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Nindec

DT Asheville hotel proposed

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From the Citizen-Times

250-280 rooms, located near the civic center.

They are apparantly looking at land west of Lexington -- I hope a few good solid blocks, as something too close that size could be the end of one of Asheville's funkiest neighborhoods around north Lexington.

They are hoping it will prompt the city to take some action on much needed civic center renovations.

Sounds like good news to me. Kind of illustrates the different places Raleigh and Asheville are, with Raleigh begging hotels to build near its enourmously expensive new convention center and hotels begging Asheville to renovate their civic center.

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They mentioned something about a city-owned piece of land on Rankin Ave. which sounds fine to me. There's a few parking lots behind the civic center there, and then the big lot on Lexington below Hiawassee. I wouldn't be sad at all if that parking lot went away, but I guess having a new, large hotel on Lexington wouldn't exactly fit in well with the neigborhood. It'd be great if they could do something with that huge surface lot behind the BellSouth building on Haywood, but I hear BellSouth is very reluctant to let go of it. Perhaps the lot between Haywood and the old Battery Park Hotel?

Or ... dare we to dream? Maybe they'll build the tower on top of the Grove Arcade!! I'd bet money that the Grove Building will be completed, sometime... but I always figured it would be in the distant future. I remember the city discussing it back in '95 when the NOAA finally moved out of the arcade. Evidently the structural members in the building are hefty enough to take the weight... and construction might even be possible without closing the arcade. I wonder how much in the way of plans and drawings for the tower are left from back in the '20s when the Depression hit, Grove died, and construction halted? They apparently had some original blueprints to work with for the restoration of the Arcade. Anyway, if there is enough on hand, it would be an expensive project - but it would probably qualify for historic preservation tax credits, and it would be worth it for the chance to build a brand new (but still historic and original!) art deco building in Asheville. It could easily rival City Hall for the position of "most distinctive building in Downtown."

Of course the chances anything will actually happen are certainly no higher than 50%, and the chance but let the speculation begin! How big would a 280 room hotel be? that'd probably be at least 14 stories, given how the small small block size in DT Asheville seriously limits the footprints.... and maybe, just maybe, it will be less of a nondescript box than the Renaissance.

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OK, it's been more than a year since the huge press conference and the silence is deafening. What's going on here?

Is Hammons waiting on a decision to be made about the Civic Center? If so, he'll be waiting for a few decades yet...

Meanwhile, hotel space in downtown Asheville is inadequate, and Fridays / Saturdays frequently book up at the Renaissance and the Best Western a week or more in advance, even on weekends when there are no events.

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