Word on the street is that the old Matthews Ford property at 325 Biltmore Ave. just south of downtown is going to be the site of a new Duke Energy power substation. The property is just south of downtown Asheville.
Word is Asheville needs a new substation to supply power for all the growth in the area. The site is near Mission Health, which is planning to build a new $350 million tower on its campus in coming years.
Matthews Ford is pretty big (5.26 acres spanning on either side of Biltmore) and it wouldn’t really make sense to turn the whole thing into a substation. There is a big parking lot in back that is accessible from Frederick Street. If they do put in a substation maybe it will go back there? Under such a scenario, the majority of the land along Biltmore Ave would probably be sold to a developer.
These kinds of deals are pretty common. Power companies own a lot of land and end up with surplus property all the time. It’s often in their interest to sell it off or develop it rather than hold onto it forever. Crescent Resources, a major developer, got their start as the real estate development arm of Duke Energy, developing surplus lands owned by the power company, before getting spun off into a separate company.
Next to the Bland Light Rail station in Charlotte, there is a power substation surrounded by mixed use condos and apartment buildings. Don’t quote me on this but I believe the power company owned a large piece of land, subdivided it, and kept only the land necessary for the substation towards the back of the lot. The substation itself only takes up a bit more than 3/4 acre.
So to sum up I wouldn’t worry too much about the substation, necessarily.
The thing I WOULD watch out for, is how are they going to get power to feed this substation? There will probably wind up being a bunch of new high voltage transmission lines zig zagging across the city to get there. These sort of projects almost always go under the radar and get rubber stamped but can have a pretty significant visual impact in terms of the wires themselves as well as the trees that have to get cut down in order to put in the lines. I guess this is the cost of development but hopefully they can do it as inconspicuously as possible.
I sure hope they dress it up a bit so its not an eyesore. That is high-profile dirt.
Isn’t that spot kinda’ “primo” real estate for an electric substation?
Exactly what I was thinking. If ever there were a location that would be a great fit for a hotel or condos, this is it!