New third alternative emerges for property across from St. Lawrence


The city-owned property across from St. Lawrence Basilica has been the subject of local controversy for years.

Local PAC PARC has led the battle in proposing a green space across from the basilica, saying heavy construction across from the century-old building will damage it, and that the proposed hotel is inappropriate for the site.

Asheville City Council member Marc Hunt (D) has dismissed a park as too expensive, stating that “conversion of this site to an urban park would require millions,” but offering no data.

Now a third alternative arises: A plaza.

Image from

From an Asheville Citizen-Times guest editorial today:

Visit Sign the petition. Read the write-up about the Kessler Group. It is now partnering with the basilica to design a piazza and is responsible for the “perfect fit” of the Bohemian Hotel in historic Biltmore Village.

For everyone who wants a park, the issue is moot. The council has stated unequivocally that it won’t happen. Instead of generating revenue, a park demands costly maintenance. If a landscaped piazza is second-best in your view, wouldn’t it trump a concrete box (see 51 Biltmore Ave.) that would block the basilica, the Vanderbilt Apartments building and the Battery Park Apartments building?

Website supporting St. Lawrence Plaza

Guest editorial by Donna Bollinger: Piazza best for basilica?


Jabob July 25, 2012 - 6:50 pm

looks awesome!

attn Murphy, if by ‘more colorful’, you mean black, then welcome to a world of more than one skin tone…but you fail to consider that the private plaza will be allowed to kick anyone off it that they want…so don’t worry, you’ll be safe from the great unwashed plebian population

Murphy July 26, 2012 - 1:16 pm

by “more colorful” I referred to the various folks who seem to live on the streets of AVL …

David July 25, 2012 - 1:55 pm

Why is an urban park, more than a building? I like this better than putting up any more monstrosities, like the must-turd yellow Indigo, or anything else w/a broader footprint and more stories. Just don’t get the cost differential, unless they’re speaking in terms of maintenance and upkeep, being a public responsibility, as opposed to a bldg, more than likely, being a privatized responsibility?

FDR July 25, 2012 - 1:50 pm

Ok, my personal opinion on the look of some new hotels is forward thinking. They look modern and similar to what you see in healthy economic big cities. This may not be your taste but it attracts tourist and business men that are used to that. If they feel comfortable in a city they are more likely to spend money here. I would rather have anything, as long as it does not look like the library. The fountain needs to go as well in the plans because it will become a bathing area for 500+ transients Asheville caters to.

As for the height issue. There is always gonna by people that complain about something just to be heard and boost their ego by stoping a project based on their opinion. They do this whether it will help Asheville unemployment or not. Very sad that these fake transplant hippies are so selfish. Embrace change and the jobs will be plenty.

Kevin Greene July 25, 2012 - 11:42 am

I like the look of this building & plaza, whether it ends up being a hotel or church or hostel or whatever. I haven’t seen official renderings of the proposed hotel yet, but if it looks anything like the Aloft monstrosity on Biltmore (note, i’m not opposed to the building being there, just at how ugly it is), it shouldn’t be allowed.

hauntedheadnc July 25, 2012 - 11:12 am

That plan is basically the same plan proposed by the hotel group, except with a shorter building. I would like to think that the fight over this property will not come down to so petty an issue as whether the building behind the plaza is four stories tall versus seven or eight.

…Especially considering that there is a nine story building across the street, and a 14-story and an 11-story building within sight of the property, because as we all know, we would never want to build something that wasn’t in scale with the neighborhood! Heaven and all the saints forbid something so terrible as that.

Murphy July 25, 2012 - 10:27 am

I’m not sure how this would be any different than a hotel with a similar courtyard … the McKibbon group plan also calls for a 7 story structure … this neo-French Chateau looking “3rd plan” is 7 stories on Haywood Street facing the Llibrary.

And who thinks this architectural “style” is appropriate for the site … don’t we have 2 “lion” sculptures over at the Arcade … are lions some how associated with AVL?

That big piazza will be a great place for “the more colorful” among us to pass the day and nights too most likely.

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