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hauntedheadnc

What's located at 22 Church Street?

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I ask because according the City E-News edition that I just received, demolition on that property goes before the downtown commission on June 8th, along with a formal review of the Ellington and the Zona Lofts. When I check Google Maps, the only thing that shows at 22 Church is the parking lot across the street from the Wachovia... unless they're talking about one of those little buildings that line the street between the parking lot and First Presbyterian.

I'm hoping not... Does anyone have some insight?

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I found 22 Church on an EPA site that lists properties. They list the occupant as Swannanoa Cleaners.

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That's the lot that holds the Swannanoa Cleaners building across from 12 South Lexington. It's a pretty neat, gritty looking building. It's owned by Central United Methodist church, which is right across Church Street from there. Not sure what they're doing with the lot; it may or may not include demolition of the entire building. But I wouldn't be too surprised if if it had something to do with parking.

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Lovely. God knows the best thing that could happen to that block would be for even more of it to be given over to parking.

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The church has actually some plans (maybe under construction already?) for a new building to go on a parking lot on the NE corner of Buncombe and Aston, so they aren't necessarily as parking-crazy as your avererage suburban megachurch. It would be nice if this was only a partial demolition and they were just reconfiguring the building, or something.

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This building has great 1920s industrial feel, especially the Lexington Avenue fa

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I went poking around this building today. Does anyone know what the outcome of the demolition request was? Unlike, say, 31 Biltmore, this building absolutely does not deserve the wrecking ball. It's a fascinating mishmash of architecture, it boasts an unusual and interesting history, and it's a visual delight, as understated as it is. If they're planning to take it down, folks need to get good and mad and see if they can't stop that.

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The Downtown Commission will meet this Friday to review the proposed demolition. As I understand it, the Commission has the power to delay, but not to deny. Make some noise! Contact Commission members or the Planning Department and let them know what you think before Friday!

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Here's an aerial from Buncombe's GIS site:

cleaners.JPG

If they take out this building, they're will hardly be anything left on this whole block.

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There's a great photo of this site in 1919. Sorry I can't make the link work --

Go go to the WNC Heritage website, www.heritagewnc.org

Hit "Asheville's Built Environment"

Hit "photographs" database

Search "Church Street to Pritchard Park"

Check out the embedded church at bottom right.

This is a great site for browsing photos of old Asheville.

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Here's the image:

church.jpg

Wow, I wonder how much of that church is left inside there? Obvioulsy, the gothic steeple is gone, and the footprint of the old chuch was formerly much larger than the existing building.

Perhaps Mr. Alberice can comment about the condition of the old church, and why the Swannanoa Cleaners building addition would be better demolished than standing.

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Here's the image:

church.jpg

Wow, I wonder how much of that church is left inside there? Obvioulsy, the gothic steeple is gone, and the footprint of the old chuch was formerly much larger than the existing building.

Perhaps Mr. Alberice can comment about the condition of the old church, and why the Swannanoa Cleaners building addition would be better demolished than standing.

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I've highlighted the roof of the old church in this picture taken from the above shot:

cleaners2.JPG

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We have looked extensively into the possibility of reusing the existing building, including the remaining church structure. Unfortunately, from a preservation standpoint, there is very little of the old church that is existing, other than the roof, which is in deteriorated condition. Most of the original church structure is long gone and to rebuild the church structure, so much of it would be new, that it would really be a new building and not a restoration. Also, the facade on Church Street dates from the 1940's but it is a faux Georgian wall that is only 1 to 2 feet thick. It is more of a stage set.

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We have looked extensively into the possibility of reusing the existing building, including the remaining church structure. Unfortunately, from a preservation standpoint, there is very little of the old church that is existing, other than the roof, which is in deteriorated condition. Most of the original church structure is long gone and to rebuild the church structure, so much of it would be new, that it would really be a new building and not a restoration. Also, the facade on Church Street dates from the 1940's but it is a faux Georgian wall that is only 1 to 2 feet thick. It is more of a stage set.

