Ashvegas Hot Sheet: Hotel project off Merrimon Avenue reviewed again

The design for the new Towne Place Suites hotel proposed off Merrimon Avenue near downtown Asheville.


More of what’s going around:

-A controversial hotel proposal that was opposed by some north Asheville residents and eventually pulled by the developer is making its way back through the city of Asheville’s approval process. On Monday afternoon, the Asheville Technical Review Committee looked at revised plans for  Towne Place Suites, a 5-story, 45,000-square-foot, 104-room hotel proposed for a vacant lot at 39 Elm Street. City Planner Jessica Bernstein said the new plans showed a “reduced scale,” but didn’t offer a “pedestrian-oriented design.” Specifically, stairs and a ramp needed to be included at one point to offer access from a sidewalk, she said. Wayfinding signs and access to the hotel off Merrimon Avenue would also help, she said, though the committee couldn’t require it. Spokesmen for the developer said they would work on all those issues. They also noted that an adjacent lot that sold last year (home to the now-closed Exxon Station and the 51 Grille eatery) is owned by a different ownership group from the hotel development company planning to build the Towne Place Suites. (The adjacent lot fronts Merrimon Avenue.) If all the issues are addressed, the project will head to the Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission in late April.

The committee reviewed a second hotel project – the planned construction of a new Holiday Inn Suites off Hendersonville Road near Biltmore Village. The new 6-story, 76,000-square-foot hotel is planned for the former site of a Howard Johnson’s motel that was demolished last year.

The committee also reviewed plans for the new Lee Walker Heights construction. Lee Walker Heights, which opened in 1950, is the city’s oldest public housing complex. It’s 96 units off Short Coxe Avenue will be demolished later this year and the complex will be reworked. Nine new buildings, housing 199 residential units, will be built in two phases. The project also includes nearly 11,000 square feet of commercial space. City Planner Shannon Tuch reviewed the plans. She cited minor concerns about various sidewalk widths, designs for fenestration, an elevated pedestrian walkway and on-street parking. She also suggested that a public fountain would be a nice amenity for one of the project’s plazas. Spokesmen for the development said all the issues would be addressed. The project is tentatively slated to be heard at the April 6 meeting of the Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission, Tuch said. (See architectural drawings for the new Lee Walker Heights construction here.)


McKibbon Hotel Management, which has more than 80 properties and owner and manages the Aloft Asheville Downtown, is seeking a general manager for its new AC Hotel Asheville Downtown, which is expected to open to the public in late 2016, according to a press release. More:

The general manager will be responsible for delivering world-class customer service to guests, ensuring all team members receive proper orientation and ongoing training, overseeing the hotel’s food and beverage offering, maintaining an active role in the local community, and delivering consistent results in guest satisfaction, revenue generation and profitability for the hotel. Candidates should have a record of outstanding hotel general management experience, a savvy business sense, and a passion for food, beverage, art, design and culture. They should be able to assemble a team that is highly focused on details and takes genuine pride in ensuring guests have a memorable travel experience.

The hotel will be part of the AC Hotel by Marriott portfolio, a European brand that originated in Spain and began its expansion to the U.S. in 2013 with the opening of the AC Hotel New Orleans. Today, there are six AC Hotels open in the U.S. The AC Hotel Asheville Downtown will be the first AC Hotel in North Carolina, followed by the AC Hotel Charlotte, which is also being developed by McKibbon.


NFB March 25, 2016 - 3:58 pm

“Unaffiliated Voter” here, Yep at MX. Different screen names, same old claptrap.

chris March 27, 2016 - 7:54 pm

You mean “Unaffiliated Voter” is yet another pseudonym of Fisher Caudle? Hey Fisher! How’s it going?

Dr. Smooothwoode March 24, 2016 - 8:40 pm

Anything that still employs ye old shenanigannes with the letter “e” in the centre of our towne, with or without shoppes, is a redde flagge.

Unaffiliated Voter March 22, 2016 - 12:42 pm

City planners and HACA building the city’s next future GHETTO at Lee Walker ‘heights’ …how long before it’s TRASHED out like the rest of public housing? HACA is Asheville’s BIGGEST ENEMY, run by EVIL people like Terry Bellamy, Gene Bell and David Nash.

Hauntedheadnc March 22, 2016 - 1:54 pm

Considering that the complex is designed to mix not only incomes, but puts job opportunities right there in the heart of the complex in a model that has proven successful in cities around the country, I wonder if perhaps you’re just taking another opportunity to broadcast your undying hatred of the poor.

Tell me, if ever you see while out and about someone who appears to be of lesser means, do you make the sign of the cross and hiss? Or do you simply burst into tears, shriek, and run away flailing your hands in the air?

theyhearda March 23, 2016 - 10:13 pm

“unaffiliated” my ass. “Uninformed” far more accurate. If anything people in the community are concerned the new development will be too expensive and too small for the current residents. Keep the hate to “topix,” please.

Burnsey March 22, 2016 - 12:46 am

Another hotel that looks like it belongs on the far end of an airport parking lot.

Critic March 24, 2016 - 8:51 pm

Another ugly neo-Bauhaus box with little flourish or panache to recommend it. Once upon a time downtown hotels were elegant palaces; even the cheap hotels tried to distinguish themselves.

Joe sasfy March 21, 2016 - 9:18 pm

This hotel is a short walk from lower Broadway It might as well be downtown. It will abut the once residential neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, bringing noise, traffic, etc. Where and when does this madness end?

Hauntedheadnc March 22, 2016 - 1:50 pm

The restaurant and gas station that used to be on those adjoining lots abutted Chestnut Hill and I don’t recall local residents ever having to go out and collect large, jagged pieces of the sky from their lawns and trees.

Perhaps selective outrage is at work here?

Joe sasfy March 27, 2016 - 10:40 am

The gas station and 51 Grill had easy entrance and exit from Merrimon. There was no need to drive into the neighborhood.

luther blissett March 28, 2016 - 1:15 pm

Oh, well, that makes it totes different.

This sounds like a re-run of the GreenLife NIMBY situation. Your property values have rocketed from being close to downtown? Then you’ll just have to deal with commercial infill.

That said, it’s a fugly cookie-cutter hotel that belongs near an airport or off an interstate exit in the middle of nowhere, which means it’s the perfect accompaniment to the fugly ordinance-busting Staples.

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