[I am urging Asheville City Council to] please do not keep destroying the core of the city by converting the Flatiron Building to a hotel.
Asheville residents have no obligation to enrich the owner of the building by his Cadillac proposal that injures the residents and tourists and hurts our quality of life. Quit destroying the downtown experience to enrich the wealthy.
If he wants to sell, let him sell at market value, and the next person can fix up the building. The building is worth what it is worth and has been under his management. It is his responsibility to keep it up — or sell it in its present use or possibly slight modification.
In Asheville, we should be protecting our valuable parking for tourists and those doing business with downtown merchants — not passing something that could take hundreds of spots away. For any proposal to be allowed, we must insist upon 100% parking provided by the hotel, including all hotel room guests (some having two cars), all staff, all restaurant workers and even convention or conference parking needs.
The existing parking belongs to the Asheville city businesses and residents. Neither wants to see the spots taken by a hotel, causing those doing business to go spend their money elsewhere — where parking is available. I sure don’t want to be taxed to provide more parking when this hotel needs the limited spaces already paid for by us.
Hotels belong on the periphery, even though the city allows them in the core. (The “up not out” policy: That is flawed.) We need to have hotels a few to quite a few blocks away from the core. Those hotels again must provide for all parking needed — and the guests can walk or take short transit to town — avoiding the need for parking in the core.
The small boutique businesses in the Flatiron are wonderful — they add huge character to the city. Again, if this is not working for him, let him sell it, and we will likely see the same or similar use be continued. It appears by the article in the paper that changing to a hotel will be hurting many small businesses as they “close” in the Flatiron Building. That is a real loss to Asheville. That area is special. We go there often.
I understand that on another street years ago, probably Lexington Avenue, was proposed a mall. The modern mall was not approved, and the street remained the character we see now, as Asheville flourished. We are now faced again with mall/hotel or keep the character of Asheville. We hope the decision can be for keeping the special character.
The traffic downtown is terrible, so why add to this congestion? What is our benefit? We need to know this: How do we benefit from this hotel? We don’t.
The City Council has no obligation to approve this, to enhance the wealth of a wealthy man. The Council is to help the city — the people — to keep Asheville in character and build upon what we have that is good.
Asheville residents: Does the proposal make Asheville better? No, it does not. It makes Asheville worse.
Please do what you can to stop this destruction of a very special area in Asheville.
Thank you for reading this.
— Jerry Hinz
Candler (moving to the city this fall)
Editor’s note: A public hearing on the matter will take place Tuesday, April 23, during the Council’s regularly scheduled meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. at City Hall. April 23 update: That public hearing now has been rescheduled to May 14.