAS, Buncombe County has been working with a potential economic development partner which is considering expanding its operations into Buncombe County and this project requires a large tract with nearby highway access; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with NCGS §158-7.1, a county may acquire, assemble, and hold for resale property that is suitable for industrial or commercial use; and
WHEREAS, Henderson County is the owner of that certain tract or parcel of land containing 137.21 acres…
WHEREAS, the property recently appraised for $6,815,000 and Buncombe County has made an offer in the amount of the appraised value and Henderson County has accepted this offer; and
WHEREAS, Buncombe County proposes to appropriate and spend from its general fund $6,815,000 to acquire the fee simple interest in this property; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with an Inter-Local Agreement between Henderson County and the City of Asheville the net cost to Buncombe County will be $3,407,500;

The intent of the purchase was to continue our recruiting efforts to become the East Coast brewery and distribution center for Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon. We have been in very intense negotiations with them for several months and understood that the Ferry Road site enabled us to continue in the quest for the relocation site. The April 7, 2015 Commission meeting minutes note the following:

Chairman Gantt said that this was a five way win—the transaction could bring more jobs and another good company to the County; if the company goes somewhere else, the County could keep the property that could be sold; the County gets money toward the public safety facility; the County resolves a decades old dispute between Henderson and the City of Asheville.
On October 6, 2015, the Commission considered a resolution that directed the Manager to solicit bids to sell the Ferry Road property. This Resolution was withdrawn from consideration by Commissioner DeBruhl based on “new information” received by a 7- 0 vote.
With the recent announcement by Deschutes to create an East Coast distribution facility in Roanoke, VA, our Plan A for the property is eliminated. We must move on the Plan B, which involves both (1) continuing to show the property to get a strong business in the site to fulfill our commitment to use the property to create jobs and more economic benefit for the taxpayers who now own the site AND (2) considering a direct sale of this property.

My belief that the purchase was a good move for Buncombe County remains in place despite the disappointing decision by Deschutes. The Ferry Road property is one of the last large parcels suitable for economic development left in our County. Buncombe County essentially bought and now owns a prime piece of developable land for half price. We will be good stewards of the land and make sure the group that buys the property from us fulfills our policy of job creation and economic progress while honoring all environmental requirements on the land.

The lesson from Deschutes’ decision has been preached by economic specialists for years. A unified community can land economic prospects they never should have been able to secure, while a divided community will lose prospects they should have gotten.

Buncombe County congratulates Roanoke on this announcement and wishes the best success and prosperity for the Deschutes facility in that community.

David Gantt
Chairman of Buncombe County Commission

About Able Allen
Able studied political science and history at Warren Wilson College. He enjoys travel, dance, games, theater, blacksmithing and the great outdoors. Follow me @AbleLAllen

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32 thoughts on “Deschutes spurns Asheville’s courtship, Gantt explains next steps for property Buncombe is left holding

    • The Real World

      Asheville was pretty much a worn-down dump 15 years ago. So………..

      Their acquisition of Deschutes could be a catalyst for a renaissance.

      You could be congratulatory and charitable, you know. It’s always an option.

      • Roanoke person once

        nope. pretty much a dump, lots of white trash. hope they make cheap watery beer for the locals.

        • The Real World

          Well, looky there…..a person who can predict the future.

          Pls look into your crystal ball and tell me where the S & P 500 will be in 6 months or the price of gold — either will do. Thanks much.

        • Yep

          Glad they moved on up the way to Roanoke, which is an equally beautiful area and we just DO NOT NEED anymore breweries…glad David Gantt gets bad publicity on this property
          mistake. County had NO business in this crony deal, but we are run by corrupt and criminal democrackkks here 24/7… glad Gantt will be gone soon with Miranda Debruhl in place!
          Oh, and I cannot think of anywhere else with more white AND black trash as is right here in WNC…and pathetically ignorant too. I’m amazed daily by the regional ignorance and entitlement mentality.

          • NFB

            You should change your screen name from Yep to Yap, as in yap, yap, yap. Same thing over and over and over and over…

        • OMG this guy can’t be serious. Roanoke has to be the most disgusting city I have ever visited. You guys need all the help you can get.

    • Big Al

      I drove through Roanoke a few years back on my way to D.C. and it does looks pretty pitiful.

      Still, I will not lose a single tear over not getting YET ANOTHR FREAKING BREWERY in Asheville. We already have streets full of drunks, trash, piss and puke thanks to the overflow of existing breweries.

  1. Love it here

    I congratulate Roanoke on their “score” and wish them the best.
    As for the negative commenters…you know that no one is forcing you to stay here, right? If you don’t like the incredible economic impact that the breweries and tourism from them have brought to this once dilapidated and ignored town then perhaps you should go find another of the many towns that are still struggling and tell them how awful it was to live somewhere that has seen a such a tremendous renaissance.

    • Phil McCrevis

      When is it enough, though? When every tree has been bulldozed? When every mountain is littered by houses? When every mountain view is obstructed by a high-rise building? When does it stop being Asheville and start being Charlotte?

      • NFB

        I guess it stops being Asheville and starts being Charlotte when enough people decide to do what we have all done — live here.

