Here’s the latest development in the battle how a small parcel of land in downtown Asheville will be developed. The property, just under one acre, is owned by the city and sits directly across the street from the historic Basilica of St. Lawrence.

On one side stands the basilica, which has pushed the city to develop a park. The city has resisted that option, so the church partnered with Richard Kessler, a Florida-based hotel developer. The church and Kessler want to build a three-story building and hardscape plaza. The building would contain a restaurant, retail space, commercial space and apartments. Kessler developed the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village. See the plans here.

On the other side stands McKibbon, who submitted a development plan for the site way back in 2007. Public opposition to the construction of a hotel there led City Council to drop consideration of that plan. Today, city staffers are working on a sales contract with McKibbon, which offered $2.3 million for the site and wants to build a hotel and hardscape park.

Press release here:

McKibbon Hotel Group, Inc. will present the first design drawings for their proposed development of the city-owned Haywood Street site, across the street from the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the U.S. Cellular Center on Tuesday,August 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center Banquet Room, 2nd floor, 87 Haywood Street, Asheville. The meeting is open to the public, and doors will open at 5:00 p.m. for seating and preview of site renderings.

“Through meetings with the Basilica, the Asheville Design Center and City representatives, we are prepared to develop a property that will enhance the neighborhood and complement the Basilica, which is such an important historic landmark for our city,” explained John McKibbon, Chairman of McKibbon Hotel Group. McKibbon will lead the 30-minute presentation, and will ask for public comment at the meeting’s conclusion.

In addition to the presentation of new site renderings, the meeting will include:

– McKibbon Company History, Previous Urban Projects and Company Involvement in Asheville Community – John McKibbon, Chairman
– Overview of the Haywood Project – Architects Buck Lindsay and Chad Roberson, Lindsay Pope Brayfield Clifford and Associates
– Precautions That Will Be Taken to Protect Surrounding Buildings During Construction – Jill Heimburg, PE, AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Asheville, NC

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