Ashvegas

Matt Bush BPR

The hotel construction boom in Asheville is showing no signs of slowing down.  Once of the city's most iconic buildings appears to the be the next that will transform into a hotel.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas stopped by the BPR studios to talk with Matt Bush about the future of the Flatiron Building - as well as the latest of the other parts of Asheville's hotel boom.

Excerpts of the interview - 

The first month of the fiscal year for both the city of Asheville and Buncombe County governments has passed.  Both cut arts funding in their budgets for the year, and in particular, money to the Asheville Area Arts Council (The council is a business sponsor of Blue Ridge Public Radio).  BPR's Matt Bush spoke with Jason Sandford of AshVegas about the reaction to the cuts from the arts community in Asheville.

INTERVIEW EXCERPTS -

Duke Energy

Duke Energy is in the process of completing the installtion of more than 1-million so-called 'smart meters' in Buncombe County.  The meters will allow Duke to record power usage directly without having to send someone to read the meter.  A handful of customers in Buncombe County have tried to opt out of using the meters - an action that has consequences.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas spoke with those customers to see what happened to them. 

City of Asheville

Asheville has changed quite a bit in recent years thanks to a surge in new development.  But some even bigger changes are on the horizon, thanks to some recent real estate sales and newly announced development plans.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas has been writing about many of them and he joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss the latest developments - including one at the Asheville Mall that would bring one of the most famous events in city history full circle.  

flyavl.com

Late last year a new parking garage was completed at Asheville Regional Airport.  Ongoing runway work has also been happening, but in the coming years something bigger could be in the works - an expansion of the terminal.  AshVegas.com has been looking at what's been going on at the airport in recent months.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss where the airport could be headed in future years - as the number of passengers going in and out of the facility has greatly exceeded airport officials expectations.  Sandford reports the number of passengers in 20

City of Asheville

Short term rentals were easily the most discussed issue on the campaign trail ahead of this month's city elections in Asheville.  Even after the votes have been counted, the future and prevalence of AirBnB-style lodgings remains a political flashpoint in the city.  The Planning and Zoning Commission has received requests from outside developers to allow units be set aside for short term rentals in planned townhouse and condominium projects, like McCormick Place (pictured above) which is slated to be built near McCormick Field.  Meanwhile, the Asheville city council took steps to

Bookings through Airbnb skyrocketed in the past year in Buncombe County.  A study commissioned by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority showed demand for rentals through the site increased 105% in the past year.  Hotel room bookings grew only 3% during the same time.  The growth in Airbnb demand comes despite its murky legal status in Asheville.  Airbnb rentals are legal in "commercial" parts of the city, but illegal in "residential" parts.

City of Asheville

Affordable housing may be the single biggest issue facing the city of Asheville at this time, as rents around the city to continue to rise while wages for workers do not.  Voters last fall okayed bonds to help the city start building more affordable housing.  But the first project Asheville lawmakers approved since then has been in the works for some time before that.

Wicked Weed of Asheville announced this week it was being sold to brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns such brands as Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois.  The company has been purchasing small craft breweries in recent years, creating "The High End" business unit for such brands.  In a statement announcing the sale, Wicked Weed co-founder Walt Dickinson called it an "exciting time for the entire brewing team.

Young, Haynes, Mayfield Elected to Asheville City Council

Nov 3, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

The only incumbent in the race for Asheville city council lost as three new faces will join the council.  Unofficial results from Tuesday's election (as of midnight) show Keith Young finishing first with 18.22% of the vote.  Brian Haynes finished a close second with 18.08%.  And in third was Julie Mayfield with 17.65%, despite finishing first in the primary.  The race was for three seats on the city council, so those three are the winners.