Today’s round of questions, my smart-aleck replies and the real answers:
Question: Did we hear correctly during the recent City Council meeting on Dec. 13 that the 185 Coxe Avenue mixed use development is now dead? Listening to the Stoneyard Apartments developer address the council regarding his project in the River Arts District, he indicated that the developers of that project, 185 Coxe, have now pulled the plug on the apartments after building the garage, due to extreme difficulties of the site. He further stated that they have placed the property back on the market. Is this true, as that is prime property?
My answer: On a positive note, the city has long needed a gigantic standalone concrete parking deck dominating its southern skyline.
Real answer: It looks like it is for sale, not dead. But first, let’s hit the records. In this case, that means the recording of the meeting at which Brian Schick, the developer who brought this up, spoke. For the record, Schick is with a different development company, Woodfield Development, which is building the aforementioned apartments in the RAD.
Here’s what he said at the meeting: “Y’all are probably aware of the challenges on where they built the site of the garage on the South Slope on Coxe Avenue. That developer is now selling the site. The garage is built, but apartments will not be built because of the challenges there.”
Back in April, while at the Citizen Times, I wrote about this project, noting the delays in getting the parking deck built, and how the construction company had to hire a consultant and install a “revised foundation” on the parking deck after hitting some unstable soil.
Tribute Construction & Development, based in Wilmington, N.C., is the developer on the project, billed as a $90 million mixed-use offering that would bring the parking deck and 488 apartments to the South Slope. In that previous article, I noted that Asheville City Council in December 2019 approved the project, which is supposed to include 86,000 square feet of office and commercial space, as well as the parking deck.
I recently sent emails and left messages for officials with Tribute and its president, Mark Maynard, but didn’t hear back. The properties in question are owned by two corporations, and both list Maynard as “manager.”
Stopping by to snap some pictures in mid-December, work continued on the deck, but no apparent construction on the apartments had started.
It’s also worth noting that this project is actually much more visible from Asheland Avenue, which runs parallel to Coxe.
The property is apparently for sale. Berkadia Proprietary Holding LLC in Charlotte, is marketing it as “Ironwood South Slope,” located at 185 Coxe Ave, a “Luxury Class A development in the heart of downtown Asheville.”
Berkadia specializes in investment sales, mortgage banking and loan servicing, according to its website.
The online listing states that site work is underway and construction is complete on a 552-space, income-producing parking deck ($20/day; $130/month). “Permits in hand for 246-unit Phase I (7 stories).”
A second phase, the listing states, is zoned for another 242 units, with 488 units total allowed by right. Also, the project has 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail and includes a “land-use incentive grant:” a partial 10-year tax abatement in exchange for 10% affordability restriction at 80% of AMI, or Area Median Income.
I checked in with the city of Asheville’s Development Services Department about the site.
“The city has not received any request to withdraw, invalidate or transfer the currently issued development permits,” Chris Collins, planning & development division manager with the city, said via email. “That is likely the only way we would know officially of a change in the project.”
Rusty Pulliam, president of Pulliam Properties in Asheville, a commercial property development company not affiliated with the project, said the South Slope site is a valuable commodity, especially since the city already has permitted it.
“I think the multiple-family part of it would end up getting built,” Pulliam said, noting that a developer could transfer plans to a new owner.
Pulliam, who has built or partnered on several local apartment developments, said he’s had no direct conversations with Tribute company officials, so he’s unsure of their plans.
But he fully expects to see a developer build out the project as demand for apartments, especially near downtown, is high, and the vacancy rate extremely low.
“They’ll find somebody,” Pulliam said. “I can promise you that.”
Got a question? Send it to John Boyle at email@example.com or 828-337-0941.