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Haunted-

If the Church were to keep the building as is, per your desire, how do you suggest they continue to foot the bill for:

1. Upkeep and maintenance of the empty, unusable building

2. Liability insurance for that property, and security to protect it and people who might want to use it for illegal purposes

3. Cleanup of the remnants from when it was used as a Dry cleaning facility.

Preserving historical and interesting buildings in Asheville is ideally the first, best way to go. Whether that option is economically feasible and possible is often another story. In this case the Church and the design team looked very hard for a way to preserve the building and improve it. Unfortunately, that no longer appears to be a viable way to go.

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You're telling me that there is absolutely nobody anywhere who would want the building to use as whatever? Is it on the verge of collapse? I figure if the Broadway Arts building can be brought back from a situation where there were trees growing out of the rubble from its collapsed roof, then saying this building is too far gone is a cop out. Sell the damn thing to someone who will do more justice to it and the city than tearing it down and wasting yet more land on surface parking.

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It seems like the church decided to expand onto the NCNB parking lot along Buncombe Street next door to their existing sanctuary instead of into the 22 Church building. So, yeah - why not sell 22 Church to somebody who would put it to use? Public Interest Projects for example. They're really good at doing that. Does the church want to land bank it for future expansion? Seems like a waste. They won't get a whole lot of parking spaces out of the tear-down, either- 50 or so. While the parking spaces will generate revenue, they won't generate that much revenue, certainly not compared to what they would get out of selling the building.

Right now, walking along Patton Avenue between the Dhrumor Building and Pritchard Park, it feel like an enclosed, urban space, in spite of the big ol' parking lots along Patton. Take down 22 Church, and I predict you will kill that feel. The remaining commercial buildings along Church will be isolated, and Asheville will move a step closer to being like any other downtown that has experienced the heavy hand of urban renewal (for example, Durham.)

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ight now, walking along Patton Avenue between the Dhrumor Building and Pritchard Park, it feel like an enclosed, urban space, in spite of the big ol' parking lots along Patton. Take down 22 Church, and I predict you will kill that feel. The remaining commercial buildings along Church will be isolated, and Asheville will move a step closer to being like any other downtown that has experienced the heavy hand of urban renewal (for example, Durham.)

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I've wondered if this property extends all the way to South Lexington? If so, could parking (and perhaps a small deck) be built towards the rear of the property leaving the interesting portion of the building fronting Church Street for another purpose?

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It does extend all the way to Lexington.

Personally, I find the part near Church interesting only because of the supposed 1840s church that is buried inside. The facade along Church that was added later has small windows facing the street, basically no detailing, and really isn't interesting at all.

The Lexington half of the building is interesting, in the same 1910s industrial sense as the building that now houses Whiskey Tavern at Broadway and Woodfin, or the Sawyer Motor Building at Coxe and Hilliard. Large windows, solid, vintage brickwork, and a healthy dose of 'grit.' Also looks like it was originally a 2-story building, and a 3rd story was added later on.

See this image taken from the 12 S. Lexington website:

20060926_0007.jpg

Don't know what it looks like on the inside, but with some elbow grease I bet it would clean up nice!

Remember that since this is a church we're talking about, they don't pay taxes. That makes them immune to every form of incentive that we can offer to encourage preservation and renovation over demolition, such as property tax reductions, income tax credits, TIFs, etc. These incentives have played a HUGE role in saving much of downtown Asheville from the wrecking ball; I think we can kiss this building goodbye for that reason and that reason alone. Pity.

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You're telling me that there is absolutely nobody anywhere who would want the building to use as whatever? Is it on the verge of collapse? I figure if the Broadway Arts building can be brought back from a situation where there were trees growing out of the rubble from its collapsed roof, then saying this building is too far gone is a cop out. Sell the damn thing to someone who will do more justice to it and the city than tearing it down and wasting yet more land on surface parking.

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I just sent an e-mail to Public Interest Projects to see what their opinion is. We'll see whether they respond or not; this sort of thing is right up their alley.

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