In photos: Mixed-use development could replace historic Charlotte Street homes

STREET VIEW: The site renderings taken from the preliminary Charlotte and East Chestnut Master Plan shows a possible future for 6.8 acres of land at 123 Charlotte Street. Photo courtesy of the city of Asheville

As plans to redevelop 6.84 acres along North Charlotte Street into a mixed-use development move forward, residents are rallying to protect a dozen buildings from demolition. 

Preliminary documents submitted to the city of Asheville by RCG Development Group and the Killian family outline a mixed-use development at 123 Charlotte St. with 183 new residential units, 20 three-story row houses and more than 50,000 square feet of commercial space. If the plan is ultimately approved by Asheville City Council, it will require the removal of 11-13 structures in the Chestnut Hill Historic District, a neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte Street residents are gearing up for a fight. “Save Charlotte Street” yard signs are scattered around the neighborhood, and more than 2,700 people have signed a petition protesting the development, says Jessie Landl, director of the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County. 

Xpress photographer Cindy Kunst visited the neighborhood to document the current buildings. Asheville’s Technical Review Committee, which considers site plans and land development matters ahead of other city committees, is slated to review the project’s conditional zoning request at its meeting of Monday, March 1.

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11 thoughts on “In photos: Mixed-use development could replace historic Charlotte Street homes

  1. Curious

    Do these houses meet the criteria of “historic?”
    “In the United States, historic places are determined and then monitored by the National Park Service. The National Register of Historic Places is a federal list on which there are currently over 26,000 places listed. Additionally, states and municipalities can designate a home or a district as historic.
    However, just because a home is old does not mean it is registered or qualified to be a historic home. Age alone isn’t enough to classify a home as historic. To be accepted as a historic property, the home needs to be at least 50 years old (although there are some exceptions) and meet one of four pieces of criteria:
    Be connected to significant, historical events
    Be connected to the lives of significant individuals
    Be considered an embodiment of a particular master or historic style
    Has provided or is likely to provide important historical information
    This formal designation means that the historic nature of the district must be preserved by all who own property within the district, and that permits are required for any work that affects the exterior of the home.”
    Can Ms, Landle or the reporter address these criteria?

  2. Dave

    What’s the alternative? I love all things old, but if the idea is to renovate these buildings and bring in more lawyers, therapists, spas, etc… I’m just not sure.
    That said, these site renderings are obnoxious. Why not plan structures like the brick building on the SW corner of Charlotte and Chestnut? Mixed-use isn’t a new concept, and doesn’t have to be ugly and out of character.

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    • Kathy

      I agree that the renderings of the buildings are ugly. Looks a self-serve storage place. Why not build the buildings in a more charming style reflective of the area?

  3. Phil

    I really hope people understand that if someone brought these homes up to current decent standards they would no longer be able to be kept affordable.

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    • MG Massey

      Exactly
      Still..studies on NPR, aired years ago , posited that “rich people don’t empathize”
      Gee they needed a study to ascertain that
      All ya need to understand the clueless nature of the ruling class, is live in Asheville for thirty years.🤔

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  4. Mike R.

    Using the pretext that these old/run down houses need to be “saved”, does little to address the core issue. Good comments above about the applicability (and practicality) of applying “historic preservation” to these aged structures.

    The proposed project is well designed and balanced (commercial/residential/residential types) but overall, it is too large for this street and surrounding area. Something on the order of a 40% reduction should be made.

    That 40% reduction represents a sizable amount of profit loss for the developers, so expect a very tough fight. Still, I absolutely guarantee you that they can make plenty of money, even if the project size is reduced. Plenty. Developers rarely are asked for (and almost never provide) estimated ROI’s (return on investment) of their projects; yet all have them developed and reviewed. They won’t release because they don’t want the public and surrounding neighborhoods to know how much $$money they will make off the project.

    The usual approach is “listen” to concerns, empathize a little (I hear your pain), point out the good stuff, then “throw a few bones” to pull in some on the fringe…..a few more trees (for the tree lovers), a plaque or memorial space (for the historic crowd), maybe a different facade (for the neighborhood look), etc. etc. And of course the ubiquitous “traffic study” which always shows that the new number of cars/trips is not a problem for the streets. ALWAYS!

    But size/scale should be the top issue for discussion and part and parcel to this should be the profits that are expected with the proposed project. I’m afraid it won’t happen, particularly if historic preservation is leading the fight against this project.

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    • Enlightened Enigma

      It will come in time too! This will be a fantastic new project to REVIVE that tired stretch there ! So exciting !

  5. indy499

    “residents are rallying to protect a dozen historic buildings from demolition”. Nothing historic about those houses except in the literal sense that everything which came before is historic. Just more nimby silliness. We are in favor of more and lower cost housing, opposed to sprawl and also opposed to close in re-development. Huh?

  6. WNC

    Low cost housing and Asheville (oxymoron), The cost of construction under the city of Asheville’s jurisdiction is probably 20% or more than constructing in buncombe county (not including land).

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