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Innsbruck Mall


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There's an article in today's CT about Innsbruck Mall(map). There are rumors floating about that it is for sale.

Innsbruck Mall is a venerable part of the Asheville landscape, but the outdated shopping center is past its prime in so many ways. I've long thought that upper Tunnel Road was long due for some redevelopment. The area, which had a distinct flavor of 50s-60s highway commercial development for so long, has changed quite a lot of late. The former Wal-Mart is being converted into an Ingle's, and there may be some more changes on the Wal-Mart property as well. Some rather large new hotels have gone in, and all the restaurants seem to periodically update and redevelop, too. Though nothing is certain yet, it's hard to imagine Innsbruck itself not getting caught up in this river of changes.

I'd love to see something a bit more urban here. This is perhaps a half-mile walk from downtown through the tunnel - and if the sidewalks were connected properly on either end of the tunnel, it wouldn't be an unpleasant walk at all. All of Tunnel Road, but especially this segment, is long overdue for some urbanization.

My worst fear is that we'll end up with a big box power center. Tunnel Road does not need any more Big Box anything.

Any thoughts of what could or should go here?

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I think the first step in making this part of tunnel road more urban, would be the downtown side of the tunnel. If downtown were to spread up the hill, perhaps with some mid rise condo buildings, there could be some continuity and walkablility. Another benefit would be increased connectivity. Between the interstate and the mountain there are very few routes to access either side. Perhaps if I 240 were converted into a crosstown Parkway or Boulevard, with increased access, there could be development potential as well as connectivity.

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The new Ingles is not really going to be an improvement (urban-wise) over the Wal-Mart. The City has made some good choices on Merrimon but they seem to feel that Tunnel Road is OK the way it is. Looking at that aerial it is amazing at the amount of asphalt in that corridor.

There is such a limited amount of buildable land in Asheville (or land that should be buildable if you don't count knocking down whole mountains), there should be more of an emphasis on compactness of development. This corridor and the garbage that is being developed on Airport Road is really a shame considering how things could be.

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