Update: Grove Arcade, downtown Asheville’s largest building, not for sale

Jason Sandford

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

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grove_arcade_sale_asheville_2014Update Sept. 13: Here’s the latest from Ashvegas contributor David Forbes, who checked out the rumor for me:

For weeks, the rumor has run through Asheville, including on this site, as well as in a piece in the Asheville Tribune.

But according to those owning and overseeing the Grove Arcade itself, a rumor is all it is.

“This rumor goes around every few years,” Ruth Summers, executive director of the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation, the nonprofit that runs the building, says. “There are no discussions of a change of ownership.”

Summers noted that over the years Progress (now Duke) Energy, which operates some of the floors, had broached the idea of turning them from luxury apartments into condos. But for now, the apartments are still rental units and as far as a larger sale “there’s nothing we’re aware of. It [the Arcade] is not on the market.”

“There’s not been any discussion on our end about this,” Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer says.

“The short answer is: no, it’s not for sale,” Duke Energy spokesperson Randy Wheeless adds. He also forwarded an official statement from Duke in response to the rumor, reading:

The Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation holds the master lease for the building with the City of Asheville. The lease is a for 99-years with a 99 yr. renewal option. Duke Energy Progress also has a long-term lease to manage the 2-5th floors. These rumors come up from time to time, but the Grove Arcade isn’t currently on the market.

The ownership of the arcade is a bit complicated, to put it mildly. The city of Asheville holds the deed, but Duke Energy manages the top floors and the nonprofit foundation administers the building on a 99-year lease.

Recent years have seen the foundation turn to the city for additional help, sometimes controversially, as its faced challenges maintaining the massive historic structure and paying its debts. But despite those challenges, those involved are saying they don’t see a sale in the cards anytime soon.

Update Sept. 8: I’ve asked Ashvegas contributor David Forbes to seek out more information. He’s in the process of doing so, although a death in his family has delayed his reporting. I’ll post an update as soon as Forbes gets back to me.

Original post Aug. 28: Word on the street is that the Grove Arcade, the largest building in downtown Asheville, is up for sale.

Anyone walking by the arcade has noticed a lot of renovation work happening, including major roof repairs. Apparently it’s all being done to get the building up to snuff for a new buyer.

Here’s your primer on the complicated history of the Grove Arcade building, from a 2002 press release issued when then-Progress Energy and the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation took control of the building:

The federal government has given the Arcade to the City of Asheville, which in turn has leased the Arcade to the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation for a renewable term of 99 years for nominal rent.

Built in 1929, the 260,000-square-foot Grove Arcade building is being converted by Progress Energy and the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation into residential, retail and office space. An outstanding restoration effort led by David Rogers of Rogers Associates and Weaver Cook Construction, LLC, is nearing completion. Progress Energy purchased historic tax credits to support the project and is the sole investor in the top four floors of the five-story building. One of Progress Energy’s floors will be used for office space and three floors will be converted into luxury apartments. Landmark Management, Inc. is the leasing agent for the residential and office space.

The Grove Arcade is downtown Asheville’s largest building. In the 1980s, it was entered on the National Register of Historic Places. From the time of its opening in 1929 until 1942, the Grove Arcade was a center of commercial and civic life in Asheville. When the federal government took over the Arcade in 1942 as part of the war effort, 78 shops and 127 offices were evicted with less than a month’s notice. Following the war, a clamor began to return the Grove Arcade to its original public and retail use.


Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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  1. Reed Coston September 11, 2014

    My client would like to buy the property. Who can we get in touch with?

    1. theOtherBarry September 13, 2014

      I’ll sell it to ya. Cash only, non-sequential bills.

  2. Dave September 2, 2014

    “Word on the street?” Great source!

    1. Jason Sandford September 2, 2014


  3. doghaus28815 August 30, 2014

    I got 200 bucks on the deal.

  4. Jack August 30, 2014

    I hope it turns into a walmart.

  5. Selene August 29, 2014

    This is confusing. Would the sale void the 99 year renewable lease?

  6. Murphy August 29, 2014

    I thought the City owned it and in turn it is leased for 100 years (or so) for $1 a year to the Public Market Foundation…

    seems kinda’ odd for the City to sell…

  7. John August 28, 2014

    Is the building actually being sold by the city, or just the lease held by this Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation?


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