Planned Parenthood announces new Asheville office

Planned Parenthood has secured temporary office space on Merrimon Avenue and will begin seeing patients there on Monday, officials said this afternoon.

A Feb. 17 fire burned a utility room and kitchen at Planned Parenthood’s offices on Biltmore Avenue, causing severe smoke and fire damage.

Walter Klausmeier, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Health Systems in Raleigh, held a news conference in a former chiropractic office at 388 Merrimon Ave. to deliver an update on progress since the fire.

Klausmeier said the accidental fire in an electrical system caused a small gas-furnace explosion. Patient records were protected and didn’t suffer damage, he said. Since the blaze, patients have been served over the phone, had prescriptions delivered by mail or were seen at other local health-care offices, said Lori Thornton, regional director of medical services.

Planned Parenthood, celebrating 30 years in Asheville this year, is working on cleaning up the Biltmore location while also looking at other permanent locations, Klausmeier said. The office, the only Planned Parenthood location in Western North Carolina, serves about 3,000 patients.

Klausmeier thanked fire crews that responded. He also thanked local supporters and volunteers who have come to the organization’s aid since the fire.

Anyone with questions should call the office at 252-7928.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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2 thoughts on “Planned Parenthood announces new Asheville office

  1. Alan Ditmore

    I often wonder, and have repeatedly inquired about how Planned Parenthood is effected by zoning and the infamous UDO. I know the original office was rented and I am assumming the same is true of the new one. Of course all commercial medical office rentals are priced according to the supply of and demand for office space in Asheville, and the supply is greatly restricted by the UDO zoning, So therefore Planned Parenthoods overhead, and contraception costs to 300 patients, is similarly greatly increased by Asheville zoning.
    Some of these costs might be mitigated if Planned Parenthood owned the building rather than renting, and in addition a nonprofit owner like Planned Parenthood could be exempt from Asheville property tax if they owned, but currently pay the tax as part of the rent. This triples the reasons why it would be a good idea if they were able to buy, the only threat being if the real estate bust expands to Asheville and to offices.
    But anyway, only the higher ups like the president deal with real estate costs and they don’t have much time to discuss it with the likes of me. Thus the public has little understanding of all the consequences of the UDO.

  2. marissa

    alan,
    i can’t speak for planned parenthood directly, but as a volunteer for them, i know that prior to the fire, their goal was to raise enough money to hopefully purchase the biltmore location.
    unfortunately, with the damage and time needed to fix that location, a rental was the only immediate option.

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