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GSP Tiger

Urban supermarket in downtown Asheville?

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I do not think Asheville's downtown has ever had an urban supermarket. With the increasing number of residences going in, it would be nice to go somewhere close where you can get the necessary groceries and whatever. It does not have to be large like Ingle's newer stores, just about 30,000-35,000 square feet space in a multi-level structure. Can Asheville handle one?

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There are already two basically full-service grocery stores in downtown Asheville. Grove Corner Market covers the western part of downtown, and the Co-op on Biltmore Avenue covers the southern part.

I believe there used to be (decades ago) a Winn-Dixie on College Street where the health department is now. That whole area was razed, save for the churches, in the name of urban renewal.

Depending on your definition of downtown, there's Greenlife Grocery (Originally an A&P) about a block and a half north of I-240 on Merrimon. There was also an Ingles on Charlotte Street about a block north of I-240, until it burned down in 1994.

I think that Charlotte Street lot is downtown Asheville's best chance for a real urban supermaret.

Soon after the fire, Ingles proposed to rebuild with a bigger, "Super Ingles" store similar to the one that had just been renovated at Merrimon & Beaverdam. The city turned their plans down, stating that such a large store would be out-of-place in that neighborhood. Yet, Ingles is still holding onto the property. I figure that means they want to build on it, eventually. Perhaps Ingles can be convinced to build something multi-story with parking in the rear and apartments on top, rather than just another "Super Ingles." That would be a great win for the Charlotte Street neighborhood, and it would be within a half mile walk of most of downtown.

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There was also an Ingles on Charlotte Street about a block north of I-240, until it burned down in 1994.

Was the old Charlotte Street store built back in the mid-1970s?

Perhaps Ingles can be convinced to build something multi-story with parking in the rear and apartments on top, rather than just another "Super Ingles." That would be a great win for the Charlotte Street neighborhood, and it would be within a half mile walk of most of downtown.

Agreed. Perhaps the parking in the rear would be a parking deck equipped with specialized escalators for people moving their carts up to a second or third parking level.

Example: Photo essay: Publix on the Bay - Miami Beach, FL

I would like to see Ingle's build something architecturally unique. As much as I like their newer stores, they all look the same giving it too much conformity. Why not build a multi-rise supermarket with red brick instead of cream cinder block?

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I think an urban supermarket would be great for the region's walkability, however, I wonder if it might take something away from smaller shops downtown.

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Ingles hasn't done much to prove any sort of commitment to the community, so I really can't see them building anything that would actually benefit the city. I feel they're biding their time until they get their way and are allowed to put up a carbon copy of every other one of their suburban-style stores, complete with a vast lake of parking in front.

If we're lucky though, they migh tart it up with a few myrtle trees along the street. That's probably the only concession they'd be willing to make toward sensitive development.

Besides, if they did want to build apartments on top, the NIMBY's would blow their collective gaskets. Remember the paramount rule of development in Asheville: Short, no matter how dumpy, is always better than tall, no matter how beautiful.

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A Whole Foods would work really well for downtown Asheville. Or maybe a Harris Teeter express... Asheville only has one Harris Teeter store!

I would predict that Whole Foods would have a difficult time in Asheville, as anyone in the know, knows that Whole Foods is a corporation more interested in making money than catering to the health/organic market. There is an element of counter culter to this which is very prevelant in Asheville and Whole Foods does not fit that mold. Aside from that, there is a thriving Food Coop grocery store in downtown Asheville that it would have to directly compete against. I don't think Whole Foods would ever sponser a naked bike ride. :lol:

frenchBroadcoop.jpg

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And as I mentioned, don't forget the Greenlife Grocery, a small chain (with only two stores!) based in Knoxville which just opened up on Merrimon. When I went there around Christmas last year, that place was busy! Earth Fare is headquartered in Asheville, too. The bridge makes it a pretty awful walk, but it's less than a mile from downtown distancewise.

Nope, I think Whole Foods would have a pretty hard time establishing itself downtown.

Regarding the Ingles on Charlotte Street, I don't think they are holding out any hope of building a large suburban store there after getting turned down flatly by city council. If anything, the opposition to a "Super Ingles" on that lot would be even stronger today, and with stricter urban zoning being considered along Charlotte and Merrimon it would be basically impossible. They would be throwing money away by designing and proposing another one. Hence, they haven't and won't.

Ingles has built and owns quite a few shopping centers, so I see no reason why they wouldn't consider something more urban - if they determined that it makes business sense. If they're certain they'll get enough return on investment, they won't hold back out of spite for the city. The other possibility is that they're waiting for a perfect opportunity to sell the property. Not likely, though, because Ingles really wants a store there. I have a feeling that a multi-story building abutting the sidewalk is the only thing counci will allow on that site, so if Ingles wants to build, they have no choice but to comply.

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I don't think Ingles is waiting for anything. Bob owns several large parcels in north Asheville, and is holding them to ensure that no other competitor can move in. The old Winn Dixie (then Best Food and now Save Good or something) is simply a filler store that they own and operate to keep a competitor out.

