Local development group Public Interest Projects is hoping to build 32 apartments and a new commercial space at 56 S. Lexington Avenue, a downtown property behind the Aloft Asheville Hotel.
Asheville City Council will consider the proposal Tuesday, Sept. 23.
To help make the project happen, Public Interest Projects is requesting that the city spend an estimated $250,000 to bury power lines at the site. In exchange, the developer would agree to keep the housing units at “workforce” levels. Based on the city’s rules for “workforce housing,” that translates to a maximum rent of $1,267 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and up to $1,418 for a two-bedroom.
A commercial space would also be constructed along the street, but the city resolution includes no details on that aspect of the project.
Public Interest Projects has had the option of building at the site since it entered into a controversial agreement with the city in 2011 to partner with McKibbon Hotel Group, which built the adjacent Aloft Hotel and parking deck. Since the Aloft opened in 2013, it’s sizable back wall has presented a blank facade along S. Lexington.
The city has considered installing a public art project at the site, at an estimated initial cost of $100,000 and an additional $50,000 in maintenance over 10 years. Taking into account the savings by not implementing that public art project, city staff estimate the new housing project will generate enough property tax revenue to recoup the remainder of the $250,000 in power line expenses within eight years.
In other business, Asheville City Council will also consider an update on its graffiti remediation efforts, a rezoning request at 21 Jefferson Drive, and a property transfer to the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, in room 209 of City Hall. Read the meeting agenda here.