Xpress has obtained an e-mail (see below) from J. Patrick Whalen, chair of the Asheville Downtown Commission, to commission members that includes a proposal that the city swap land with developer Stewart Coleman, to relocate his proposed ParkSide building. According to the e-mail, commission members feel that the city “should be encouraged to swap property with the developer to move this building back away from the park.”
Buncombe County sold park land to Coleman last fall and he intends to build an 11-story mixed-use building on the site. A lawsuit concerning the legitimacy of the sale is pending, and the Pack Square Conservancy is currently evaluating Coleman’s plans for compliance with its mandatory guidelines.
The Conservancy will convene its first ParkSide design-review work session at noon on Monday, Oct. 22, in the fifth-floor conference room of the BB&T building. The public is invited to attend.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer
From: “J Patrick Whalen”
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 3:57 PM
Subject: Resolution to City Council regarding Parkside and Pack Square
At the Design Review subcommittee meeting today concern was expressed echoing John Roger’s comment at our last full Commission meeting about the siting of the Parkside project. It seemed to be pretty unanimously felt by the Commission members present at the subcommittee that the City should be encouraged to swap property with the developer to move this building back away from the park.
To that end and because time is of the essence, I would like you each to respond to email signifying your approval or disapproval of the following resolution.
RESOLVED that the Downtown Commission advises and urges City Council to act expeditiously, through staff, to pursue a land swap with the developer of the Parkside condominium project planned for the current Hayes and Hopson site near City Hall. It is the Commission’s recommendation that given the potential unfortunate long-term effect on the aesthetics and usability of the Pack Square Park, it would be advisable to either close and convey a portion of Marjorie Street or air rights over Marjorie Street, if necessary, to avoid inappropriate construction on the Parkside site. In its role of advising Council the Commission would stand ready to pursue, at Council’s request, an appropriate set of restrictions incorporating mandatory design standards on any conveyed property to assure that any proposed project was fully complementary to City-County Plaza and to the Park./
If the majority of the Commission expresses approval by response to this email we will present this recommendation to City Council.