Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
Hoteliers to raze downtown building; council to fight it
Sunday, 11 February 2018 11:45

From Staff Reports

Parks Hospitality Group has applied for a demolition permit for the former Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office on Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. 

In turn, city leadership has responded with a request for a stay on the court-ordered issuance of PHG’s conditional use permit until Asheville’s appeal of that order has its day in court.

 It could be a year before the case is heard in the state Court of Appeals, and PHG President Shaunak Patel said that translates to $4 million in construction losses for his company and unrealized revenue from the city’s tax base.

Last January, having passed the lower levels of the city’s design review process, PHG came before council with plans for a classy and glassy gateway to Asheville’s central business district. They described an eight-story Embassy Suites hotel with a pool, rooftop bar, copious meeting space within walking distance to the US Cellular Center, and a 200-car garage.

But members of council unanimously denied their request. In part, they were representing a constituency very vocally opposed to hotel proliferation downtown. If council were to grant the permit, the applicant was going to have to pony up a million dollars to construct 60 public parking spaces and donate another $250,000 to the city’s housing trust fund.

The idea of getting hotel developers to contribute to the city’s strategic goals, through things like paying all employees living wages or investing in local art, began in-force when former Councilor Gordon Smith negotiated what he later termed “the McKibbon Standard” with hotelier John McKibbon.

PHG had applied for a conditional use permit, a product no longer offered by the city. Approval for the permit was to be granted if seven vague criteria were met. Developers had to, for example, not pose a threat to public health and safety, and their building had to conform to existing architecture in the area. Mutually agreed-upon terms could also be contracted through a CUP.

 



 


contact | home

Copyright ©2005-2015 Star Fleet Communications

224 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801 | P.O. Box 8490, Asheville, NC 28814
phone (828) 252-6565 | fax (828) 252-6567

a Cube Creative Design site