Why a destroyed Asheville building has been vacant since 2005



Today’s bundle of burning questions, my smart answers, and the real deal:

Question: What is happening with the vacant lots where buildings collapsed on Merrimon Avenue about fifteen years ago? They’re still vacant after all these years, but there’s a Beverly-Hanks Commercial Real Estate sign on one of them.

My answer: You and your family can rent the collapsed yard for just $ 2,200 a month. Utilities are not included. A roof either.

real answer: I’ll get to the sitemaps in a minute, but first a little glimpse of how the building collapsed, because that was a bit of a crazy story. This dates back to September 2005, when an older woman drove into the building.

In a car, not in a tank.

As we reported at the time, the damage occurred around 6:30 a.m. when the motorist “lost control of his car and crashed into the building, knocking down two support columns and causing the driver to crash. fall of a large part of the brick structure on the roadway. Rescuers were able to get her out safely and she was not seriously injured. “

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The structure, known as the Allison Building, took a serious blow and had to be dismantled. Most of the debris has been removed and fences have been erected to keep the site safe. And since then, not much has changed.

I wrote about this in an Answer Man column in June 2006, and the owner of the building, Robert Johnson, said he’s still trying to come to terms with the driver’s insurance company. The site was secure and secure, so that the city did not require further demolition.

Johnson is still on the tax records as the primary owner of the property and adjacent lots.

Beverly-Hanks Commercial Real Estate Services markets the property. It includes the empty site where the destroyed building was located and several other lots.

“The whole thing is an assemblage – it’s these four properties before, starting with Chatham Road – the tattoo parlor, then you have two vacant flats next to it, then a building that burned down,” said Karl Nelson. , a commercial broker at Beverly-Hanks.

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The Joe King barber shop at the far corner isn’t part of Beverly-Hanks’ offering, but some properties behind the buildings overlooking Merrimon are included.

“Right now we have these four up front, and then there’s an auto repair shop behind that,” Nelson said. “It belongs to two brothers. “

They have been there for over 30 years and are nearing retirement age, Nelson said.

Behind the auto repair shop is another partially commercial and partially residential zoned plot. Currently there are two rental houses on it.

In total, all of these properties for sale are 1.1 acres and the asking price is $ 2.9 million, Nelson said. The town of Asheville has an alleyway between the buildings facing Merrimon and the garage that could play a role in a deal, but that would require working with the town to close the alley or otherwise remedy it for potential development. .

Merrimon Avenue in that area is very busy, 21,500 vehicles per day, Nelson said. The site therefore has a lot of potential.

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“Since we approached all these guys to set it all up like that, we’ve got a redevelopment in mind, just because of the location, proximity to UNCA, Merrimon Avenue and so on,” he said. Nelson said.

Some type of “mixed-use retail, potentially with condos or residences higher up,” would make sense, he said.

“It could be office / retail, some residential,” Nelson said. “Student housing – that would be just huge for UNCA if they could tackle it with student housing.”

Beverly-Hanks first listed the site in March 2018, but recently relisted.

“When COVID started and we engaged with developers who had different concept ideas, everyone braked pretty hard,” Nelson said. “At one point, we had the interest of a concept of grocery store. We don’t know who it was – it was confidential. “

At this point, the asking price was $ 1 million higher.

To further complicate a potential sale, said Nelson, a plan by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to widen a section of Merrimon Avenue, which created some uncertainty for potential development. The DOT abandoned the plan in January 2019, after a public outcry.

Finally, the development proposals in North Asheville have created controversy in recent months, which may have given potential developers doubts.

“I don’t know if the developers we put forward are shy about it, or what the problem is, quite frankly,” Nelson said.

October 12, Asheville City Council approved zoning for a 166,000 square foot building at 120 Charlotte Street, the site of a former Fuddruckers restaurant. The developer plans to build 186 apartments, as well as a shopping complex.

In mid-September, the developer of the controversial North Asheville mixed-use development known as 101 Charlotte Street withdrew the request for conditional zoning approval and submitted a smaller project in its stead.

Beverly-Hanks will continue to market the site, Nelson said.

“As an Ashevillian, I would really love to see something that improves the community come into it,” Nelson said. “Where our heads have been for the last few years is a site for redevelopment.”

“It will take someone with a little creativity and a seasoned developer to get there because of the challenges of floodplain issues and the streams that are there,” Nelson continued. “So it’s going to take a special, creative person who really has a good vision to be able to develop it.”

If you are interested, you can reach Nelson by email at [email protected] or by cell at 828-713-0927.

This is the opinion of John Boyle. To submit a question, contact him at 232-5847 or [email protected]


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