Construction on Urban Outfitters store moves ahead

Construction on the new Urban Outfitters store in downtown Asheville is moving ahead on schedule, with the retailer planning on being open for the holiday shopping season.

Urban news: Construction crews are still working on the demolition phase of the new Urban Outfitters planned for downtown Asheville. The retailer plans to be open for this year's holiday shopping season. Photo by Jason Sandford

"The building permit is in place. They're starting to chip away at the facade, and they're on a very strict timeline," says Kristie Quinn. A partner in Boone Associates, an Asheville-based real-estate and development company, Quinn is a local spokeswoman for the project.

Store officials announced in July that they'd struck a deal to open a store in the former CVS drugstore building at the corner of Haywood and College streets. The two-story, 8,000-square-foot store will feature a central staircase, large windows and merchandise tailored to the Asheville market, store officials told the Asheville Downtown Commission this past summer.

Quinn says construction is still in the demolition phase. The plan is to remove the stucco covering the building's original brick, she says.

"Typically, Urban Outfitters likes to clear everything out and have a shell," she says. "They'll add some lights and wiring" and a few other touches, Quinn says, but "they like to keep it real simple."

During construction, the sidewalk in front of the store will remain closed, Quinn says. One or two lanes of traffic on College Street will also be closed at points during construction.

Quinn says Urban Outfitters has also decided not to ask for a variance from the city for the sign it plans to paint on the back of the building. The store brought a proposal before the commission, got feedback, and decided to go with a design that complies with all city ordinances, Quinn says.

"They call it a whitewash effect, where you can see that the sign looks extremely weathered, where you can see writing used to be there. It will imply that it's been there a really long time," Quinn says.

Urban Outfitters sells everything from men's and women's clothing to accessories, novelties, books and rugs. Urban Outfitters is a publicly traded company that also owns the Anthropologie and Free People clothing stores, and Terrain, which sells home-and-garden products. Urban Outfitters specializes in the adaptive rehabilitation of older buildings for its stores. It's headquartered in restored buildings in an old U.S. Navy yard in Philadelphia.



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15 thoughts on “Construction on Urban Outfitters store moves ahead

  1. jeff

    With just one pole holding up the whole front corner of the second story, it looks like it’s about to fall into the intersection.

    I do like the look of the brick where they took some of the stucco off the College Street side. Interesting stuff. I think it’s going to look pretty cool.

  2. Carrie

    I am interested to see how this changes downtown shopping in other clothing stores. Since Asheville is becoming a bigger college city and tourist attraction I feel the change is inevitable. The GAP or J.Crew is probably next.

  3. Art

    Well, let’s see…there is a Gap at the mall and a
    J Crew down in the Biltmore Village. Keep guessing Carrie. Downtown doesn’t NEED more of that crap. It needs original, fresh ideas and stores. It kinda sucks there isn’t a place to get condoms, antacids, a travel toothbrush when you’re on the run downtown.
    Oh wait…used to be a CVS there. How ironic.

  4. orulz

    Art, what about Asheville Discount Pharmacy right across the street? Never tried to buy condoms etc there, but I would assume, being a pharmacy, that they carry that sort of stuff.

    Certainly there are some things that you might have to head out to the Ingles on Tunnel Road or the CVS at Westgate to buy now, though, but I might say losing the CVS is worth it for the de-uglification of the building alone.

  5. buy local!

    Unfortunately, Urban Outfitters sells cheaply made junk from China and every third world country it can exploit. You can buy the same junk at WalMart if that’s what you’re into. Or, you can pay a higher price for the same junk and get glitzy marketing at UO.

    Remember when some of the best clothing was made right here? It still is. Buy local!

  6. DJ Position

    don’t hate we need stimulus in downtown how can you even compare j crew and gap to UO how narrow minded can you be. Hey lets keep asheville small. Hipster are not the future, showing respect gets you respect!

  7. entopticon

    Don’t worry too much. There are still 6,900 more CVS’s out there for you that are upset to see it go. For better or worse, UO, with a comparatively miniscule 140 stores seems to be doing a pretty good job restoring the former eyesore that CVS inhabited. UO actually has a pretty good track record of restoring neglected buildings.

    By all means, support local shops and designers. I do. Buy one of Brooke Priddy’s beautiful dresses (she made a gorgeous wedding dress for my wife) and buy some of Maya Hubbel an Alanna Hubbard’s cool and creative up-cycled clothing, and pick up some of Elise Olson’s awesome lingerie. And encourage UO to work with local designers.

  8. tacostacos

    “how can you even compare j crew and gap to UO?”

    are you joking? sounds like a fair comparison to me. and just because there is a j crew in biltmore and a gap on tunnel road doesn’t mean they don’t have their eyes on downtown too.

    go look at charleston’s “unique” shopping district. ours is next, unless we stay on top of things.

    also carrie, i’m not sure how asheville is becoming a bigger college town. pretty sure that the students at UNCA still make up a small percentage of the population. yes, our city is skewed towards the younger generation, but it isn’t due to college.

