Ashvegas Hot Sheet: Mountain Housing Opportunities project bleeds cash

Jason Sandford

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

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eagle_market_place_construction_2015Some of what’s going around:

-Mountain Housing Opportunities project bleeds cash: Last week, the Asheville Citizen-Times‘ John Boyle reported that the cost to fix a faulty concrete slab on the Mountain Housing Opportunities project known as Eagle Market Place could cost “less than $3 million.” At least MHO officials owned up to that. Last October, when I first started inquiring about the bad concrete, the MHO’s Cindy Weeks assured me that the problem would be fixed quickly and that the cost would be nowhere near the $1 million that I had heard was the repair estimate. From Boyle’s update:

Wyatt Stevens, the attorney representing one of the project’s development partners, Mountain Housing Opportunities, said their consulting engineers “have recommended demolition and replacement of the first and second floor concrete slabs.”

“Prices are still being developed, but the initial estimated cost of that plan is less than $3 million,” Stevens said. “We also consulted with a specialty concrete repair company to evaluate whether the slabs could be repaired with carbon fiber, instead of replacing them. Unfortunately, we learned recently that the initial estimated cost of that plan would be $4 million.”

Work stopped on the Eagle Market Place project last October after problems with the concrete emerged, and no work has happened since. The $14-million building was supposed to open this spring.

Thanks for staying on this, John.

Brain center is growing: From a press release:

APEX Brain Centers, a leading-edge brain training facility in South Asheville with performance-based boot camps, has been selected for the Entrepreneur in Residence program through A-B Tech Community College thanks to grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Association, Buncombe County, and additional resources from A-B Tech. APEX has been identified as a unique company with high growth potential, and this incredible opportunity will equip APEX and select other local businesses with invaluable tools needed to grow their business to the next level and beyond. APEX Brain Centers provides individuals of all ability levels a richer experience of life through targeted brain training.

-Root Bottom Farm dinners: There’s a new farm-to-table dinner series I just discovered out in Madison County that sounds delicious. It’s at Root Bottom Farm. Here’s the description:

Imagine sitting with your friends at a long table decorated with fresh cut flowers, vintage dinner plates and Mason jars. The food is fresh, organic and locally grown just yards from your seat. Come join Root Bottom Farm for a delicious 100% local meal in beautiful Madison County, NC. We would love to save a seat at our table for you! 100% Local Madison County cuisine prepared by local chef and Blessed to Cook owner, Dava Melton. Tickets are $50 a plate. Includes tour and spirits. Farmers stand produce will be available for purchase. Vegetarian & Gluten Free. Saturdays, July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 5. Farm tour at 6 and dinner at 7.

-Crowdfunding projects: Two Asheville crowd-funding campaigns of interest:

Roots + Wings Creative Campus: The school is seeking $30,000 from the public via an indiegogo campaign. Here’s more:

Roots + Wings School of Art and Design is a unique, locally grown art and design education organization located in Asheville, North Carolina. Our mission is to nurture and encourage the natural creativity within students of all ages through innovative design, dynamic art education and community collaboration. We accomplish this through a diverse collection of programs that serve multiple generations, encouraging and developing imagination, creativity, innovation, critical thinking and confidence.

Roots + Wings will be opening its new Creative Campus in Asheville’s Oakley neighborhood this summer. The campus will be located on a one-acre site at 573 Fairview Road, where we are renovating a 9,000 square foot brick building, adding a new natural playground and new landscaping to create an urban oasis with outdoor learning opportunities for all ages. The new facility will allow Roots + Wings to grow and expand – offering many more programs for ages 3 up through adults – and all on site in one place. The new facility will also create opportunities for greater community participation and outreach. We believe that working across multiple generations closes impossible gaps. We have seen life-changing relationships built through collaboration. Therefore we see creativity, and the tools of art and design, as an opportunity to bring about positive change to our communities and ourselves.

LaViewEye protein/cricket bars: The business is seeking $40,000 in public backing via indiegogo. Here’s more:

Hi, we are the DeRonne Family! We need a place and the tools to build our Protein/Energy Bar business. We will give back through personally connecting our community and working towards becoming a B Corp. Read on to hear the whole story!

We have a vision, and we have a lot of determination! We want to save the world! We want to save the planet from deforestation and we want to save our water from contamination. It’s hard to figure out where to start. It seems like everyone is confused about finding a solution.

