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  • Gentrification in Asheville - opportunity or historical loss?

    Thursday, May 11, 2023   /   by Amy Brown

    Gentrification in Asheville - opportunity or historical loss?

    Being a city that came of age in the 1920s, Asheville neighborhoods are full of history and culture that in most parts has remained timeless. Since the world keeps turning and time keeps on ticking, forward progress marches on and thus we come to the controversial subject of gentrification. 

    In my opinion, Ashevill-ians have done a very good job at retaining their historical past while using it as a stepping stone for economic growth. However, gentrification sometimes carries a negative context but let's define it factually. Gentrification is defined as a process where a neighborhood experiences economic and cultural changes that result in the displacement of lower-income residents and the arrival of more affluent residents.

    While this process can be a bit disheartening and there are definitely opinions both pro and con, it can also be a winning scenario for city growth and for the SELLER. Many parts of the city are currently undergoing a renewal that has not only benefited local businesses but has also decreased the crime rate and revitalized the structures. Also, homeowners have been able to sell for much higher prices, move to areas where home values might not be as expensive, and upgrade to a house that might be larger, in better condition, or in a location closer to family or more conducive to their optimal lifestyle.

    The South Slope:

    In the early days of the automobile, South Slope was alive with the sounds of purring engines and expensive shoes. Encompassing Banks, Buxton, Collier, Coxe, and Southside avenues, this was an industrial and commercial area of car manufacturers and repair shops. The block had fallen into disrepair with numerous abandoned buildings in the late 90s and early 2000s when the car dealerships moved out to Tunnel Rd. and Patton Avenues. The Sawyer Motors Building underwent a historic remodel by Delphi Development in 2001 and is now on the National Registry of Historic Places. It is currently used as residential condos that retained the old warehouse wood floors and steel beam ceilings, an interesting mix of history and industry.

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    The south slope is also known as downtown brewery central with several notable establishments making this a great walkable community and desirable downtown residential and entertainment district.

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    River Arts and East West Asheville

    As I have discussed in previous articles, this area was home to the old railroad yard as well as an egg processing plant giving it the name Chicken Hill. Many of the old bungalows remain but there has also been a move to bring in ultra modern housing that overlooks the French Broad River. 

    River Arts is also a known artist's district with a gallery walk, restaurants, and now the new expanded greenway system bringing parks and recreation back to an otherwise stale section of town. 

    River Arts is one of the most frequented after work parts of town with residents sitting under a shady tree, riding bikes, roller skating, jogging, or strolling through the Wednesday farmer's market. You can also grab a glass of wine at Bottle Riot, have fish and chips at Bull and Beggar, or see the latest artwork at Tyger Tyger Gallery.

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    The Shiloh community is one of the most recent areas to undergo revitalization. Located just south of Biltmore Village in between Hendersonville Rd. and Sweeten Creek Rd. these quiet tree lined streets are one of the best opportunities for affordable housing in today's real estate market. 

    Older bungalows are now being replaced with new construction of similar size  and more affordable priced condos and with a short commute to the city and access to public transportation, this is fast becoming one of the more desirable neighborhoods in Asheville. This is one of those moments of great opportunity!

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    No matter your views on forward progress, the fact of the matter remains that we can't stop it, no matter how hard we try. The best rule to follow is to make hay while the sun shines, smile, and find peace wherever you are! Asheville is a truly beautiful place to be!