“I understand that we’re not supposed to stand in the way of progress, but is a downtown that serves tourists at the expense of residents the progress we want? When is enough enough?”
After an unexpected delay on April 23, Council members will have the final say on the rezoning of the historic structure at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 14.
“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.”
Asheville City Council will be asked to add its piece of a $39.7 million redevelopment puzzle on Tuesday evening. The 2016 General Obligation Housing Bond will provide $1.82 million, while $1.38 million will come from the city’s general fund and $1 million will be spent from the Affordable Housing Capital Improvement Program.
Two lodging projects will be up for debate: a 56-room hotel spread across four buildings on Biltmore Avenue downtown and a 170-room project on Fairview Road in Biltmore Village. The first proposes to convert three historic houses into accommodations and construct a new five-story structure with a restaurant, while the second would build a new six-story building.
In place of its current small business and retail tenants, the Flatiron Building could play host to overnight guests as an 80-room hotel. Owner Russell Thomas and Charleston, S.C.-based developer Philip Woollcott say lodging use is the only business model able to support extensive needed renovations to the historic structure.
New year, new hotel. Asheville City Council will review its first zoning request for 2017, and it’s a big one: the proposed 185-room Embassy Suites hotel on Haywood Street, across the street from the Hotel Indigo and the Hyatt Place and next door to the Carolina Apartments.
“But except for several buildings from earlier periods, I feel that [Asheville’s] late architecture represents a tide of mediocrity that needs to be reversed.”