I think that Earth Fare will make a move soon. They closed one of their Greenville stores, and you have to figure that Green Life has cut into their market in Asheville significantly. If I were Earth Fare I would want to make a strong showing in my home community and better my location... Perhaps nearer to downtown.

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Does Ingles really own that discount / bulk grocer on Merrimon next to Stein Mart and Eckerd's? I did not know that.

Speaking of downtown grocers, there was an opinion piece about Grove Corner Market in the C-T a couple days ago. They mention that the store has yet to turn a profit, although sales have been picking up quickly over the last several months. Things should move even quicker as the two larger residential projects in the neighborhood come on line (21 Battery Park is about 50 yards away, and 12 S Lexington is about a 5 minute walk.) I'm really pulling for this store to make it, since it is one of the anchors that makes downtown liveable. It's not exactly cheap, and you can't buy in Sam's club-like bulk to economize, but they have an excellent variety of goods, so I make it a point to shop there whenever I'm in town.

With the future of Westgate Shopping Center in doubt, you're right that Earth Fare may relocate pretty soon. Westgate may be completely demolished depending on the alignment chosen for the I-26 connector. When Smoky Park Bridge was turned into a freeway, access to Westgate got a lot harder, and I-26 will only make matters worse. So, it would be fine with me if this outdated shopping center went the way of the dodo. If Earth Fare relocates and builds a flagship store, my money's on Gerber Village in Arden, given its proximity to the high incomes of Biltmore Village and Biltmore Park. They might surprise us with a fairly central location on upper Tunnel Road (the old Wal-Mart, for example) but I think their format is too large and the market too saturated for a genuine downtown store.

I only hope they stay away from the God-forsaken messes of RiverBend and Southridge.

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Item 2 on the Level II agenda for the Technical Review Committee:

2. Level II site plan for the project identified as Tunnel Road Ingles, located at 29 Tunnel Road. The request is for new supermarket. The owner is Ingles Market, Inc. and the contact is John Spake. PINs 9649.20-90-1382 and 5221.

Planner coordinating review

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I guess the little (<20,000sf) Ingles at Innsbruck is toast. That's one of the few "psychedelic" Ingles left in the area. Oh well.

Doesn't Forest City still have one of those old ingles?

By my estimate, the old Tunnel Road Wal-Mart is somewhere between 90,000 and 100,000 sq ft, significantly larger than the 50,000~60,000 square foot format typically used in newer Ingles stores. I wonder whether Ingles will split the space up, partially demolish the Wal-Mart building, completely demolish and build from scratch, or explore a new concept with a larger supermarket.

Wow, who knows what Bob Ingles has planned? We could possibly see the first Super Ingles.

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By my estimate, the old Tunnel Road Wal-Mart is somewhere between 90,000 and 100,000 sq ft, significantly larger than the 50,000~60,000 square foot format typically used in newer Ingles stores. I wonder whether Ingles will split the space up, partially demolish the Wal-Mart building, completely demolish and build from scratch, or explore a new concept with a larger supermarket.

I have heard this week from two independent (and pretty reliable) sources here in town that Whole Foods is going into the abandoned Wal-Mart building on Tunnel Road. I'd heard for the past few months that they were coming soon, but didn't know where.

Just thought I'd pass this along...

L

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I have heard this week from two independent (and pretty reliable) sources here in town that Whole Foods is going into the abandoned Wal-Mart building on Tunnel Road. I'd heard for the past few months that they were coming soon, but didn't know where.

Just thought I'd pass this along...

L

Well, it looks like this isn't accurate info after all. There's a P&Z hearing scheduled regarding a variance requested by Ingles Markets which has something to do with loading docks. Sorry about the mis-information.

I'm still hoping for Whole Foods somewhere in town.

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And as I mentioned, don't forget the Greenlife Grocery, a small chain (with only two stores!) based in Knoxville which just opened up on Merrimon.

Greenlife is Chattanooga, TN based. It is run by the Pruett family, the owners of Pruett's Grocery stores in Chattanooga.

I'm still hoping for Whole Foods somewhere in town.

Lootles, why do you want a Whole Foods so bad? You already have Greenlife, and Earthfare. They are both similar to Whole Foods. I used to shop at the Whole Foods in Cary, now I go to Earth Fare in Raleigh. Earth Fare seems to have better prices for the same stuff.

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Lootles, why do you want a Whole Foods so bad? You already have Greenlife, and Earthfare. They are both similar to Whole Foods. I used to shop at the Whole Foods in Cary, now I go to Earth Fare in Raleigh. Earth Fare seems to have better prices for the same stuff.

Because I like to have choices. And though I often shop at the stores you mention, they do not have a lot of the items that I can get at Whole Foods. Price isn't as big as issue with me as having some of the things I'm looking for. While Greenlife (which isn't as good as the new Earth Fare stores) and Earth Fare are both good stores, they aren't as good as Whole Foods. I'd like it if they were though. :)

I'd love to see us get a Trader Joe's, too. And since they're owned by the same company as Aldi stores, AND since TJ's is opening a store in the Atlanta area soon, there is hope for TJ's to come to this area in the next several years.

Lootles, a foodie who shopped at Dinner for the Earth in it's late 70's/early 80's Woolsey Dip days

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