ASHEVILLE – The Asheville city skyline might soon have a new silhouette after the July 6 review and recommended approval of a nine-story, mixed-use hotel building on Broadway Street downtown.
Pitched by developers as a boutique hotel and condominium, it’s slated for a .27-acre site at 72 Broadway St., which is currently a parking lot sandwiched between the Masonic Temple and Rowan Coffee.
The Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the project, which applicant Warren Sugg with Civil Design Concepts, said has been in the works for a long time — predating the 2019 hotel moratorium.
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Plans show a nearly 100,000-square-foot building with 22 extended-stay hotel units, 18 condominiums, approximately 2,000 square feet of retail space and 43 parking spaces in the bottom two floors and basement level.
Having clinched commission approval, the project, dubbed Create 72 Broadway, will return to the Technical Review Committee before being issued a zoning permit, which is done at a staff level, said Will Palmquist, a principal planner with the city.
The project does not require Asheville City Council approval.
The project’s biggest hurdle, he said, was the approval by the Design Review Committee June 16, and with the commission’s approval July 6, it will likely move forward.
All that’s left, Palmquist said, is the administrative review of project details to ensure all conditions are satisfied.
The new hotel was unpopular on first pass, and was informally reviewed by the Design Review Committee four times before its formal review in June, and subsequent approval with conditions.
The commission was responsible for a ministerial review, which requires it to confirm the project meets the requirements of the Asheville Unified Development Ordinance.
According to the staff report, the majority of concerns and requested conditions were addressed in revised project submissions.
The project is seeking a Level II approval under the city’s hotel approval rules, as it is located in the city’s hotel overlay district. The approval required a neighborhood meeting, design review and Planning and Zoning Commission vote, all of which have been satisfied.
It’s the second attempt to develop the property by High Point-based developers BPR Properties, which proposed a larger development in a 2019 proposal that was voted down 7-0 by Asheville City Council in the same meeting in which it enacted the recent hotel moratorium.
The original proposal included roughly 135 rooms, 40 condos and affordable housing units for rent and sale, according to Birju Patel of BPR Properties, who said in January that this proposal is completely different than the initial one.
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Commission approves an 186-unit development on Long Shoals Road
A 186-unit development just off Lake Julian’s northern shores in Arden has passed its penultimate hurdle, which could bring new apartments to Long Shoals Road and includes 37 affordable units.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the project at its July 6 meeting.
Located at 221 Long Shoals Road, the 5.36-acre parcel would hold 186 apartments and community space in three apartment buildings, just south of Valley Springs Middle and Charles T. Koontz Intermediate schools.
Final approval falls to City Council, which will discuss both a Land Use Incentive Grant request for the project and its conditional zoning request at its July 26 meeting.
Asheville-based Engineer Civil Design Concepts is preparing designs for Indianapolis-based Millstone Management LLC.
Millstone Management is also behind another development on Long Shoals Road, 87 apartments approved by City Council in July 2021.
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Sugg, who also represents the developer for the Long Shoals project, said the first project at 66 Long Shoals Road is beginning construction now.
A conditional zoning is required given the size of the project is more than 50 residential units. The project is also seeking a number of technical modifications, such as 5-feet-wide sidewalks rather than the required 10-foot standard, and 65,600 square feet of open space rather than the required 93,000 and no bike lanes.
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Buildings will be a maximum of five stories, and other site improvements include off-street parking, a playground, a swimming pool and greenway connection to Lake Julian.
Of the 186 apartments, 20%, or 37 units, will be deeded affordable for 20 years at 80% area median income or below.
Asheville lists 80% AMI as $42,100 for a one-person household, up to $60,100 for a four-person household.
Nineteen of the units will accept housing choice vouchers, which Affordable Housing Officer Sasha Vrtunski noted at a prior meeting helps people at or below 50% AMI — about $26,3000 for a one-person household.
72-townhome proposal in West Asheville delayed following community concern
Also discussed by the commission July 6 was a new development in West Asheville just off Patton Avenue on Woodland Drive — a project that would build 72 units in 10 two-story attached townhome buildings.
The proposal left many neighbors and commissioners dissatisfied. Ultimately, the conditional rezoning was postponed until the Aug. 3 Planning and Zoning meeting.
Added traffic on already narrow roads, threatened walkability and bikeability, loss of community character and greenspaces that residents were accustomed to were among the concerns heard at the July 6 public comment.
About a half-dozen residents shared their fears, with others offering scattered applause.
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Jason Daniello, who lives on Oakcrest Place, which wraps along one side of the proposed project site, said he has lived there for 16 years and seen development happen, but this was “something that will greatly impact our existence, our quality of life.”
“I understand that there’s progress, I really do, but … I think it really has to be well thought out, it can’t be for the profit margin. It’s just going to ruin the love and care that we’ve all put into our neighborhoods,” he said.
Commission Chair Joe Archibald had visited the site, but he said he didn’t need to make the drive to know he wouldn’t be voting for the project.
“It’s creating a flat site to put a lot of townhouses on, which one, aren’t affordable, two aren’t for sale, so in my mind they are not really addressing the housing situation,” Archibald said.
“If you have been to a commission meeting before, you know that I am all about affordable housing and adding more housing and adding more density in our neighborhoods, but this is not it. This is not how it’s done.”
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Located at 100 Woodland Drive, the project site sprawls across five parcels totaling 9.12 acres.
A conditional zoning is required, like the Long Shoals project, because there are more than 50 units proposed.
Once the project passes the Planning and Zoning Commission, final approval falls to City Council.
Each unit would have a one-car garage and driveway as well as guest parking located centrally on the property. A total of 109 parking spaces are proposed, including the garage spaces, and 5-foot sidewalks.
There is no affordable housing offerings currently included in the project, but the city staff report said discussion are ongoing, though no commitment has been made.
After other proposed conditions were made of the project, ones that attorney Derek Allen with Allen, Stahl and Kilbourne, representing the applicant, said they could not “answer on the fly,” he requested the vote be pushed to the commission’s next meeting.
“There’s some work that we can do on this,” Allen said.
In the next month, Allen said the project team would explore a commissioner request that the developer provide a fee-in-lieu for not meeting sidewalk requirements, the affordable housing potential, site grading and other concerns.
Sarah Honosky is the city government reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. News Tips? Email [email protected] or message on Twitter at @slhonosky.