Asheville’s big dig

If you’ve ventured downtown in recent weeks, you may have noticed that hardhats are now as common a sight as dreadlocks. With a major street-and-water-line renovation under way, arteries such as Haywood Road and College Street have seen their fair share of dust and disruption. And if the din of jackhammers and dump trucks isn’t your cup of tea, these infrastructure updates might just push you to seek out the relative peace and tranquility of, say, Tunnel Road.

But if you thrive on the rumble and clatter of construction (and you know who you are), the city of Asheville has just unveiled a plan that should sate your cacophonous cravings. At a Feb. 6 public meeting, City Engineer Cathy Ball presented the city’s design plan for a new parking deck adjacent to the Grove Arcade, the Battery Park Apartments, the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the Civic Center. The plan, which would require a major reconfiguration of nearby streets, calls for a three- to four-story, 650-space parking lot with attached retail spaces and a mixed-use structure incorporating retail, office space and residential units. A traffic circle would also be included to keep the vehicles moving.

If Council approves the plan, said Ball, developers will then be asked to submit proposals. She also indicated that the city is still negotiating to acquire all of the needed property, adding that “we expect to start construction in the fall.”

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