A large, unoccupied parking structure in South Slope, Asheville could be repurposed as part of a solution to the city’s parking problems, according to David Schulman, a former retailer and president of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. Schulman suggests that the City should buy the structure and surrounding land, potentially at a reduced rate due to the failure of the project, and build a new complex there instead of spending $100-200 million on the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. He asserts that the currently unused garage could provide parking for local merchants, addressing two problems at the same time.
Abandoned South Slope Parking Garage: A Solution to Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium Problem?
In Asheville’s South Slope, a newly constructed yet deserted parking garage sits on the remnants of erstwhile office buildings. This costly structure is presently a symbol of a development project gone awry, encircled by red dirt and lacking any purpose.
Meanwhile, the Asheville City Council and another committee are in a quandary over a proposed $100 million or $200 million refurbishment of the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. This plan has been deemed nonsensical by many, given the inevitable decay of structures over time.
Perhaps, a feasible solution is for the City of Asheville to acquire the South Slope parking garage and the land around it. Given the unsuccessful development, the city might be able to purchase this for a significant discount, potentially even in bankruptcy court. It might then be feasible to construct a new Thomas Wolfe complex at this location, leveraging the pre-existing parking garage.
A recent interview by Channel 13 revealed that local South Slope merchants identify parking as the primary issue in their area. Interestingly, this newly acquired parking garage could alleviate these concerns when the Thomas Wolfe complex is not in use.
This strategy could tackle two prominent issues in Asheville with a single bold move. It’s high time for the City Council to consider this viable, waiting solution that could turn a failed real estate project into a success.