  2. Love it here

    Well Phil. I’d love to fill your crevice with real knowledge, but alas it’s seems your in 4th grade from your nom de plume. Let’s leave this discussion to the adults that are old enough to vote for the leadership to keep the Charlotte effect from occurring here. Mmmmkaaay?

      • Love it here

        Actually I have. I am a native of Asheville, 41 years. I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I wanted my hometown to be. And frankly I’m pleased. There will always be someone who is not happy with something that is happening. But given the choice of a boarded up town where the is no industry and no future, or (somewhat intelligent) growth and a bright future for those of us who embrace positive change and accept that this town has, and will continue to thrive? I’ll take the latter. Like the flag waving, strong willed “‘mericans” say “love it or leave it”. And I encourage you, Phil, to do the same.

        • Phil McCrevis

          I don’t think that limiting the growth will lead to a boarded-up town with no industry or no future.

          My original point is that, unchecked, Asheville will no longer be distinguishable from any other city. Its eclecticness is what attracted me — and, I suspect others — to the area. It was the local businesses, the passable roads, and, the many trees and mountain views.

          Now, many local businesses are being edged-out, the traffic is quite bad, and more trees are being cut-down as high-rises go up and block the mountain views. So, why continue to try and lure even more people and businesses to the area? What’s the goal? Do we pave every square inch within a 10-mile radius of downtown?

          Does Asheville need yet another Walmart, another Best Buy, another Whole Foods, another brewery? I won’t even start on the Asheville Outlets.

          I’m fortunate. I work from home, make a generous income, and can live anywhere. I’m a renter. But, in speaking to neighbors that have been in Asheville for at least a decade and are still in the workforce, they continue to see prices go up while their incomes either barely increase or remain flat. Others have been forced to the outskirts of the city, due to the increases in rent. I don’t think I’m the only one squawking about throttling growth. We haven’t even discussed the low wages.

          Over the past 30+ years, I’ve lived in many cities and states and have seen similar events unfold. It’s just sad to me, I guess. Eventually, there will be a point of no return. I was just hoping that Asheville would curb its growth and retain its soul. After all these years, I should probably know better.

          So, I’m glad you see “a bright future,” “embrace positive change,” and believe that Asheville will “continue to thrive.” I hope you’re right. As for your invitation for me to hit the trail, that time is probably coming. I was hoping Asheville would be my ‘forever home,’ but I’m not sure. We’ll see how it goes.

          • Hauntedheadnc

            Two things:

            First, if you moved here from somewhere else, you have no room to badmouth others for doing the exact same thing you did. Nothing is more annoying than transplants complaining about themselves, in other words.

            Second, if you think prices are high now, exactly what do you think will happen if efforts are made to slow growth? Precious commodities only become more so when the supply is restricted. Restricting growth here would lead to a situation akin to what you find in Jackon Hole, WY, where “grntrification” means the billionaires pushing out the millionaires.

          • Phil McCrevis

            To: Hauntedheadnc (From below. Sorry, I couldn’t reply directly to you.)

            I’m not saying people shouldn’t move to Asheville. If that’s how my post was perceived, I apologize. If folks like the area and can find a job that supports them, that’s great.

            Believe it or not, some people have become so enamored with Asheville they moved here without a job. While I can’t understand it, I’ve seen it for myself. I think they fell in love with the IDEA of Asheville. Later, of course, the reality sets in that the job market here is pretty tough.

            Anyway, your solution to making things more affordable is to keep expanding? How much and for how long? Until Asheville is the size of Atlanta? Dallas? Seattle? What has unbridled growth gotten those cities? Are they better off with all the traffic, pollution, malls, movie theaters, chain restaurants, and such? In checking the new (and, soon-to-be-completed) apartment mega-complexes, the prices aren’t coming down. They’re going up.

            Is the idea to lure more businesses here…to lure more people here…to lure more people here…to lure more people here…ad infinitum?

            This was my original concern: That endless growth — whether another brewery or another Walmart — will turn Asheville into a city that looks like any other.

            In closing, your points and those of “Love it here” are well-taken. I’m not trying to win a debate. This is just a conversation. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve come to care about this city. Of course, it’s the people that makes the city great and weird at the same time. I just hope that spirit isn’t lost, whether I’m still here or not.

            Be well.

          • The Real World

            @Phil McCrevis – don’t let some of these crotchety types bother you. Your points are very valid. I moved here from a very big city (Atlanta) a few years ago and have a better sense of what you’re driving at than those who have lived here for decades and are only recently experiencing significant transformation.

            My intent is to stay planted here til I push up daisies but, I’ll tell you this, if this town does lose a predominance of locally-owned businesses, and goes to mostly chains, I’m gone! Both Atlanta and Charlotte are, overall, pretty bland places and in large part b/c they are over-run with chains of every kind and clogged streets.

