Salvage Station concert venue to close, making way for I-26 Connector project

An aerial photo shows the outdoor stage at Salvage Station. // Photo by David Simchock, courtesy of Salvage Station


The mammoth Interstate 26 Connector project will shut down one of Asheville most popular music venues, Salvage Station, the owners announced Thursday.

“By eminent domain, they are acquiring the property we lease at 466 Riverside Drive and have given us an official timeline,” Salvage Station said in its announcement, referring to the N.C. Department of Transportation. “We have until the end of this year to finish our 2024 season and then must vacate the property to make way for the I-26 Connector project.”

The venue, which opened in 2016, has hosted dozens of live shows through the years and boasts indoor and outdoor stages, all a stone’s throw from the French Broad River. Acts have ranged from Michael Franti & Spearhead and Billy Strings to country-rock band Caamp and folk-rocker Jade Bird.

Salvage Station can accommodate 3,000 people for an outdoor show, 750 for the inside stage.

The I-26 Connector project has been discussed in Asheville since 1989, but right of way work and land acquisition started about two years ago. As of May 9, the NCDOT had made 142 offers on the project, settled 75 cases, and condemned eight properties, according to Tony Rickman, right of way agent for Division 13, which includes Buncombe County.

The NCDOT did not confirm it had taken the property by eminent domain. Salvage Station does not own the 7-acre property but leases it from the owner. NCDOT does relocate businesses that are affected by eminent domain.

“NCDOT and Salvage Station property owners are in legal negotiations regarding the property and future use for the I-26 Connector North Section,” NCDOT spokesperson David Uchiyama said via email. “NCDOT will provide property owners and business owners relocation assistance as we do for all owners and businesses.”

Katie Hild, marketing director at Salvage Station, said the NCDOT notified them via their lawyer that they would have to relocate. Negotiations are ongoing regarding the relocation settlement, Hild said, but Salvage Station does have to leave.

Salvage Station is “heartbroken” about having to relocate but “committed to rebuilding,” according to its statement, which added, “Where we go is unknown, but for sure, if a salvage yard can become a nationally recognized music venue, we will certainly figure out this next chapter.”

Hild said they’re working with commercial real estate agents to scout a new location.

“They’re gathering our thoughts and hearing what our needs are,” Hild said. “Our needs are unique. We need a lot of space, and a lot of what we need is very difficult to find in this area.”

Hild said “it’d be amazing if we could stay on the river we love,” but that might be tough.

“We love the setting that we’re in,” Hild said, noting the venue has never flooded during its time there. “We’ve never had to deal with any issues like that. We just know how unique that is.”

Just last week, the NCDOT awarded the contract for the two main sections of the I-26 Connector to Archer-Wright Joint Venture, which put in a $1.15 billion bid.

The NCDOT calls these Section B and Section D, or collectively the north section. The project will involve new bridges over the French Broad River and new sections to connect I-26 above and below Asheville, as well as improvements to Riverside Drive.

Archer-Wright will be responsible for constructing a roadway and bridges that will stretch from Haywood Road across the French Broad River to U.S. 19/23/70 by Broadway Street, and Riverside Drive from Hill Street to Broadway Street, according to the NCDOT.

Salvage Station said it was “no small feat” renovating a 7-acre riverfront property that was once a dump and salvage yard. Danny McClinton, the owner and founder of Salvage Station, “had a vision to clean and transform the property to the venue we all have come to know and love,” the announcement said.

Hild said Salvage Station employs up to 100 people during peak times in the summer, and it has a huge economic impact on Asheville, driving hotel stays and restaurant patronage.

“When you drill down on this, it’s going to be a big hole for a while, until we find a new home — if we can find one in Asheville,” Hild said.

Meanwhile, Hild wants the community to know they’re open — and that they want to finish strong.

“Tell people to come see the Beach Boys,” Hild said with a laugh. That iconic band plays Salvage Station on Sunday, June 16.

“News like this, it’s hard on the community. It’s hard on our staff,” Hild said. “We still have through New Year’s, and we want that to be a really strong finish. Finishing strong, it’s going to help us catapult into phase two.”

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. John Boyle has been covering Asheville and surrounding communities since the 20th century. You can reach him at (828) 337-0941, or via email at The Watchdog’s reporting is made possible by donations from the community. To show your support for this vital public service please visit


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One thought on “Salvage Station concert venue to close, making way for I-26 Connector project

  1. dyfed

    Destroying small business for the dubious benefit of constructing a highway connector that everyone stopped caring about 20 years ago. Ladies and gentlemen, your government.

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