Asheville developer Stewart Coleman‘s proposal to demolish the Hayes & Hopson Building is making its way through the city’s approval process, and Coleman says the 1905 structure could be torn down before the lawsuit that’s tying up his development proposal for the site is resolved.
“We are trying to get our ducks in a row so that when the lawsuit is overturned—and it will be—we can get to work,” he told Xpress. “Demolition of that building is something that could happen before the hearing of that lawsuit.”
The red-brick building stands on one of the parcels where Coleman intends to construct the nine-story Parkside condominium tower. A small adjoining parcel—formerly part of Pack Square Park—is home to a magnolia tree that was the focus of several demonstrations and a round-the-clock watch by activists this summer.
The city’s Downtown Commission will review the demolition application on Dec. 12, but it is merely a formality and the commission’s approval is not required. Meanwhile, the city’s Planning and Development Department has already signed off on the demolition, stating in its report that “there does not appear to be a valid rationale in the UDO to disapprove this request.”
A previous demolition plan was included as part of the original Parkside project, which the city’s Technical Review Committee approved earlier this year. But that application is currently tied up due to an Aug. 28 Superior Court ruling (now being appealed) that Buncombe County’s sale of the parkland to Coleman was illegal and to unresolved issues concerning an access road for the condos.
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Xpress reader Steve Rasmussen, one of the lead activists in the campaign to stop Parkside and save the magnolia tree on that property, sent us this historic postcard of the Hayes & Hopson building. He provides this descripition: “A 1951 color postcard of the Hayes-Hopson when it was an auto-parts dealer selling “Everything Automotive” (the largest and most successful independent auto-parts retailer in the region); note the 1940s-era autos parked in front. City Councilman Jan Davis told me he remembers frequently going to the H-H as a teenager to buy parts when he worked his first tire-store job. (Source: Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077); collection guide available online at http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/pcoll/77barbour/77barbour.html”