A gas station and adjoining eatery at the corner of Merrimon Avenue and Elm Street have been sold, according to a billboard sign posted outside the location, which is home to an Exxon gas station and convenience store, as well as the adjoining 51 Grille eatery. Loyal reader Kevin sent in this photo (photo shot by Megan Welch). The sign reads:
Closing after 30 yrs
Sold to hotel chain
The property is adjacent to a vacant Elm Street lot that a hotel operator had planned to build a five-story, 104-room Towne Place Suites hotel. (Elm Street essentially doubles as an Interstate 240 off-ramp and intersects Merrimon.) The Asheville Citizen-Times reported recently that plans for the Towne Place hotel had been dropped. From the story:
Asheville Property Inc., of Greensboro, was the listed developer with the same address as the CN Hotels company. Messages sent Monday evening to the phone and e-mail listed on city planning documents were not returned.
The property is a lot once occupied by restaurants behind 51 Grill. Developers were making a conditional zoning request because the building would have been bigger than what is allowed under the zoning Community Business II. They were also requesting a higher amount of impervious surface to be allowed.
The gas station property next to Staples on Merrimon Avenue has been for sale for months. It was listed for sale for $1.9 million. The 51 Grille eatery adjacent to the gas station convenience store has been a local favorite, especially for its late-night food offerings.