95_roberts_street_building_2014Last week, Asheville’s Technical Review Committee looked over plans for the renovation work that’s been happening at 95 Roberts Street. I attended the meeting and made contact with architect Jesse Plaster, who is overseeing much of the work.

Most of the discussion about the project centered on parking – a small lot across the street from the building will be improved, and there’s parking being developed on the backside of the building (on Payne’s Way).

The building is being renovated to house a number of users, from artists to retailers and a restaurant. While crews were at work most of last year, there’s plenty more work to be done. Here’s what Jesse told me in an email:

Hello Jason,

We’re renovating 95 Roberts Street as a mixed-use building, to include artists’ studios, retail & restaurant spaces. We’re participating in the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, so the exterior of the building will simply be returned to its original form. Blocked windows and doors will be reopened, new historic replica windows will be installed throughout (most were removed or damaged by fire), and the brick will be cleaned but not altered in any way – the old ghost signage will remain.

The rooftop venue is going to be a big feature on this building. We’ve got a 13,500 square foot concrete roof deck 65′ above grade with fantastic views over the arts district and the river. Plans for the roof are still schematic, but we hope to put more time into it once the building shell permits are moving forward.

The rooftop venue is key, and a trend that I noted here last year. There’s a distinct lack of rooftop venues easily accessible to the public in Asheville. That’s about to change, and it sounds like 95 Roberts may lead the way.

95 Roberts is right next door to a well-known Asheville RAD landmark that may soon be changing – the Phil Mechanic Building, which is up for sale.

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