            And, yes, I’ve met people also who moved here having spent a grand total of 4 to 6 days in AVL. Astonishing! For some, jobs wasn’t an issue but a few have commented after 6 to 12 months of being here, after all the bustle of moving was over, that they’re a little amazed that they made the move having spent so little time here first. Met a lady last week who is thinking about moving to AVL from Boulder, Co. I didn’t what to rain on her parade but wished I could have said, “Really? And exactly how much difference is there between the 2 towns? Not much!” (And, in Boulder you’re only 30 minutes from all the Denver action too.) Good grief.

            Lastly, to all of you natives or long-timers with a bad attitude — there is no such thing as tenure here or anywhere. You do not have more rights, status, etc. just because you’ve lived here a good while. Nope, the law recognizes us all the same, my tax dollars are as green as yours and I’m more neighborly to boot. So, get over your provincialism.

          • Phil McCrevis

            @The Real World: I greatly appreciate your thoughtful note. Thank you.

            Perhaps I didn’t do a good job trying to express my original concerns. However, you really seem to get the points I was trying to make. Similarly, I could easily identify with what you wrote. I’d like to stay, too. But, like you, if chains mostly/completely replace locally-owned businesses, that’ll be it for me.

            As for the lady moving from Boulder to Asheville…good grief, indeed!

            Take care.

            p.s. If you ever get those projections of where the S&P 500 or the price of gold will be in six months, please let me know!

          • hauntedheadnc

            Phil McCrevis — My actual solution to affordability is to mandate it, because developers won’t offer it unless they’re forced to — not if they can make more money selling golf course mansions to Floridians and Atlantans. My solution also involves efficient use of the land we’ve got. I mean, how much housing could you fit onto all those parking lots taking up space downtown? How many more people could you accommodate with an approach that allowed growth without traffic because people could walk or take transit to their jobs and schools, and the places where they play?

            My solution, in short, is to encourage growth, and to encourage the right kind of growth that builds a city up rather than melts it out in a puddle of sprawl. Thing is, modern America is so used to crap that we can’t imagine building good communities the way we used to, even the evidence — Montford, West Asheville, downtown — is still there right in front of our eyes, and the very reason that people come here and spend their money. Tourists come here because Asheville is a good city in a nation of crap. There is no reason whatsoever why we can’t build modern communities to be as nice and functional as the old ones.

            Now, as for who decides how large we get… That’s up to the people moving here. You have no say and neither do I. They’re as free to come here as you were, and my point is that Asheville was not made perfect at long last by your arrival. You were not the final brick in the wall that made us complete, and as a native and knowing that, it gets on every native’s last nerve to hear people complain about the very thing that brought them here too. You cannot move somewhere and complain about the growth when you yourself are the growth you hate.

          • hauntedheadnc

            The Real World — It’s not “bad attitude” to point out the truth of how if you move somewhere you lose your right to then complain about others doing the exact same thing. It is not “provincialism” to point out that you did not perfect this city with your arrival.

            However, if you have ideas for how we can grow in a better way, or good ideas to share about how things were done back wherever you came from then by all means… share. Enrich us and enrich the community you have chosen to make your home. We want to know how to accommodate you, and also to accommodate everyone following you here.

          • Phil McCrevis


            “Asheville was not made perfect at long last by your arrival. You were not the final brick in the wall that made us complete…”

            I’m starting to think that you don’t want to be best friends.


            This medium is problematic. I think we believe a lot of the same things, actually. I like some of the ideas you expressed. You seem very agitated over the matter and for that I'm sorry. You're a "native" and I'm not. Okay, I get it. I wasn't trying to claim any special privilege or exemption.

            This will be my final post, so thanks for your feedback. Be well.

  3. Yep

    further, I predict in a few years people will be sick of New Belgium being so close to downtown and just LOOK at what Asheville will be STUCK with…people will NOT want to
    live close to this oversized elephant dividing the town…just my prediction…

    • Hauntedheadnc

      Funny how people had no problem with industries being so close to downtown back when the River District was an actual industrial district.

      • Lulz

        LOL, but the area was small and those industries provided a good living. Funny how we went from Gerber and Ball to Gerber Village with it very low wage jobs. But the idiot pushing to rid those two high paying manufacturers way back when was no other than Gordon Smith. The coward that runs when people ask questions.

        • hauntedheadnc

          And New Belgium won’t provide a good living?

          I hope you realize how obvious it is what Mr. Caudle and you are doing. There is nothing that the city of Asheville could do that would please you, even if they were to follow your manifesto to the letter, up to and including (probably) lining the homeless up and summarily executing them. If Asheville does it or is for it, you and yours are agin’ it. Period.

          It just gets really old after a while, especially considering how obvious it is.

  4. Records reveal Deschutes dropped Asheville months ago
    County leaders knew before Thanksgiving that Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery wasn’t coming to Asheville, according to internal records obtained by News 13. But for months, they declined to discuss the project or said an official decision had not been made. On Wednesday, they said they did not know the deal was officially off until this week – when the company selected Roanoke for its new East Cost operation.

    • Yep

      the ruling class LIES when they want to … evil people like david gantt and brownie newman …

      • Lulz

        Of course they do. The useful idiots cackle on about global warming yet don’t mention that China and India are on par to build over 500 coal fired energy plants LOL. It’s like the want us to die.

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