The Parisian Hotel proposal is coming back for a review as developers look to finally move ahead with its construction, according to Sage Turner, chairwoman of the Asheville Downtown Commission. She reports on the Asheville Politics group on Facebook that the commission will review updated facade plans at its next meeting in December.
Asheville City Council approved a one-year moratorium on new hotel construction proposals back in September. But the Parisian developers, Florida-based MRK Property Development, won approval for its 6-story, 61-room hotel at 68 Patton Ave. back in February 2017. The city granted developers a six-month extension to that one-year permit, allowing it to be good through July 2020. That’s the deadline for MRK to submit building plans and seek building permits for the project.
The Patton Avenue location is a former Bank of America building that now sits empty and right across the street from Pritchard Park. MRK bought the building for $3.2 million back in 2014. MRK also purchased a Buncombe Street parking lot behind the building for another $481,000.
Project architect Peter Alberice’s design was criticized by both members of the Asheville Downtown Commission and the Asheville Planning & Zoning Commission when it came to them for review.
“With all due respect to Mr. Alberice, he has achieved the ‘Frechness’ of the project a little too much,” P&Z commission member Laura Hudson said at the time.
“I think we should be aware that Asheville is not a theme park,” Hudson said. “There’s something frustrating having Asheville turn into something Vegas-like. Is the next one going to be a pyramid?”
A member of the Downtown Commission called the design “cheesy.” The Downtown Commission ultimately voted against the project, while P&Z approved it. City development rules at this time gave P&Z the final approval power over the project.
The Parisian’s initial plans called for adding a couple of floors to the existing building. But in a June 2018 update, a city planner said MRK had dropped plans to add additional floors to the building and were planning a smaller, 45-room boutique hotel. The update came as the developers submitted plans for a new 10-story structure on Buncombe Street called the Parisian Residences that would include a parking deck, 39 residential condominium units and 16 hotel units. Developers have not pursued those condo/hotel plans.