There are many reasons for the citizens of Asheville and Buncombe County to be indignant about Mr. Coleman’s plans to build a large condominium [project] next to City Hall. First, the location is terrible, involving the destruction of a historic building, the removal of a fine old magnolia tree and—most significantly—the use by the developer of a piece of the Pack Square plaza for his fancy new project. More problematic for me is the way the deal was concocted in the first place.
The original decision to allow Mr. Coleman to buy the Pack Square parcel was made with little input from the public. Instead, the developer met privately with various groups, usually accompanied by his attorney—a popular former mayor of Asheville. Before any of us knew what was happening, the deal was done. Now, in order to circumvent the public once again, Mr. Coleman devised a way to avoid a public hearing before the City Council, and he dismisses the resulting furor as the work of a few vocal malcontents. If that were so, of course, he would not be afraid to bring his plans before us all. Both this project and the way it was foisted on the city [constitute] a travesty, and that is why the thing was done without real public participation.
— Michael Carlebach