Matt Logan, the owner of 5 Walnut Wine Bar in downtown Asheville, has purchased a waterfront lot at 233 Riverside Drive with the intention of opening a business there. "It's about 1.8 acres between the Smoky Park Bridge and the train bridge," he says. "It's a complicated piece of property, because of the flood zone, but I've been researching it for eight months now."
Logan is currently adjusting his business plan to adhere to a long list of building codes, special permits and environmental requirements that come with developing along a river. "The plan is to use shipping containers to build a structure down there and incorporate art galleries and a small restaurant/bar as well," he says. "Ideally, I'd love to have a little 100-seat place down there, indoor-outdoor little bar, keep it casual and keep the price down — try to make it blend in with the landscape and the River Arts District."
It all depends the city’s development policies for such an area.
"By the end of the year, I'll know more about what I can and can't do, which is really going to affect the restaurant or bar that we put down there," says Logan. "At the end of the day, we still don't know if we'll be allowed to just put up a hot dog stand or if we can do an actual restaurant. The key to that property is that it's beautiful riverfront, and I'm just trying to utilize it the best I can."
"It's a risky project I've jumped into, but it's a hot area down there for many reasons — there's new things down there all the time — and the risk is part of the excitement. If I can pull it off, I can drink a local beer by the river on a bench; that's the ultimate goal."
Logan says that he hopes to be ready to open new his bar by the end of next year.