After nearly six decades of decline, three new developments are opening on South Market Street in downtown Asheville—all within six months of each other!
Centered at the intersection of Eagle and Market Streets in downtown Asheville, the Block was once the city’s thriving African-American business district. The economy of the area was so strong that it was known at its height as “Black Wall Street.” Sadly, urban renewal efforts of the 1950s and ‘60s undermined the district, weakening the area’s economy and its presence in the greater Asheville landscape.
The area became so run down and crime ridden that in 1991 the city declared the Block a “blighted area.” Since then, the city has made a series of stopgap measures to improve the area. But after nearly three decades of stop-and-go attempts at funding and community input, revitalization is finally coming to the Block.
The current round of renovations are themselves not new. Efforts trace back nearly six years, to the fall of 2012, when the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) awarded nearly $7 million to Eagle Market Place, a partnership of Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation (EMSDC) and Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO). Those funds, along with $4 million from the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, were pooled for the renovation of three historic buildings on the Block. In total, the project aimed to create 90,000 square feet of mixed-use development with affordable rental housing, commercial space, and community facilities.
Here’s where the Eagle Market Place project stands now, along with two other current developments in the district:
Image Mountain Housing Opportunities
Eagle Market Place
Eagle Market Place is the impetus of the Block’s current revitalization efforts and a project nearly 15 years in the making. After years of funding efforts finally came together, renovation of three historic buildings on the Block began in earnest in 2014. However, a major construction mistake set construction back nearly a year and ended up changing the scope of the project.
Originally, Eagle Market Place was set to include 62 affordable one- to three-bedroom apartments, ranging in price from $200–$780/month. With construction corrections costing $600,000 and nearly a year of lost revenue, both the City and County approved a rent adjustment on 30 of the 62 apartments from affordable to workforce rates: $1,120–$1,400/month.
Now, the Eagle Market Place project is back on track and set to complete later this year. In total, the three renovated historic buildings will include almost 7,000 square feet of commercial, retail, and office space; more than 6,000 square feet of community and neighborhood space, and 62 mixed-income apartments.
Learn more about Eagle Market Place: mtnhousing.org/eagle-market-place
Asheville Foundry Inn
Like the Eagle Market Place project, Hilton is using three historic buildings on the Block as the foundation for the new Asheville Foundry Inn. The contiguous buildings surrounding the YMI Cultural Center historically known as the Foundry Buildings will be joined by two newly constructed buildings on site. In total, the Asheville Foundry Inn will encompass 89 boutique hotel rooms in “five connected buildings, including a 100-seat restaurant, 3,500-square-foot lounge with a library and fireplaces, 3,600-square-foot luxury spa and fitness center, and about 3,000 square feet of functional meeting and event space.”
The Asheville Foundry Inn is the first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel under management by Charlestowne Hotels. Total cost for development is estimated at $30 million. The hotel is slated to open in July 2018.
Learn more about the Asheville Foundry Inn: curiocollection3.hilton.com
55 South Market Condominiums
55 South Market is a new-construction building offering one- and two-bedroom eco-friendly homes that feature smart home technology and hand-crafted design. Located just steps from the renovation happening at the heart of the Block, the condos add additional permanent residences to the neighborhood.
Each home is thoughtfully designed, with spacious floor plans that fit the modern lifestyle. Community outdoor spaces invite residents to spend more time breathing in the fresh mountain air as they prepare meals at the outdoor kitchen and grilling station, as they enjoy supper in the alfresco dining space, and as they socialize with neighbors and friends in the evening around the fire pit and in the gathering area.
The 55 South Market condos are listed from $264,750–$678,500. 15 condos are still available for purchase.
Learn more about the 55 South Market condominiums: 55southmarket.com
What do you think about the new development happening on the Block? Let us know in the comments.