I want to share with my community my feedback to the Downtown Master Plan Commission: Allowing 27-story buildings would be obscene—and the death of Asheville’s uniqueness. A background of surrounding mountains, cloud formations and sunsets, the sense of spaciousness and light and the human scale are what make downtown unique and friendly. The BB&T building is an embarrassment to downtown at only 18 stories (and a horrible backdrop to the heart of our civic space, Pack Square). Let The Ellington stand (if we must!) as the signature tall building. I’d rather it were not [to be] there—or at least [that it] had been planned to be more of a community resource with low-cost housing in it, rather than as the elitist place it’s planned to be. But at least it is attractive and would probably become a symbol of Asheville.
But more tall buildings, even taller at 27 stories, would ruin downtown, making Asheville just another city rather than this extraordinary mecca that somehow escaped the blight of the building cancer decades ago. Who knows? Maybe a Depression will save us again!
And why are you ignoring the lessons of history? I’m certain people thought it was a terrible travesty to not be able to tear down those old-fashioned buildings and put chic skyscrapers up in their places (which everyone else was doing). Asheville would be nothing special now if they’d done that. What you are proposing now (27-story buildings) is flying in the face of the spirit of this place and will leave an Asheville for the future that is nothing special.
Please wake up, before it’s too late! No matter how setbacks etc. would mediate the effects, downtown would lose vistas, sunlight and the sense [it offers] of being in a small town where people are friendly. Looking at the new buildings on College near Pritchard Park and that horrible thing they are building on the old Chamber of Commerce site, I’d recommend 10 or 11 stories as the limit for downtown, still with setbacks etc.
Let’s make this city nice for the people who live here and pay for our government. Friendly people, a sense of community and beautiful vistas are what attract tourists.
— Amina Spengler