At City Council’s Nov. 13 budget work session, four department directors spoke about their troubles with obtaining bids on service and construction contracts, recruiting qualified employees and retaining current staff. Burgeoning activity in other parts of the economy, they said, had created stiff competition for workers.
A Vegas-based developer wants to build a resort in the mountains outside Asheville. To do so, he would need commissioners to amend Buncombe County’s zoning ordinance. Staff in the county planning department have recommended that commissioners reject the changes.
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority announced its 2018 tourism product development funding grant awards, to the tune of nearly $10 million. Trained staff are standing by to assist with Affordable Care Act enrollment through Saturday, Dec. 15, and residents can learn more about plans to widen Sweeten Creek Road in South Asheville at a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
From a career expo to an annual event that honors women business leaders, there’s a lot going on in the Asheville business world this fall.
The new facility’s planned retirement is in 2059 — 17 years after Buncombe County government’s 2042 goal of transitioning all homes and businesses to completely renewable energy. Jason Walls, Duke Energy district manager, said his company is committed to helping local governments achieve their goals but that the new plant’s construction is based on forecasts of growing energy needs.
In place of its current small business and retail tenants, the Flatiron Building could play host to overnight guests as an 80-room hotel. Owner Russell Thomas and Charleston, S.C.-based developer Philip Woollcott say lodging use is the only business model able to support extensive needed renovations to the historic structure.
Returning for its second year, Hatch This combines techie business tropes including an accelerator, a hackathon and, of course, a party. The event takes place Friday-Sunday, Nov. 2-4. Participants will compete for $20,000 in prizes, including a $5,000 seed funding package. Also: who’s on the job, a state program to match federal business grants.
“It’s like the playing field that everyone’s playing on — that the economy’s playing on, that companies are playing on, that the government’s playing on — that playing field is starting to erode,” says Josh Dorfman, CEO of The Collider in downtown Asheville. “I think there’s more on the line than many people understand.”
Woman-owned businesses are the norm in Weaverville’s downtown district, a bustling hamlet that puts the lie to the notion of small towns as sleepy places where nothing much ever happens.
The Asheville city budget for fiscal year 2018-19 includes contains money to hire two new staffers, a security coordinator and technical support technician. Jonathan Feldman, city chief information officer, says Asheville’s IT department finds itself squeezed between increasing internal demand for digital work and “mushrooming” external security threats.
Canadian Haakon Industries announced plans to locate a manufacturing facility to build air handling units at Enka Commerce Park. The company says it will employ up to 160 workers within the first five years of operation in Enka. For the fourth time, Montreat College will host a cybersecurity conference.
Roughly 1,600 new hotel rooms have opened in Buncombe County since late 2015 — an increase of approximately 15 percent over that period — with 1,900 still planned. “Since the start of this construction cycle, we’ve been able to fully absorb a pretty enormous supply,” said Explore Asheville President and CEO Stephanie Pace Brown. “We just need to do that over again in the next three or four years.”
Hotelier John McKibbon predicts the massive 18-story project, which is filling the empty shell of the former BB&T building on Pack Square, will be complete by the end of March next year.
Firestorm Books & Coffee and The Steady Collective announced that they had formally appealed their notices of violation on Sept. 17. The appeals will likely be considered at the next meeting of the city’s Board of Adjustment, which takes place on Monday, Oct. 22. If the board rejects the appeals, the groups face civil penalties of $100 for every day they remain out of zoning compliance.
Three businesses — a float spa, a distillery and cocktail salon, and an immersive art experience — will seek the support of non-accredited investors (that is, regular people), who can purchase equity stakes in companies through crowdfunding campaigns at an event on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Learn more about B-corps, a local business awards program, local movers and shakers and data on Asheville’s economic indicators in our business news in brief from the issue of Sept. 12, 2018.
About 80 residents gathered to discuss 95 Broadway Hotel & Condos, a seven-story development of 30 guest rooms, 25 parking spots and seven condos proposed by property owner Victor Foo. Not a single attendee spoke in favor of the project, with criticisms ranging from practical concerns over parking to philosophical worries over the ongoing gentrification of Asheville.
Slated to open on Saturday, Sept. 1., the lot will offer 100 new spaces with 24/7 access at $70 per month. Dana Frankel, downtown development specialist with the city, notes that there is currently interest in over 80 of the 100 available spaces.
Meadows noted that Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long’s letter on Aug. 20 denying Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a federal disaster declaration was likely the final word on the matter. “I think that decision has been made,” he said. “Obviously, that’s a decision that they didn’t feel met the threshold [for supplemental federal assistance].”
Garden Party, a new retail store, will host its grand opening Thursday, Aug. 30 in the former location of The Drygoods Shop at 474 Haywood Road in West Asheville. Several Asheville lawyers were named among the nation’s best, while
Ecosia.org, a search engine that uses all of its profits to plant trees, has selected Asheville as the home base for its United States representative.