There’s so much development happening around town it can be hard to keep up. Here’s a check on some of action, including the construction of a wave of new dollar stores:
Coxe/Asheland mixed-use development: This project calls for 540 apartments in a group of new 5- and 7-story buildings proposed for a 4.4-acre site between Asheland and Coxe avenues on the city’s South Slope. The project includes an 8-story, 1,000-space parking deck. Office and retail space will also be offered here. The project team has been working with city staff to nail down a host of design details and looks to be headed to the Asheville Downtown Commission for review in September, then on to Planning & Zoning and then City Council.
68 Craven Street Condos: A developer is proposing to build a four-story, 57,384-square-foot building containing 37 residential units along Craven Street, across from New Belgium’s brewery there. The project is called 68 Craven Street Condos. It is set to be reviewed by the Technical Review Committee on Aug. 19.
Starr Building: There’s a proposal to renovate the big Starr Building in downtown Asheville. The building fronts both Broadway Street and North Lexington Avenue. Plans call for a mixed-use building that would house a restaurant with up to 100 seats, new retail space and 23 short-term rental condominium units. This is also set to be reviewed at TRC on Aug. 19.
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium renovations: Plans to renovate the aging Thomas Wolfe Auditorium are moving forward. The long-awaited project picked up steam earlier this year when the city hired consultants to come up with a proposed design and budget to renovate the 2,400-seat downtown auditorium. Chris Corl, general manager of the U.S. Cellular Center, told the Civic Center Commission at its regular monthly meeting this week that the consultant is on track to deliver that by mid-September. Corl said the consultant was working on some “really interesting design concepts,” but he didn’t elaborate beyond one tidbit: by incorporating a general admission standing room-only space for amplified shows, the auditorium could slightly increase capacity for those shows. Such a design would mean the loss of about 100 seats, but that actually works well for another big user of the auditorium – the Asheville Symphony.
Haywood Street streetscape project: The project is scheduled to start in January 2020 and will disrupt the operation of a number of downtown businesses. It will also affect access to events at the U.S. Cellular Center and Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The plan is to tear up the Haywood Street surface and sidewalks from Vanderbilt Place to Patton Avenue. Construction crews will improve stormwater and sewer infrastructure, resurface the road and replace the crumbling blue stone sidewalks. This project is funded by the bonds that city voters approved in 2016. A detailed project schedule is being developed and is scheduled to be made available by this fall. Construction is expected to last nine months to a year.
Dollar stores: Just noting this trend in our market. The construction of a wave of dollar stores has been happening around the U.S. for a few years now, but I did a double-take when I saw a Dollar Tree store going up right next to a Family Dollar store on Patton Avenue in West Asheville. (Dollar Tree owns Family Dollar.) Some cities are starting to push back against the dollar store strategy of saturating markets with stores by passing regulations that force them to be located more than a mile away from other dollar stores. We’ll see what happens. A quick count shows about two dozen Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar General stores around Asheville.