Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

hauntedheadnc

Modify the S&W Building?

25 posts in this topic

Here's a link. A developer wants to bring the vacant S&W Building back to life with a restaurant on the first floor, and condoes above... and another floor of penthouses above that. The penthouses would require another floor to be built, recessed back from the streetfront.

http://www.mountainx.com/news/2007/050907buzz4

Good idea? Bad idea? I'm thinking that it won't be a bad things if and only if the architecture of the new matches exactly the architecture of the old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Hmmm. I'm not sure how I feel about adding another floor, but if it saves the building, it might not be a bad thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got to be kidding me that this building is about to crumble. I was in it about 6 years ago when it was being used as an event space, and as I recall, it was absolutely pristine inside. I refuse to believe that slapping a 'penthouse' on top of this architectural gem (frequently cited as one of the greatest examples of art deco architecture in Asheville) is the only way to save it from the wrecking ball.

I bet that the 4th floor addition will be set back from the facade of the rest of the building so it won't be held to the same standards of detail and design as the first floor. It will be built to not attract one's attention, but nevertheless be an abombination because of how it beotchizes this lovely piece of work. Not to mention that such modifications may make the S&W forever immune from the protection against future demolition generally afforded historic structures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it is not crumbling as the developer insists, I would go the other way and would not favor any structural changes to the building. I would hope that he could make the project happen without needing the penthouse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After giving the matter more thought, if the developer is insistant on being a part of the deal to resuscitate the S&W, he would be better served by building his condoes on the parking lot across Commerce from the back of the S&W. There's a small parking lot there at the corner of Commerce and Buncombe that would be a good site for some infill. Perhaps renovate the S&W using proceeds from that building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those parking lots are owned by Asheville Savings, as is the lot across Church from the Drhumor building. Wonder if they'd be willing to sell any of their lots. Probably not until the county builds that parking lot they're planning on the DSS parking lot.

As for the S&W building, I think this developer is completely bluffing about the alleged "decline." Sure it's sad to see it sitting around for years with a 'for sale' sign, on it but the developer is trying to create a crisis where there really is none. The city should demand that we wait until the right developer with the right plan that will preserve the building's architectural integrity comes along, rather than getting caught up in this false sense of urgency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for the S&W building, I think this developer is completely bluffing about the alleged "decline." Sure it's sad to see it sitting around for years with a 'for sale' sign, on it but the developer is trying to create a crisis where there really is none. The city should demand that we wait until the right developer with the right plan that will preserve the building's architectural integrity comes along, rather than getting caught up in this false sense of urgency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many buildings have been allowed to sit unoccupied for much longer than 6 years, and held together quite well.

As long as the current owners are minimally maintaining the structure, as in:

- making sure the roof stays waterproof

- replacing windows that leak or get broken

- keeping the plumbing in order

- keeping the heat on in the winter so pipes don't burst

- addressing moisture/mildew/mold issues

- addressing termite/rodent infestations

The building should last for decades without any real decay. All of that should falls under protecting their investment. Under those conditions, the worst that would happen is that everything gets covered with dust, spider webs populate the corners, paint starts to crack and peel, and fixtures lose their shine. And if the current owners aren't minimally protecting this building, it should be a crime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I just heard that the historical resources committee (HRC) has already looked at and approved the design. Thanks for the public input guys. There are some sections and rederings out there... I'll try and get a copy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at agendas for the HRC, this project was first discussed back on April 11. So I guess it has been discussed in a public setting, albeit a minor one. Considering how iconic the building is, I'm a bit surprised there wasn't at least one large public meeting to discuss it. Maybe I expect too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are photo copies and not great quality

post-262-1179790125_thumb.jpg

post-262-1179790142_thumb.jpg

post-262-1179790157_thumb.jpg

post-262-1179790180_thumb.jpg

post-262-1179790125_thumb.jpg

post-262-1179790142_thumb.jpg

post-262-1179790157_thumb.jpg

post-262-1179790180_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


If they use actual blue tile to cover the roof, it doesn't look to be that intrusive. Sort of gives the roof the look of a pagoda. It bothers me that altering the building significantly might strip it of crucial protection in the future, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday on the news the project was announced of the main and second floors being a fancy restaurant and the third and fourth floors being apartment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this project seems to be happening, does anyone know what kind of restaurant to expect?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's not as bad as I feared, but I still don't like it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anybody comment on the economics of a project like this? The Historic Review Board has already issued a certificate of appropriateness for a rooftop addition, so, unfortunatley, one can no longer look for the city to demand that this jewel remain unchanged. Hopefully, the design of the addition will be improved and refined. Here's my question: are those rooftop luxury condos making the whole restaurant rehab viable, or is the developer just jumping on the upscale downtown bandwagon? Is it not unreasonable to hope that an enterprising restauranter would rehabilitate the building as the gorgeous restaurant it was intended to be, instead of putting a condo hat on it and messing with one of the best pieces of architecture and streetscapes in the state? Is that at all realistic?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The more I think about this idea, the more I hate it. Yes, the building was designed originally to be larger, so if you're going to add a hat to it, dig up the architect's original plans. Either that or build something so glassy and sleek and modern that it obviously doesn't match at all. Let there be an elegant old base for something new and exciting. That kind of juxtaposition works very well.

Do not, on the other hand, slap some half-assed addition that is expressly designed not to match, but in all the wrong ways, onto one of downtown's finest buildings. I suppose we should have sensed doom when it came to light that the person who wants to do this was behind Lexington Station, which is basically glorified stacked trailers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to MountainX.com, a high end restaurant called S&W Steak & Wine will open in the former cafeteria space. The article states that the developer is planning to put a coffeehouse in the space next door.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems the S&W Steak & Wine is open.

Back in 2001 I went to an event at the S&W building, and it was quite nice indeed. Hopefully this restaurant will do well. Seems to me that the dining scene downtown is somewhat crowded already. Don't suppose anyone has pictures of the rooftop addition?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have any photos, but last I looked (last week) the rooftop addition is framed out in steel, but is not yet clad. From the northeast corner of Pritchard Park, it looks like a big, low-slug, rectangle sitting atop the building. It will be visually prominent from up Haywood, but blessedly invisible from the sidewalk on Patton, thanks to the S&W's tiled parapet roof. As for the interior, I expect the same sensitivity of design we're seeing on the roof.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.