Just Another Parc (or Not) Open Thread


There is supposed to be a protest shindig tomorrow up by the Basilica, to protest the imminent decision on the fate of the city-owned parcel across from the Basilica on Haywood Street.

Then, while the issue is still nice and frothy, the City Council will meet at their usual place to decide what to do.

For my two cents, as one who has spent a lot of time looking and waiting for some in-town living that’s both decent and affordable, my vote would be for residential, not hotel. We have enough hotels.

The all-powerful landlords downtown don’t want to admit it, but their lock on the real estate market has things way over-valued in Asheville, especially considering the economy, and some new residential construction would ease the upward pressure a bit. The average price tag of a condo in town, smaller than your standard shipping container even, cries out that Asheville needs more residential housing in the inner downtown corridor.

It’s a simple matter of supply and demand, in that I demand an increase in the supply.

Indigo tried to reserve some space in their Mothership around the corner for some luxury penthouses, but that was a bone-headed plan, and now they are finishing it out as more hotel rooms. The McKibbon plan seems to be taking a similar stance, and you can pretty much bet that they will end up doing the same thing with whatever space they set aside for what they consider housing. Because hotel companies are not interested in providing housing for regular folks. They only want the wealthy, first class, long in the tooth, easy to manage, quiet, reserved, most likely conservative, non-entity’s in the area. Those kinds of tenants don’t want much they don’t already have and pretty much keep their mouths shut most of the time. Easy breezy.

That’s not what Asheville needs. Asheville needs inside the BID housing for adult couples with some life left in them, not another mausoleum like the Grove Arcade, or some Hollywood-on-the-Swannanoa luxury development. Continuing on the current course, Asheville just turns into a gated community every night at sundown. Yeah, that’s a healthy plan. Sustainable too. Just ask Florida.

Anyway, what’s your two cents? Have at it.


  1. Vlad Emrick says:

    “We have enough hotels.” Based upon…what?

    And what plan is being considered for residential that doesn’t involve a hotel development company? Did I miss something?

  2. Gordon Smith says:

    Thanks for posting this, Ascend. I was going to post my own thoughts on this. Do you reckon I should do it in a comment (it’s pretty long) or have a separate post?

  3. Davyne Dial says:

    Those luxury apartments at Hotel Indigo are now “Private residence club apartments” aka timeshares.

  4. Ascend of Asheville says:

    Hotel occupancy rates according to the TDA runs about 60-63 percent. No shortage has been felt.

    There are over seven thousand available units in the area considered as hotel properties, (renting five or more rooms).

    There is currently no plan on the table that matches my vision for the space. I’m just that far out ahead of the curve. Or out in left field. But my suggestion, essentially, is to get a plan that is not now on the table. What’s the rush?

    Gordon, looking forward to the meeting, and if you want to give us a preview, that would be great.

  5. RHS says:

    “And what plan is being considered for residential that doesn’t involve a hotel development company? Did I miss something?”

    The plan proposed by the Basilica does include some apartments.

  6. Michael says:

    I suspect it would be hard to woo investors in for housing for regular folks in that particular section of town. I believe there is a lifecycle to these things. Battery Park hotel is now senior living space converted by the Asheville Housing Authority in the 70’s, but you would be hard-pressed to try to build a new senior living facility or affordable units now in that neighborhood. Not possible, unless you end up converting a condo project that couldn’t sell enough to sustain itself.

    That said, more affordable living space downtown would be helpful long term. I suspect that the south slope is a more realistic place to look for it, though.

  7. Gordon Smith says:


    Hotel occupancy rates over the whole county over the period of a whole year don’t tell the whole story. We’re talking about a downtown hotel here. Those occupancy rates are different, especially when you remove the “shoulder seasons” of lowest occupancy. There have been shortages downtown. I got an email yesterday from a resident who couldn’t get her family a room last weekend.

    I’ll go ahead and post my thoughts separately. It’s pretty long, and long comments can be thread killers.