by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
Earlier this month, Asheville’s Citizen-Times wrote a story under the headline, Hotel developers win legal battle against Asheville, will proceed with 8-story project. It’s an interesting one. Last year, Parks Hospitality Group (PHG) applied for a permit to build a hotel in Asheville. The city denied that application. PHG argued the denial was illegal, that they had in fact met all the conditions to be approved and that the city council members had made up their minds against the project before even hearing the arguments for it. So PHG took the case to the courts, who decided earlier this month that the hotel could indeed be built.
There are lots of aspects of this case that I think are interesting, but here’s just one in particular. PHG also owns a hotel across the street from this new site. The existing one is a Hyatt completed last year. This new one will be an Embassy Suites. In order to build another hotel across the street that will compete with your existing hotel, you must believe that there’s an awful lot of business in Asheville – enough to sustain both hotels. And yet, for whatever reason, the city didn’t want to meet that demand with another hotel.
This is the same council that has been trying to ban short term rentals. Where exactly to they want tourists to stay? What about business people traveling to the city? I’m confused.
If PHG thinks they can make two hotels work downtown, then I’m all for it. The city council should get out of the way. I’m glad the courts have agreed.