The Foundry Hotel wins adaptive reuse award

The Foundry Hotel
The Christman Company’s Knoxville office has earned a historic preservation award for the Foundry Hotel, a boutique luxury property in Asheville, North Carolina. The award was presented by The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County during a ceremony held May 23. Photo by Bruce McCamish

Press release from The Christman Company:

The Christman Company’s Knoxville office has earned a historic preservation award for the Foundry Hotel, which, once slated for demolition of its century-old buildings, instead was transformed into a boutique luxury hotel in Asheville.

The Foundry Hotel earned a Griffin Award for adaptive reuse from The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County (PSABC) during a ceremony held May 23. The Griffin Awards honor outstanding projects and individuals that further the goals of historic preservation in Asheville and Buncombe County. The adaptive reuse category, according to PSABC, “recognizes efforts to sensitively alter historic places to allow for a new use.”

This project was particularly gratifying because of the historic buildings we were able to help save,” said Marty Gibbs, vice president and general manager for Christman’s Knoxville operations. “We worked closely with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office to make sure we followed its mission to promote the preservation and reuse of historic architecture. The neighborhood is undergoing revitalization efforts, and we are honored to be a part of its resurgence.”

Positioned in Asheville’s historically black business district, an area known as “The Block,” the 87-room hotel, located at 51 S. Market St., opened in November of 2018. The $24 million project saved three buildings and added two structures. Once the home of The Asheville Supply and Foundry Co., the three buildings had been vacant for more than 40 years and had fallen into significant disrepair. The city’s original steel mill, the foundry had manufactured steel for the Biltmore Estate.

The project maintained the brick facade and large windows of its predecessor, and the old name of the company remains visible on an exterior wall. A large manicured lawn and landscaping guided by The North Carolina Arboretum also offers fire pits and rocking chairs. The interior spaces feature exposed beams, restored hardwood floors and the original pulley elevator and other steel company artifacts on display.

The 80,258-square-foot hotel, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, includes a 100-seat restaurant called Benne on Eagle run by James Beard-nominated Chef John Fleer, who worked for 14 years at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. The restaurant offers authentic soul food and pays homage to the culinary impact of African Americans to Appalachian and Southern cuisine.

Studio Z Architecture of Charlotte, North Carolina, was the project’s architect. The property is owned by Encore Lodging and managed by Charlestowne Hotels.

The Christman Company offers a specialization in historic preservation projects. In Knoxville, the company earned a “Fantastic Fifteen” award from Knox Heritage in 2017 and an Award of Distinction from the East Tennessee Historical Society in 2018 for its restoration of the University of Tennessee’s historic Cowan Cottage in Fort Sanders.

In Greensboro, North Carolina, the company earned a Carolinas Association of General Contractors award for redeveloping the 124-year-old Cascade Saloon as its regional office, now known as the Christman Cascade Building.

The Christman Company also has been chosen as a construction contractor by the Ford Motor Co. for the renovation of the 105-year-old Michigan Central Station, which has been vacant and exposed to the elements after closing in 1988. Located in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, 1.2-million-square-foot project is the centerpiece of the Dearborn-based automaker’s planned campus around Michigan Avenue.

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