Asheville residents can still expect a 103 room Extended Stay Hotel on Biltmore Avenue, now including a restaurant and bar and an aesthetic redesign.
The City Council approved changes to the project plan at its January 25 meeting by 5-2 votes.
Councilor Kim Roney voted against the amendments after expressing concerns about a lack of updates to multimodal infrastructure, such as the addition of bus stops, and safe access for people crossing the street.
Councilor Gwen Wisler also voted against the project, saying that while she sees the amendments as an improvement, she wanted to remain consistent with her vote against after the hotel’s first proposal in 2019.
Planning and zoning:Avery downtown apartments get a thumbs up from the Design Review Committee
Originally approved by the City Council in March 2019, the project requires the development of a seven-story hotel on less than 1 acre of land near the Mission Hospital campus, located at 324 Biltmore Ave.
The applicant, Milan Asheville LLC, is requesting amendment of the Conditional Zoning Ordinance for certain aesthetic changes to the proposed building while reducing the overall height, size, orientation and footprint of the project the same or marginally.
One of these changes is the inclusion of a restaurant and bar for the second floor lobby and outdoor patio, also a new addition.
Previous coverage: 103-room hotel planned for Biltmore Avenue asks permission for restaurant and bar
Lake: Extended Stay Hotel with 103 rooms approved by Asheville City Council by 4-3 votes
City planner Shannon Tuch, who presented the changes to city council on Jan. 25, said the applicants had always intended the project to include a restaurant and bar, but that this was not specifically mentioned in the original designs.
The restaurant would be a bistro with a limited menu and mainly serve the guests in the hotel.
The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the proposed change in a 4-2 vote on Jan. 5.
From buzzword to bricks and mortar: Asheville’s Affordable Housing Efforts Eliminate Need
Tuch emphasized that the structure has not changed, but changes to the exterior facade are proposed to take the design away from the typical aesthetic of an older style multi-family apartment.
The updated renderings include changes to the materials and color palette, roofline, fencing off the garage, and the addition of the balcony at the center of the structure.
Under the original proposal, 10-foot-wide sidewalks will open at the front of the building on Biltmore Avenue, with a narrower sidewalk along White Fawn Drive.
Changes also require that any proposed murals on the exterior of the building be done by local or regional artists.
The hotel on Biltmore Avenue, just south of downtown Asheville, was one of the last hotel properties to be repurposed before the city’s moratorium on new hotel permits went into effect in 2019. It was lifted in February 2021.
Mayor Esther Manheimer clarified that this project has already been approved as a hotel, and the vote on January 25 was just to make “adjustments” to the project terms.
The property is currently vacant and has not been improved.
Sarah Honosky is the city government reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. News Tips? Email email@example.com or message me on Twitter at @slhonosky.