The proposed $45 million redevelopment of the Sears store at the Asheville Mall passed its first regulatory review on Monday.
The Asheville Technical Review Committee gave its initial thumbs up to the plan by Seritage SRC Finance, though it’s clear there are still key points the city and the developer must work through as Seritage seeks Asheville City Council approval for the conditional zoning it seeks. The next stop for the redevelopment plan is the Asheville Planning & Zoning Commission.
The Seritage plan calls for the demolition of the existing Sears store and the construction of four new buildings, including 204 apartments in a tower that would ultimately stand 8 stories tall. (That would be one of the tallest buildings outside the city’s central business district, the other being the massive new Mission Hospital building under construction now just south of downtown, which will be 12 stories tall.)
The Sears store at the mall is officially closing in mid-July.
The team representing the developer on Tuesday included Asheville attorney Bob Oast, project manager Tony Gosetti of Callison/RTKL and Greg Harnish, project civil engineer of Woolpert.
Oast said there’s been a number of talks with nearby residents, and significant back-and-forth between city staffers and project managers. The developers are going through with a traffic study, which is pushing the project timeline back some, Oast said.
Alan Glines, assistant director of the city’s Planning and Urban Design Department, outlined the city’s main concerns moving ahead:
-a full landscape buffer between the project and the nearby neighborhood
-a sidewalk through one parking area; a 10-foot-wide sidewalk rather than something smaller in another area; and a bike path into the project
-buildings oriented outward toward Tunnel Road, not inward
“We’re really excited about this redevelopment,” said Glines, who called it a model project that could be used to guide other new developments around the city.
The keys for the city is to design a project that engages the street and provides connectivity that emphasizes pedestrian- and bike-friendly access. “We’re trying to make connections happen,” he said.
Sears redevelopment by the numbers: The project will include the construction of four new commercial/office buildings totaling about 114,600 square feet. There will be a restaurant of 14,716 square feet, a multi-screen cinema of 47,082 square feet (including a mezzanine of 3,332 square feet), a retail/office component of 52,709 square feet, required parking for these uses of 607 spaces, and new surface parking, according to the plans.
More background on the redevelopment of the Sears store at Asheville Mall here.