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BB&T building conversion to hotel


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From Ashvegas:

 

The BB&T building and its parking deck will be redeveloped by McKibbon (the same group that built Aloft.) The final product will include a boutique hotel but specifics are lacking at the moment.

 

I am unusual in that I actually love the design and architecture of the BB&T building. Having grown up in Asheville, I think of the BB&T building as the ultimate symbol of downtown. Seeing the buildings that have been designed for McKibbon, especially the Haywood Street project, I just can't imagine anything being enough of an improvement to make it worthwhile. An honest (but not exemplary) international-style building is in my estimation far better than some faux-historic schlock.

 

Therefore, I am hoping that McKibbon's main interest is in the parking deck.

 

The absolute best-case scenario, in my opinion:

  • Tear down the parking deck and build a hotel there that looks like and is called the Langren (but includes a substantial integrated parking deck - like the Aloft)
  • Clean and update the exterior of the BB&T, perhaps by replacing the glass, making moderate improvements to the plaza, and punching some windows in the brick base along College and Patton. Keep the overall exterior look pretty much the same.
  • Overhaul the uses of the BB&T building. Get rid of the bank branch on the 2nd floor, or at least downsize it. Put other retail uses on floor 1 facing College and Patton, and floor 2 facing Broadway. Keep the next portion of the building, say floors 3-9, as offices. Convert the next chunk, 10-16, to a high-end hotel, and then put a restaurant/bar on the 17th.
  • Demolish the BB&T drive-through and build something in its place and on the parking lot facing Lexington Avenue. Maybe a 5 story mid-rise about the same scale as the Kress Emporium across the street. Include just enough underground parking spaces here for the hotel at the top of the tower; most of the parking for the complex should be in the "New Langren" hotel.
 
In any case, this is proabably the biggest announcement related to downtown development since projects like Ravenscroft, Haywood Park, and Ellington, all of which failed in the bust several years ago.
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Today slowly this conversion to a hotel and condos is coming together.  This is a great addition to downtown Asheville.  

Revolutionizing the skyline.

Updated photos today and this is looking great Arras hotel which has affiliated with Kimpton and there are condos on top. 

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Along with you, Orluz, I've liked it, too.  Or at least was ambivalent about it.  I was sitting at the light on Wednesday looking at the building trying ti imagine how they're going to spiff it up.  I hope they don't put the very trendy stamp on it that most of the buildings lately have had.  They'll be dated in no time.

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Ashvegas is reporting that the parking lot across College Street from the BB&T is in play as well. They also are confirming that McKibbon has plans to redevelop the parking deck too.

 

Now all they need to do is toss in those parking lots at the SW corner of Patton & Lexington, and with that, the biggest dead spaces in the center of town would be history.

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Something about the gray and lack of any relief makes it a very brutal international design to me. Of course it's a shame it replaced what were probably nice looking older stock buildings, but at least international style has lots of windows and the building isn't set back very far in a suburban way so it can made appealing to people both working in it and interacting with it outside with the points you made Orulz. 

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from ashvegas.com

 

"MHG-Tower LLC has decided to begin the redevelopment of the BB&T properties on the site of the existing parking deck on Broadway and College streets. The first phase of the overall redevelopment process will include a new parking garage, a hotel and retail, according to John McKibbon, Chairman of the McKibbon Hotel Group.

The existing parking deck, which is 48 years old and has 351 spaces, will be demolished and replaced with a new garage. On top of the garage, on the Broadway end, McKibbon will build a 120-room AC Hotel by Marriott. The hotel will include a restaurant and bar with mountain views, meeting space, a fitness center and other amenities. Additionally, there will be retail spaces at street level on Broadway and College streets. See attached rendering. Construction will begin later this year.

“We are excited to finally begin our next hotel project in Asheville. We are partnering with Glenn Wilcox to build an exceptional AC Hotel by Marriott on one of the very best sites in Asheville,” McKibbon said.

Plans for the BB&T Tower include an extensive external redesign. The new-look building will house an upscale, full-service, boutique hotel with 150-170 rooms and suites on the lower floors. Above the hotel will be six floors with vacation rentals and for-sale condominiums. Construction on the Tower property will begin immediately following the completion of the AC Hotel by Marriott.

“The BB&T Tower has been a signature part of the Asheville skyline for the past 50 years. Transforming it inside and out will ensure that it continues to provide both visual and functional value in the heart of downtown for many years to come,” McKibbon said."

 

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I guess the old curtain wall may have been past its prime, so replacing may have been necessary anyway. That's part of the benefit of using curtain walls - they are non structural so they can be replaced as needed. And actually this whole design is better than I thought it would be. I was expecting, basically, kitsch. But that awkward cornice-like thing at the top still does make it seem like second-class architecture to me.

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I guess the old curtain wall may have been past its prime, so replacing may have been necessary anyway. That's part of the benefit of using curtain walls - they are non structural so they can be replaced as needed. And actually this whole design is better than I thought it would be. I was expecting, basically, kitsch. But that awkward cornice-like thing at the top still does make it seem like second-class architecture to me.

I agree.  I also liked the dark glass and International Style of the building (note my screen name: Mies van der Rohe always said "Less is more").  And like you, I think the redo is better than I thought it would be, the cornice does cheapen it--especially those god-awful lights.

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44 minutes ago, Jones_ said:

Any more pics folks? Or do I have to drive to Asheville myself...

Since no one in Asheville seems to do it we in the Piedmont big cities have to do the job. I will be up there in a month or two and take some updated photos

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34 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

Since no one in Asheville seems to do it we in the Piedmont big cities have to do the job. I will be up there in a month or two and take some updated photos

Thanks KJHburg. I'm probably not passing through again until October (I know, lame), but will try and hold off on beer tourism long enough to take in the development scene. 

Edited by Jones_
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