It’s back to the drawing board for a new hotel proposed near Biltmore Village after an Asheville advisory board unanimously rejected its initial design.
The Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission voted 10-0 in saying that the Biltmore Station Hotel project doesn’t “align with the intent” of River District design review guidelines during its January meeting. Those guidelines encourage building design that does things such as address its riverfront location (one side of the building faces the Swannanoa River), reference the architecture and character of buildings in the area and use landscape design to help it fit into the area. The building design as proposed didn’t do much of that, commission members said.
Developers are now re-working the proposal, a 5-story, 117-room Home2 Suites by Hilton proposed for 61 Thompson St. It’s name, Biltmore Station Hotel, is a reference to the Biltmore Station shopping center nearby, which is home to Ichiban restaurant, Pour Taproom and other businesses.
The Asheville hotel proposal is the third this month to receive negative feedback or a downright “No” this year from city boards. A push back against an ongoing hotel-building boom has been growing for a couple of years now as massive new hotels have been going up around Asheville, but especially in downtown.
Earlier this week, Asheville City Council unanimously to deny plans for a new Embassy Suites hotel on Haywood Street. And earlier this month, the Asheville Downtown Commission voted to reject plans for The Parisian hotel proposed for Patton Avenue.
The Biltmore Village area hasn’t seen much of the new hotel construction, which has been centered on downtown, with two other major traffic corridors seeing new construction – Tunnel Road on the east side of town, and Airport Road south of downtown. Posh Boutique Hotel opened in 2014 in an existing building that was renovated on Village Lane in Biltmore Village proper. Before that, The Grand Bohemian Hotel opened in 2009 right across from the entrance to The Biltmore Estate, which draws about 1 million tourists a year.
There’s also word on the street that a new Courtyard by Marriott is planned for Biltmore Village. I’m working on tracking that proposal down.
The design is bad. We need to be choosy like Charleston. If we are strict, not only will the city become more livable and beautiful, but also more tourists will come. Most likely, developers will comply with the standards to meet the demand. Otherwise fewer hotels will weed out the poorer tourists who spend less.
As I said before, the city is way behind other cities in developing greenways and their riverfront. The Falls Park on the Reedy in downtown Greenville is a good example of well-developed riverfront. We could much better in terms of design and amenities on the Swannanoa and French Broad. The power lines on both sides of the Swannanoa River somehow need to go or be consolidated. Also, I would tear down all builds on the north side of the Swannanoa River when time comes to widen the road. That will leave plenty of green space. I wish the south side of the river would have been an urban extension of Biltmore Village matching and improving its design standards using higher quality building materials.
“…but also more tourists will come.”
MORE???!!! Downtown is literally FLOODED with tourists every Spring, Summer and Fall day of the year. I have actually come to LOVE the freezing months as they are the only time that I can get out and do stuff without fighting hordes of tourists and the army of bums that feed off of them.
Speaking of floods, that’s probably the reason why a Swannanoa redevelopment corridor won’t happen any time, even though there’s potential there with all the industrial stuff. A repeat of 2004 (or even 2013) would be a mess. It’ll be done one project at a time, and each project will change the character either side of the river.
That’s a hilariously bad design. It looks like a Lego Hotel built by a little kid.
There’s also a Holiday Inn being built right now on the site of the former Howard Johnson Inn. Not sure of the schedule, but it looks like it should be done at some point in 2017.