Word on the street: First Asheville River Arts District boutique hotel being planned

Jason Sandford

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

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Word on the street is that the a boutique hotel is being planned for Asheville’s booming River Arts District.

The location: a giant of a building at 95 Roberts St. next to the Phil Mechanic Building. Two years ago, the plan was to develop the five-story building as home to a mix of uses, from artist studios to restaurant, retail and office space. The property owner also imagined a rooftop deck affording a magnificent view of the River Arts District.

Those plans never materialized. Now there’s word that White Point Partners is acquiring the property and plans to develop it as a boutique hotel. This information is unconfirmed.

White Point Partners is a private investment firm specializing in the acquisition, development and repositioning of commercial, multifamily and self storage real estate assets throughout the U.S., according to its website, with a particular focus on the South.

It’s the first discussion of a hotel for the area, which is a hotbed of current and planned development. A massive $50 million infrastructure project is underway, which will bring significant road improvements to the area. Meantime, Asheville has seen a hotel-building boom the past few years, with construction centered on tourist hot-spots such as downtown and Biltmore Village.

Here’s a little more history on the 95 Roberts St. building, known as the Kent Building: A railroad spur once serviced the muscular building, which was home to a grocery distributorship. (The names Kent and Ebbs grace the exterior of the building.) Interior elevators serviced each floor. The building was so solid that is was once designated as Asheville’s official fallout shelter in case of nuclear war or a nuclear accident. A separate building once stood attached to the north side of the building, but it burned in a fire, leaving space that will be used as an outdoor courtyard.

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Edison Carter August 6, 2017

    Gee, and we wonder why just the other day we read that AirBnB accommodations for those that wish to visit the River Arts District for a more affordable price was nixed? There is your reason: Money talks, and everything else, walks.

  2. Jason July 27, 2017

    This is great! Finally something may happen to that old building. I’m so tired of hearing about “mixed use, artist space, restaurants, shopping…blah blah blah” Just build something already. It’s a freaking dump right now.


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