We feel like some of the problems we face today come from mass production of livestock, and the lack of home edible gardening and farming. Imagine how our lives would change if we all started producing our own food, and taking part in our communities again. Instead of fighting the old, we’re building the new!

One way we can start making a huge impact is by incorporating insects into our diets. Insects! Entomophagy to be exact. Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects. Now, hold on. 80% of the world already eats insects. As a matter of fact, we all used to eat insects. ….

We have been creating delicious healthy snacks and treats with cricket powder…flavors like Orange Carrot, Ginger Vanilla, and Blueberry Maca! Alyssa has carefully designed each mostly-organic, gluten-free protein bar for exquisite taste and specific health benefits. For instance, most of the bars contain Himalayan pink sea salt which is said to regulate water content in the body, promote healthy ph balance in cells, maintain blood sugar levels, and reduce the signs of aging. If you scroll down you can learn about each bar and it’s benefits.



Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Graham Gray November 9, 2015

    Hey, just read in the ACT today, Nov 9, 2015, about MHO choosing to go to the city for financial assistance as it relates to financial fallout from the $4 million budget overrun from the concrete error.
    Most cities require that the private investors in a real estate project act first, before asking the city to do anything. That is smart move. MHO has private investors in the Eagle-Market Place, the investors are located in Raleigh and they are experienced in financing these types of budget overruns, yes, even $4 million overruns. They have the reserve accounts to fund these overruns. But they will only do it as a last resort.
    Mayor Mannheim, City Council and city staff should require that MHO get their investors to put more of their investor money into the project before asking the city to reduce the interest rate payments that need to be paid on a 2% loan to MHO for the real estate.
    MHO’s investor will not let the project go incomplete because these investors already took the federal tax credits given to them for the real estate and filed them with their tax returns last year and earlier. Now they are legally required by the IRS to ensure that the real estate is completed, otherwise they will have to give back the tax credits, a very arduous and financially painful task that comes with IRS penalties. The investors typically get a whopping 16% to 22% total return on their investment in tax-credit real estate for rental housing. So let these investors take a hit! Not us taxpayers.
    MHO knows this but they will not tell the public or council unless forced to admit it. We taxpayers need to call every bluff presented by MHO. Mayor Mannheim is an attorney and she has access to tax credt and real estate attorneys who know this, why play this game?

  2. Big Al May 31, 2015

    They ate processed cockroaches in “Snowpiercer”.

    Art imitates life.

  3. Matt May 30, 2015

    If at all possible, Jason, some clarification would be great on why MHO is responsible for this mistake.

    1. IceNine May 30, 2015

      MHO is not responsible for the mistake, and I don’t think Jason ever said they were. Sounds like the design team is responsible, and will be held accountable.

  4. Barry Summers May 29, 2015

    Isn’t it bad luck to kill crickets? Perhaps it’s OK for us to eat them after they’re dead, but I wouldn’t want to be the guy snuffing all of them.

  5. GinGin May 29, 2015

    I am looking at a Cricket Bar on my kitchen counter. Citrus Cardamom is my favorite! Who knew? Love it!

  6. Harry May 28, 2015

    Sounds like another Pack Square Park fiasco to me.

  7. orulz May 28, 2015

    Hopefully MHO and the city won’t be on the hook for any of that $3 million. This is on either the engineers who designed this or the contractors who built it.

  8. indie499 May 28, 2015

    Wow, 32 people have agreed to part with $3k for this nonsense.

    1. Harry May 28, 2015

      Yeah. I’ve made it all these years without eating cricket powder. I’m good…

    2. Matt May 30, 2015

      Why is that nonsense? Just curious. To me it seems like a great idea, for all the reasons laid out in their announcement.

      One thing they don’t explain is that cricket powder is odorless and flavorless. It’s basically just a nutritional ingredient in a bar that tastes like any other bar.

      1. indie499 May 31, 2015

        If people want to eat cricket powder, have at it.

        I dislike like terms like “the business is seeking $40,000 in public backing…”. No the business is seeking chumps to essentially gift $40,000.

        1. Barry Summers June 1, 2015

          Years ago, I saw a story about a one-line ad on the back of the Village Voice. All it said was “Send $5 now!”, and then a PO box. Apparently, whoever did it made a fair amount of money, while promising absolutely nothing in return.


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