Here’s what Asheville’s BB&T building will look like as a new luxury hotel

Jason Sandford

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

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vandre_nouveau_hotel_asheville_2015Over the next two years, Asheville’s BB&T office building will be transformed into a luxury hotel and renamed the Vandre Nouveau Hotel, the Asheville Citizen-Times report today. John McKibbon of McKibbon Hotel Group is developing the new, independent hotel.

The Vandre Nouveau is part of a new brand of Starwood hotel known as Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio. Starwood is based in Stamford, Conn. Here’s more from the Stamford Advocate:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide chose an iconic Miami hotel to pioneer a new brand dubbed Tribute, with the new initiative to operate on a similar model to the hospitality giant’s Luxury Collection label that allows independent hotel owners to plug into the marketing muscle of Starwood.

Starwood (NYSE: HOT) is among the largest employers in Stamford with more than 1,100 employees entering 2015 and plans to hire at least 200 more by the end of next year. In February, former CEO Frits van Paasschen left the company over disagreements with the board on strategy, with Starwood installing as interim CEO Adam Aron, a seasoned hospitality executive.

Starwood’s planned new Tribute brand was in the works under van Paasschen, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that participating hotels would pay 10 percent of their room revenue to become part of Tribute, getting their properties listed on Starwood websites and their guests able to earn and redeem points under Starwood’s Preferred Guest (SPG) program.

So, Asheville, what do you think of the new look for the old BB&T? The Citizen-Times story goes on to say that the structure will be wider at the base and will have balconies. There will be a ground-level restaurant, meeting and event space. Part of the building will be remade into high-end condos, as well.

Image link for Vandre Nouveau Hotel.



Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Downtown Julie April 30, 2015

    I had sex on the top floor once with a banker, the view was awesome while he ground himself into me on the corporate conference table.

    1. hauntedheadnc April 30, 2015

      I believe we can file that in the “That’s Nice, Dear” drawer.

    2. Barry Summers April 30, 2015

      the view was awesome

      How was the table?

  2. Downtown Julie April 30, 2015

    We’ve all got better things to worry about than a hotel. Please.

    1. Tim Peck April 30, 2015

      It’s Asheville’s favorite sport. Yeah. Go get ’em, boys.

  3. Das Drew April 29, 2015

    That’s French for elitist douche.

  4. cwaster April 29, 2015

    Yay, more expensive stuff that none of us who actually live and work here can afford.

    1. murphy April 29, 2015

      If you live here why would you need to stay in a hotel?

      1. cwaster April 30, 2015

        To have a nice night out in downtown and not worry about having to drive.

        1. Fark April 30, 2015


        2. murphy April 30, 2015

          If you are experiencing “affordability issues” it is probably not a good idea to have “a night on the town” to start with…

          by the way, the local cabs are quite reasonable.

  5. jtroop April 29, 2015

    I’ve worked in this building…. it’s terrible! The interior spacing is all wrong on nearly every floor…the amount of work to get that joint updated is considerable and it only makes sense to redo the exterior at the same time.

    It also makes sense to change the usage… rent is too high for most small businesses…. plus the interior is unmanageable, parking is awful, etc.

    I would love to see it turned into flex space including some affordable housing, but this particular building, its positioning in downtown and the cost to bring it up to modern standards is just too damn expensive for anything other than retail/hotel.

    I am not a fan of the current exterior … and this seems better (w/ a dash of “meh”)… the ACT article does mention that the design could change..

  6. Good April 29, 2015

    It will be an improvement long over due.

  7. Selene April 28, 2015

    It’s not exactly polishing a turd, more like adding sparkles to a turd.

  8. b.c.w. April 28, 2015

    Since all the money from the Occupancy Tax goes straight back into tourism promotion, I expect to see this at some point…

    ‘Asheville – We Look More Like Charlotte Every Day’


    ‘Asheville – Luxury Appalachia’


    1. filmgrl April 30, 2015

      I hate it. Asheville isn’t the Asheville I enjoyed. It looks more like a generic suburb of Atlanta. In 10 years it will not be unrecognizable. The only thing left will be the small slivers of mountain views you see through the high rises built by investors from other states.
      The building should stop. Homes, hotels..all of it.
      We need some kind of underground movement. Not violent or destructive, just something to make it harder to ruin Asheville more than it has been already.

      1. Fark May 1, 2015

        I miss the Asheville with boarded up buildings downtown, the smut theater and all the women of the night. The artists all ruined that, no we look like a generic suburb of Portland.

  9. indie499 April 28, 2015

    Vast improvement, but hard to imagine what wouldn’t be. Only Luther apparently favors the butt ugly BBT.

    1. luther blissett April 29, 2015

      Oh, indie, I thought you’d be sympathetic to the BB&T because you also come across like the product of an older generation and don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

      1. luther blissett April 29, 2015

        And to be more specific: which bits of *modern* downtown architecture do you like?

        Don’t talk about the Pack Square buildings or Grove Arcade. Can’t build ’em like that these days. You’re going to get renovations like the Capital Center / First Union on Patton (another 1964 building that got the rooftop treatment) or dry-docked cruise ships like the Aloft or lightly-cladded concrete cubes like Hotel Indigo, or the Hyatt Place where 3 Brothers was, or the AC Parking Deck / Hotel.

