Rumor controlled: Starbucks not coming to old S&W space in downtown

Jason Sandford

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

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UPDATE at 9 a.m. July 25: I talked to Brett Krueger Tuesday night about 8 p.m. He represents the investors who now own the S&W building and old Windsor Hotel in downtown. (See background below.)

Krueger said there are no plans for Starbucks to locate a retail location in the S&W building, which has been refurbished and stands ready to be leased. Krueger said he’s had interest from various parties, but no leas agreements have been signed, either for the S&W or the Windsor, which will have condos above and retail space below.

On a lighter note, Krueger said he’s in Asheville this week and has visited often. He and his fellow business partners plan to attend Bele Chere, he said.


The rumor swirling around town today is that Starbucks is looking at moving into the old S&W Cafeteria building on Patton Avenue. We’re checking on that.

The location has a great history. Built in 1929, the building is an iconic example of Asheville’s art deco movement in architecture. Inside and out, it is a stunning structure. The cafeteria closed in 1974 and was once the heart of downtown Asheville. The space was most recently the site of an upscale restaurant called Steak & Wine.

Florida-based investors bought most of the building from a bank on Jan. 31, 2011, for just less than $2 million. The investors did not buy three condos on the upper floors of the building.

Back in 2007, S&W Condominium Corp. bought the building for $2.45 million with plans to open the restaurant and remodel the upper floors into downtown condos. A bank foreclosed on the loan for that, which led to last year’s sale to the Florida investors.

Back in February, a spokesman for the company said it had plans to lease the old cafeteria space to a major restaurant. A related company bought the old Windsor Hotel building at the corner of Broadway and Walnut streets.

There’s your background. Anyone know anything more?

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. M July 25, 2012

    I’m the guy that started that rumor. the original plan was to get ’em all spun up then organize a protest then sit and drink at somewhere like the yacht club and watch those fools protest something that isn’t happening. Thanks for playing.

  2. Murphy July 25, 2012

    I feel that IF Starbucks wanted to “be in downtown” they would already be here …
    there are currently 10 locations in the AVL area (including those inside other businesses such as Ingles).

  3. FDR July 25, 2012

    Having a Starbucks in a downtown is a smart decision. It makes tourist feel safe by having something familiar to them. If the tourist feel safe they will stay longer and spend money thus supporting the local economy.

    It is a trickle down effect. Regardless of much the hipsters and fake hippies want to keep Asheville weird and economically depressed they have no control over growth. The growth will come and once Asheville is filled up, then West Asheville, and surrounding towns such as Weaverville and Black Mountain. People want to move here for the same reason you live here. That means a more sustainable economy for everyone including the hipsters and fake hippies we have so many of.

  4. ThePhan July 25, 2012

    Now that the navel gazing over Trader Joe’s is over, I was hoping the next round of rumor control would focus on when Costco is coming here. Instead, it’s when we’re going to see the mermaid logo inevitably show up in downtown Asheville.

  5. Bocephus Maximus July 25, 2012

    Tourist also want Dream Catchers and airbrushed tee-shirts. Does that mean we should put a Dream Catcher and Tee-shirt shop in the old S&W? The thing that attracts visitors is Asheville’s uniqueness. Homogenized chain stores erode that uniquness. Even if a tourist would never get a coffe at Firestorm, they come here because of places like Firestorm. And really, if someone wants a Starbucks Frapawackoff, the one on Charlotte is not far, and they have free parking.

  6. plastic paddy July 25, 2012

    So if they put one in the Loft, put one in the old S & W I guess that just leaves Lexington Ave.

  7. FDR July 24, 2012

    Tourist love coffee that they usually drink. At Starbucks you can rely on good service and the same coffee you got in another city. Many downtown employees love Starbucks as well. Just wait until one opens up because they are a great employer to work for. But as you said, location means everything and I agree.

  8. Kevin Greene July 24, 2012

    If they try to put Starbucks in the little shop that at once housed the seafood restaurant (next to the main S&W restaurant), I think they could do very well. If they try to put it in the huge main 2-story banquet hall, they will not last very long in my opinion.

    Everyone will bitch about Starbucks coming, but it was inevitable and tourists like consistency.

    1. Smorgasbord Aurelius July 24, 2012

      Everyone on Earth is a tourist,& consistency would do wonders for other coffee establishments in town, but not of the mediocre ilk.


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