Requiem for a motel sign

A dubious beacon for years, the Interstate Motel sign is now gone from Asheville’s skyline. But developer Tony Cecil says the sign will live on in a new form.

Signing off: The Interstate Motel sign, long a fixture next to I-240, has been taken down. But parts of it will have a future yet … photo by Mariah Grant

On Aug. 4, nostalgic onlookers watched as Cecil and friends removed the letters and yellow neon for use in a future art project.

“It’s really cool,” Cecil says about the salvaged vintage material. “It shall live on.”

As well known for its campy style as for its notorious past, the sign formerly advertised an establishment known for harboring prostitution and drug activity. But once Cecil and associates converted the motel building into condominiums, the sign ran afoul of the city code. The developer now plans build additional units on the site, which abuts Interstate 240.

Cecil and several local artists are collaborating on an art installation that will incorporate the sign’s better features. “It was good to have the interest that we did about it,” he says, adding, “Of course, it had a rather naughty reputation.”

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