For Sale: The Phil Mechanic building in Asheville’s River Arts District, for $1.9 million

Jason Sandford

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

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phil_mechanic_studio_2014The Phil Mechanic Studios building on Roberts Street has been an anchor in Asheville’s River Arts District for a decade. It houses an eclectic mix of studios for working artists. It is also home to two of Asheville’s coolest galleries: The Flood Gallery and The Pump Gallery.

The building is now up for sale for $1.9 million. Here’s the listing brochure.

The news arrives amid a series of recent changes in the River Arts District, changes that some would call a gradual gentrification. Asheville City Council is pumping millions of taxpayers’ dollars into infrastructure improvements in the district as New Belgium Brewing begins construction on its new $175 million brewery just across the French Broad River from the RAD. Over the past couple of years, a couple of derelict buildings have been torn down, and a new ownership group took over the Wedge Studios, another RAD stalwart, and pushed out some artists while adding some new retail businesses, including a hair salon and a restaurant. Also, the building next door to the Phil Mechanic sold late last year for nearly $2 million to an architect in Hickory.

Jolene Mechanic and Mitch Mechanic inherited the Phil Mechanic from Mitch’s father, according to this story in the Mountain Xpress. Click over to read more of the history of the building.

More detail as I get it.

UPDATE: Here’s the contact information from the Realtor handling this listing:

Luiz Leonetti
Broker / REALTOR®
Town and Mountain Realty
828 575.4428

And a little more from the listing:phil_mechanic_guts_2014

The Phil Mechanic Building
Seller seeks qualified buyers to acquire the property

Located in the heart of the River Arts District, the Phil Mechanic Studios building is comprised of 5 floors, side patio, loading dock, and parking lot.

MLS# 554988 – KARNES# 484818

Prime location
±70% of Gross Area currently LEASED!
Freight elevator serving 04 floors
3-phase electrical power
High ceilings and open floor plans and so much more…


Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. JBo February 4, 2014

    Even though it’s with a heavy heart that I see this – I wish Jolene & Mitch all the luck in the world. They’ve worked harder than anyone I know to advocate and allow a place for the arts in this city. So many kudos to them and no matter what happens next they deserve nothing but applause for what they’ve managed to do for the arts & artists of Asheville.

    As for the artists that are in the building – I hope that somehow the arts sector as a whole manages to come together to advocate for itself if it wishes to remain a key ingredient Asheville’s beloved character. Artists are the MOST resourceful people, so I know they’ll land on their feet no matter what – but the times, they are a changin’. Art will exist no matter what – – – just maybe not be in the ‘River Arts District.’

  2. ArtsyFartsy February 4, 2014

    as much as I hate to say it but told ya so…

    Asheville has an arts scene undoubtedly (for now), but it is & no longer will be an arts destination. Beer & foodie hipsters, bro-mancers, & retirees come forth, but artists need to find a new home. Asheville had more than it’s fair chance to represent itself as an arts haven & destination and really invest in the importance of the arts & crafts industry and what that means for the immediate present and future of this town, but it flubbed it up more than once in more than one way. Such a shame & disappointment.

  3. interested in Real Estate February 4, 2014

    Would it be feasible for the eight (?) current tenants to purchase the building as a group? Would their individual share of the mortgage payments be much greater than their current rents? If the artists – and 0thers- want to protect against gentrification, isn’t ownership the only way?
    Not clear why visual artists, in distinction from other workers or small business owners, should have protected low rents?

  4. avlforeal February 3, 2014

    Head North young child! Marshall NC that’s the next artist hotspot!

    1. Big Al February 4, 2014

      That would be cool. I love any excuse to visit the studios in the old high school on Blannahassett (sp?) Island.

      1. Scottonmtn February 4, 2014

        Marshall has become a destination for a lot of artists, and it’s only 25 minutes from Pack Square and on the river. There are probably 40-50 artsts working there, at Marshall High Studio as well as in other buildings. My guess is that the trinket makers who are producing stuff for the tourists will stay in the RAD, while others will want to find a place where they can create good work and be part of a community will find places like Marshall.
        As one friend told me: “I want to get out of the RAD before the first t-shirt shop opens”

  5. Craig Collins February 3, 2014

    I have this feeling that ten years from now (or less) we are going to be looking for a new (affordable) artist district, as distinct from the funky cafe-slash-gallery-slash-gift shop area that RAD will become. In the meantime, rents will rise and artists will be winnowed out.

    1. luther blissett February 3, 2014

      Isn’t that always the way? If you want to be at the heart of the next artists’ district, then it’s time to strike out and find it.

      1. theOtherBarry February 3, 2014

        Just don’t tell anyone you found it.

  6. Asheville Artist February 3, 2014

    What will happen to the biofuels biz? The artists studios?

    Is this verified fact or rumor control?

    1. Z February 4, 2014

      If there is a legit realtor listing for this property I would think that it would be a fact. Depends on who buys the building, if rents will increase or leases will be terminated. The business or artist doesn’t really have a say, unless they have 2 mil to buy the place. Hopefully it will become a taco pizza restaurant.

    2. Anon February 4, 2014

      Unfortunately, as a former tenant, I can say that the artists do not hold leases. There will be nothing in place to protect them in the event of a sale. This is so sad.


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