        You’re so comfortable hatin’ on the old BB&T that you haven’t noticed how every large-scale building project downtown over recent years has turned out butt ugly, and how every ongoing and proposed project is butt ugly.

        1. ashevillain April 29, 2015

          I agree. All of the newer projects have turned out awful.

          At least the quasi-brutalism of the BB&T building is rooted in some sense of historical influence. With each new building it seems like each architect is trying to start a brand new trend but each one fails miserably.

  10. RobotDanceMonkey1975 April 28, 2015

    That looks “dope.”

  11. Mary Fierle April 28, 2015

    Someone, an architect at an architectural firm, designed this. Who?

  12. Barry Summers April 28, 2015

    “Room rates will be comparable to those at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville in Biltmore Village and The Omni Grove Park Inn, McKibbon said.

    “Regular rates at those hotels are roughly $400 per night.

    “It will absolutely be the nicest hotel in the city,” he said.”

    Until the next, bigger, glitzier Jewel in Asheville’s Crown.

    Gross, frankly.

    1. Former Reporter at WYPN April 28, 2015

      What would you rather see?

      1. FilmGrl April 28, 2015

        A park, housing for anyone other than the rich really.

      2. Barry Summers April 28, 2015

        Anything other than “high-end condos and luxury hotel” will be met with howls of derision, so why bother?

        But since you asked, how about some combination of hotel, condos, and workforce housing? McKibbon is plop-plop-plopping hotels in this town, three of them right there in the space of two blocks. But they’re doing nothing to alleviate the dearth of affordable housing for the employees of those hotels. They’re profiting mightily from the evolution of Asheville into a tourist/rich-person-only enclave, and giving nothing back except for really bright lights on the roof.

        Let the howls begin…

        1. Nate April 28, 2015

          You want affordable housing, market-rate condominiums *and* a full-service hotel located all in that one building? And for someone who is in the hotel-and-parking-lot business to suddenly go into affordable housing development, just because it’s the “right thing to do?” Keep dreaming.

        2. Former Reporter at WYPN April 28, 2015

          Serious question…when has downtown Asheville ever had workforce housing? I keep hearing about this desire to have workforce housing downtown, yet I wonder when was the last time it existed in critical mass.

          Fact is, this (in part) represents what the City of Asheville has stated it wants right now–to build up and increase the tax value of land in the city center, since annexation is no longer an option.

          1. Jody April 29, 2015

            I think of workforce housing as existing in the teens through the 50’s. Head of Montford, Stumptown, Highland St. neighborhood, Broad St. neighborhood, Valley Street, MLK neighborhood. Regardless of what is built, current land prices plus infrastructure are the immediate barrier.

        3. Tim Peck April 29, 2015

          It was hilarious watching city councilman Smith last night pleading with a developer to “please, please, partner with me, please” to bail him (that is, provide affordable housing at his expense and lose money) after a pattern of years of harassment and extortion of developers by the city. Too funny.

        4. Harry April 29, 2015

          No developer in their right mind is going to build “affordable housing” in downtown Asheville. Other than the emotional feel good, it makes no sense to do it.

        5. Fark April 29, 2015

          I plead ignorance. But why would workforce housing make sense in the highest valued real estate?

  13. ashevillemurphy April 28, 2015

    “The Citizen-Times story goes on to say that the structure will be wider at the base…

    Wonder how they will make the base wider…
    seems pretty landlocked for any additional “widening” to occur…

    1. CraveRecords April 28, 2015

      I imagine it will be expanded on the west side (the bank drive through lanes and surface parking) and maybe some on on the east side (the front plaza).

    2. willc April 28, 2015

      Maybe they will just narrow the top.

  14. Buttah April 28, 2015

    I’m a fan, except for that bank of lights up top. Aloft’s bank of lights already are distracting for nighttime views of the city, and nowhere near as tall as those will be. Hope Zoning makes then tone them down.

    1. Sean Lally April 28, 2015

      Good point.

  15. Sean Lally April 28, 2015

    Better than it is now…

    1. Wow April 28, 2015


    2. luther blissett April 28, 2015

      We’ll agree to differ on that. The BB&T is what it is: it’s an honest International Style building. This just looks… meh, the kind of building that will look not-quite-right very quickly, which is what we’ve come to expect from John McKibbon, parking lot architect.

      (That rendering is weird, because it doesn’t include the nine-story AC Hotel / parking lot that you’d assume would be visible from that position once the renovation’s done. Also weird to show it at twilight, not daytime.)

      Also, what kind of not-actually-French name is “Vandre Nouveau”?

      1. NFB April 28, 2015

        “Also, what kind of not-actually-French name is “Vandre Nouveau”?”

        Probably some sort of Eurotrash one.

        1. Barry Summers April 28, 2015

          Probably named after some French Broad.

      2. ashevillain April 28, 2015

        The 9 story hotel is on the north side of the Biltmore Building…the north side of College St. I think the rendering is accurate that it would not be visible from that vantage point.

        I will be one of the few who will miss the BB&T building’s architecture.

        1. luther blissett April 29, 2015

          Ah, my orientation was off. But the Biltmore Building’s only 6-stories (7 in the middle bit) so I bet the AC Hotel’s going to peek out from that bit of Pack Square.

  16. PBnJ April 28, 2015



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