UPDATE: Tuesday 5:45 p.m. - Shortly before its scheduled meeting was to begin Tuesday evening, Asheville City Council pushed back a public hearing and potential vote on a proposal to turn the historic Flatiron Building into a hotel until its next meeting May 14th. The plan would turn the 93-year-old building on Battery Park Avenue in downtown into an 80-room hotel with restaurants on its bottom floor. City staff recommend council members approve the plan, but there has been strong pushback from several residents and neighborhood groups to the proposal.
Asheville city council is scheduled to vote Tuesday evening on a plan to turn one of downtown’s most iconic buildings into a hotel. To say the plan to turn the Flatiron Building on Battery Park Avenue has been contentious is being polite. The 93-year-old structure that was completed in 1926 currently houses more than 80 small businesses. That would all change if city council approves zoning changes that would allow a Charleston, South Carolina-based developer to turn the Flatiron Building into an 80-room hotel with restaurants on its bottom floor.
City staff support the move. In a report prepared for council members, staff argued the hotel project is the best chance to preserve the historic building which needs “life safety upgrades and overall rehabilitation” according to the report. But plenty of residents and neighborhood groups have pushed back against the plan, citing concerns over businesses currently in the Flatiron Building which will be displaced and whether the downtown area is getting over-saturated with hotels.
City council itself has also been hesitant to move forward with new hotels in the last year, though two new hotels were approved earlier this year for the South Slope. Those both passed however on the narrowest margin in 4 to 3 votes.