Getting from then to now

Haywood Street was virtually empty two decades ago. In 1990, we (the members of Earth Guild) bought the old Bon Marché building. We renovated the Haywood Street level for Earth Guild, which we moved from its original location on Tingle Alley. We made our home on the top floor. In the mid-’90s, the second floor and basement level were renovated into office suites and, in 2002, the basement was redeveloped for the N.C. Stage Company. The building became a model for mixed use in downtown and spurred the redevelopment of many other buildings in its block and on adjacent blocks.

The view from the county commission

Downtown Asheville was largely boarded up in 1994 but starting to show signs of life. I had purchased my law office building on Church Street eight years earlier and was starting to see a decrease in uninvited overnight guests who “rested” in my parking lot or occasionally on the office front porch. Thankfully, my office staff witnessed fewer instances of drug dealing, and less evidence of prostitution and other criminal activity in the Church Street area by then.