Asheville shoppers, rejoice over the next couple of years, millions of dollars will be invested to remake several of Asheville’s key shopping centers. It’s a little overwhelming to thing about what’s in the works, and how the changes will affect our mountain metropolis. Some of the details are sketchy to me, but here’s what I’ve heard or understand about some of what’s going on:
BB&T: Last year the McKibbon Group, which owns the Aloft Hotel in Asheville, bought Asheville’s one and only skyscraper and announced it would be remaking the building to include condos, office and retail space and a boutique hotel. But there’s more, according to an Ashvegas source, who says the redevelopment that is shaping up could be likened to a mini-Biltmore Park. That’s because the redevelopment will include not only the towering BB&T, but the parking lot across College Street (and next to Green Sage) from the building, as well as the dark parking garage across Broadway from the building. It’s all going to end up as one giant mixed-use facility, according to early development talks, this source says. If that’s true, that will dramatically reshape the heart of downtown Asheville.
Asheville Mall: Word on the street is that there is a $25 million renovation planned for the Asheville Mall. This is unconfirmed information right now. I’ve left a message with mall manager and have not received a call back. The mall has already announced that the popular retailer H&M is planning to move in. What else might be happening at the mall?
Biltmore Square Mall: The Biltmore Square Mall is getting a major makeover to become an outdoor outlet mall. All the current tenants except Belk and Dillard’s have to be out by the end of the month. I have yet to hear what outlets will be moving in, but at least one source tells me the mall will be shooting for outlet stores from higher-end retailers. We’ll see.
Others: There’s plenty of action on a similar scale at other key shopping centers around town. The massive new Whole Foods grocery store being built on Tunnel Road has room for other retailers. Urban Burrito is rumored to be opening a new restaurant there, and there’s a sporting goods store planned. There’s a new shopping center coming together on Airport Road, one that will include an Aldi and a Dick’s Sporting Goods. And the new Publix grocery store coming to Hendersonville Road has already reportedly attracted Asheville’s first Chipotle.