Letter: Give up the ghost (garage)

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Sitting by its lonesome down on the South Slope, a massive, costly, brand-spanking-new concrete structure sits empty, unused, lost, with no purpose in sight. A ghostly parking garage with no cars built on top of perfectly good office buildings now rubble, buried in red dirt surrounding the structure like a moat of the failed development it has become. Weeds, now the only sign of life.

A few blocks away, City Council and another appointed committee fret over how to best spend either $100 million or $200 million to rehab the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, a building that anyone knows fully well is absurd. Humans expire, and buildings do, too.

Why not take the private developers of the South Slope project and the bankers and others involved in a project gone bad out of their pain? For the City of Asheville’s gain.

The City of Asheville should buy the garage and surrounding land, probably for pennies on the dollar if it is not already in bankruptcy court, and build a new Thomas Wolfe complex on the site, a parking garage already built.

This would also solve another major problem.

Just the other week, South Slope merchants were interviewed by Channel 13 about a new, expensive, long-awaited city plan for their area. The news reporter stood in front of Swannanoa Cleaners with the above-mentioned ghost garage hanging out in the background. Everyone interviewed said parking was the most urgent problem facing that area. Well now, how about that? The very same parking garage could be made available to the merchants behind it when the Thomas Wolfe was not in use.

Two major problems solved with one smart move.

I ask our woke City Council to wake up a solution waiting to happen.

— David Schulman

Editor’s note: Schulman reports that he is a longtime former retailer in Western North Carolina and former president of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. He has spent the last 20 years of his career being a redeveloper: searching for failed real estate projects to turn them into successes.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.