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$45M redevelopment plan for AVL Mall? City says take it back to drawing board
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 22:54

From Staff Reports


Asheville City Council voted unanimously on March 12 to continue the public hearing on a proposed $45 million redevelopment of closed Sears properties at the  Asheville Mall.

Council never made a motion to vote on the proposal, voting instead to continue the public hearing to April 23, so that council members could further discuss the plan more — and to give the developer more time to revise it.

“People who live near the project area expressed concern about the multi-use development. They’re concerned about the traffic it would bring to the area and how it would impact property values,” Asheville’s WLOS News 13 reported.

“Residents also think the complex needs to have more units that affordable for the people who want to live there. As it’s proposed, only 10 percent, or 21 units, would be affordable,” WLOS noted.

“While most council members are not opposed to having some type of development where the old Sears building near the mall is , they said the plan from Seritage Growth Properties just isn’t good enough for them to approve right now. City staff agrees.”

WLOS quoted City Planner Shannon Tuch as saying, “Staff continues to have concern and does not support the project primarily because it doesn’t support what we believe to be the most defining characteristic of a town center project.”

While the planning and zoning, and the technical review committees approved the plan, city staff  recommended denying the request to rezone the area.

Meanwhile, according to WLOS, Lou Bissette, who represents the developer, Seritage Growth Properties, urged council, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is a great project for our city, a great project for the developer and a great project for the people of Asheville.”

While proponents of the redevelopment project say the plan “would transform empty former retail space into a vibrant residential and commercial center,” the Asheville Citizen Times noted, it caught flak from critics, citing potential impacts to a neighborhood, the project’s failure to meet city urban-style design guidelines and a link to nationwide job losses, resulting on the vote for a continuance and a request for the developer to take the plan back to the drawing board.


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