Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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More of what’s going around:

-A mega real estate deal involving a large chuck of downtown Asheville real estate has closed, with the final price coming in at $28 million. Back in April, I reported that the big downtown Asheville real estate deal was in the works, one involving a number of key city buildings around Pack Square, including the iconic Jackson Building, the Legal Building and others. The Asheville Citizen-Times (paywall) reported last week that the deal had closed, with Georgia-based Wicker Park Capital Management buying up the buildings. The buildings are home to some of Asheville’s most well-known eateries, including French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Salsa’s and Posana. What’s the upshot of the property sale? The price of rent for for space in those buildings will almost surely be going up, since that’s the way that the new owners will recoup their investment.

-Speaking of big real estate deals, a 795-acre parcel of land straddling between Fairview and Swannanoa that was once part of the Cliffs at High Carolina development where Tiger Woods planned to design a golf course is for sale, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times (paywall.) The asking price: $24 million.

-Iron Hen restaurant inside the Hilton Garden Inn hotel on College Street in downtown Asheville has closed. The independent restaurant, a second location for the Greensboro-based eatery, was open about a year. The restaurant has now been branded Pillar restaurant. (Pillar is also name of the hotel’s upstairs bar.)

-Mela restaurant on North Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville has been sold to the owners of India Garden restaurant. Mela continues to operate, with few visible changes from the outside.

-Jack Connors, the general manager at WLOS/WMYA-TV for the past 13 years, has retired. Connors expanded local news programming and oversaw the construction of a new news set at the station back in 2008, according to a WLOS report. Joe Fishleigh, the station’s sales director, will take over as GM.

-Everyday Health in Asheville, formerly known as Doctor Directory, laid off 11 people last week, a source says. This follows layoffs last December after the online giant Ziff Davis acquired Everyday Health. New York-based Everyday Health acquired Asheville start-up DoctorDirectory for $65 million. It was thought to be the biggest tech company deal of its kind in Western North Carolina when it was announced in 2014. DoctorDirectory employed 80 people in downtown Asheville at the time. Another 20 or so employee were expected to be hired following that acquisition.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Murphy June 6, 2017

    It won’t be long before “Pillar” closes as well…
    bad location, no presence from the street, no indication of where to park, the food is irrelevant regardless of the name/concept – and with only hotel guests to keep the place going it’s just not going to happen.

    Iron Hen didn’t even make it a year.

    It will be interesting to see how all the new places in the soon to open new hotels popping up downtown will do as well… soome will have high profile (no pun intended) locations to help them out but competition will be stiff for both empoyees and customers.

    1. luther blissett June 7, 2017

      It looks like it’s been pared down to breakfasts, which will probably work for hotel guests, given that the Hilton Garden concept is business/meeting-oriented. Expecting that location to pull in non-hotel customers was probably a stretch even if the reviews hadn’t been meh: it had gone through one change of management already.

  2. Big Al June 5, 2017

    Not a big surprise about Iron Hen. Their online customer reviews ranged from blah to horrible.


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