    (special props to entopticon to the Brooke Priddy reference!)

  9. “go look at charleston’s “unique” shopping district. ours is next, unless we stay on top of things”

    My mother in law lives on King Street and I visit there 4-5 times a year. I did an unofficial survey and it appears that the chain to local(or regional) ratio is close to 50/50. Before the major chains came in, there was actually a lot less shopping happening in that area, so to me it appears that there is a bit of a symbiosis between chain and local. UO is far superior to the CVS that was there. When bitching about Chain Stores downtown, remember all of those great buildings downtown were constructed by national franchises. I think that the local only mindset jeopardizes downtown, because a good deal of chains will move to Biltmore Park and create this generations version of the mall. Remember what malls did to downtown all over the country?

  10. killarue

    Geez, I must thank the developers of Biltmore Park for saving downtown. I don’t think that Asheville needs to relie on chain/box stores and the idea that people will stop visiting Asheville because another condom or chainy isn’t built/added is quite silly. Let us call for sustainable growth, not prostitute ourselves like so many other cities. With that said, I am not anti-box just think that Asheville’s uniqueness needs to be preserved.
    Of course, I can see how some people could feel left out with downtown focusing on local, independently owned businesses;) I would suggest that the Gap, J. Crew et al look into the Biltmore Square Mall, as I hear that their running a first year free special.

    BTW, Charleston is not Asheville, by a long stretch RE: milieu.
    BTWA, I thought the same thing when I saw that lonely pillar.

  11. “the idea that people will stop visiting Asheville because another condom or chainy isn’t built/added is quite silly.”

    Never even came close to saying that, “silly” that your form of debate is to manufacture my words. The mall killing the downtown area had nothing to do with tourism it had to do with the local people deciding to go to the mall because of it’s abundant parking and convenient hours, which is why I referred to Biltmore Park.

    “Let us call for sustainable growth, not prostitute ourselves like so many other cities.”

    who is this collective us? did “us” own the CVS building? did “us” sell it to UO? Did “us” give tax breaks to UO or some sort of incentive? if the answer to these questions
    are no then I just do not see how we prostituted ourselves like so many others cities.
    CVS was a blight on that corner, the UO appears that it will be far more attractive, to me a win. Do you think the bead store ,hip replacements, chocolate fetish, minx was going to do that extensive of a remodel, or let alone afford the building? UO did not displace a local business.

    A am all for local business and try to support them whenever I can, the quirky shops downtown are in my opinion the soul of downtown and should be preserved, that being said, mixing in chain stores may actually drive more traffic to the local stores. I of course am not advocating any big box stores downtown, and I do not know of anyone that is, that would be “silly”

    “People live on King Street? Huh. Must be nice.”
    yes even some nuns

  12. Jason

    I have a hard time believing you can find Fred Perry, Diesel, Ben Sherman, True Religion, BDG, or Betsey Johnson at Walmart.

    Furthermore I also have a hard time believing that all the independent shops only carry locally made products.

  13. Isha

    I’ve visited Asheville once. It’s a very neat place. I absolutely love downtown areas and I’ve worked in one, where I am from, and that was the best work environment for me. It has a certain feel….I made two purchases, so very excited to have bought something from a city that is so compassionate for anything having to do with local goods & artists, since I am a creator myself…………… MY STUFF WAS MADE OUTSIDE OF THE USA. Imagine my heartbreak as I learned I was completely mislead.

    Although I do enjoy peaking through Urban Outfitters every few months, I am against them placing themselves in a downtown area that is the home of small local business. Sure, it may bring MORE people into downtown areas, but who’s to say THOSE are the type of people to buy from mom and pop shops. They (extra people coming in) want the “higher end” clothing & accessories anyway. Yes, UO does market themselves as unique & quirky which many nieve youngsters find appealing, but regardless of ploys to sell their merch, the bottom line is that they will in fact be taking away from the local business’s that have already established themselves and have been paying their rent and taxes for many many years to SURVIVE.

    It’s not fair AT ALL for a major retailer to come in, set up shop, and basically rape local business for a profit to call their own. They are going to TAKE HARD EARNED MONEY from young consumer pockets, and even their PARENTS pockets, only to be dressed in IMPORTED GOODS.

    The store should not be in the middle of downtown, and I cannot believe they are getting away with it. Think about the future of Asheville, if you let one in, they will all come flooding in, since it is a popular distination.

  14. Kspecial

    Well said Jason.

    As someone who lives here who is in the demographics of 18 to 40, I tend to avoid downtown for shopping. It is hard to find “necessities” downtown, I tend to shop there if I am looking for something different, maybe once a year. I love urban outfitters, it has clothing for all budgets,and household items. So I personally will be going more often now, which in turn will support smaller businesses. Isn’t that the point?

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