Former greenhouse property in West Asheville finding new life as live/work studios

Jason Sandford

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

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smith_mill_works_may_2015_ashevilleSeveral friends have been spreading the word via FB about Smith Mill Works off Johnston School Road in West Asheville. The property is known as the former Hyman Young greenhouses property.

The 27-acre site, which was once a state-designated brownfield, is being repurposed as a home to sustainability-focused businesses. Mushroom growers, aquaponics folks and other food production business are apparently sharing space here (I haven’t toured the site yet), with other greenhouses for rent.

I’ve heard that greenhouse space rental is cheap, and that there are several houses on the property that are being converted into offices and live/work artist studios.

A little history here about the site via Mountain Xpress and a 2011 story:

In 1997, significant contamination was found at the former Hyman Young Greenhouse on Cedar Hill Road, both in soils on the property and in a neighbor’s well. Pesticides, heavy metals and trichloroethylene (an industrial solvent that is one of the primary concerns at the CTS site) have been identified along with evidence of a sizable fuel-oil spill. After the responsible party declared bankruptcy around 2004, the state hired a contractor to conduct ground-water recovery and treatment. Referred to the Inactive Sites Branch in 2007, the property is still awaiting a complete assessment.

From the Smith Mill Creek website:

By the mid-2000’s, the petroleum was cleaned up, and the new owners prepped the property for lease/resell. Over time, with no viable deals or developments, the property, again fell into disuse, and the facilities continued to deteriorate.

In 2014, Michael Klatt discovered it while searching for warehouse space to expand his mushroom growing/supply business. Upon seeing its fertile potential for not only his own business, but other (limitless) options, he purchased it. Since July, 2014 the property has been undergoing a large-scale restoration and rejuvenation, working closely with the the Department of Natural Resources to ensure its long term health and safety. Smith Mill Works LLC was started in 2015.



Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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