The single most important driving force in the Asheville, North Carolina market today is this: How close to downtown Asheville do you want to live? The answer to this question usually influences many other decisions that buyers will make about purchasing a home or land since proximity to downtown goes hand in hand with price points. The other important issue now affecting buyers is gas prices, with many clients considering living right in the downtown area in any number of the new green condos being built.
So what does draw soo many people to the downtown Asheville area? I know there are plenty of answers to that question so I will just list some of my reasons why I thoroughly enjoy a visit to downtown. First is the walkability of the area. There are at great streets that you can leisurely stroll shopping at unique retail shops, cultural exhibits and galleries, a variety of fantastic restaurants and of course, the Grove Arcade. My favorite streets are Haywood Ave., Battery Park, Lexington Avenue, Broadway, and Wall Street. During the spring, summer and fall you can listen to a variety of musicians playing on the sidewalks. They even play classical music from time to time (see photo). The library and Civic Centerare also on Haywood Ave right next to each just down the street from Malaprops Bookstore. The Civic Center has a variety of different performers and musicians scheduled throughout the year with this month featuring Kenny Rogers, the Asheville Symphonyand Loreena McKennitt All of downtown also has free Wi-Fi. There are also a variety of outside eating areas in different restaurants and coffee shops so that you can sit among the trees, sip some latte, surf the web and watch the world go by.
The city is also looking to cash in on a state offer and turn its public transit system into one of the greenest in the state. City leaders hope next year to use state transportation money to start converting Asheville's fleet of diesel city buses into diesel-hybrid vehicles. This order would give Asheville one of the biggest hybrid city bus fleets in the state.
There are also several art galleries in the downtown area with the most unusual being the Woolworth Walk , where 150 local artists have their creations featured in an old remodeled 1938 Woolworth store. You can easily spend a hour or two walking through here taking in a variety of different artists ranging from sculptures and paintings to fashion design and beautiful photography of the Western North Carolina mountains.
I guess my favorite store is Malaprops Independent Bookstore. This was the first place I visited when I came to Asheville. It has a potpourri of various authors visiting on a monthly basis for readings while also offering a great range of books on many diverse subject matters. It also has a great cozy coffee shop that you can enjoy without even going to the bookstore.
The City Council of Asheville is also considering a new master plan that would divide the downtown area into five distinct districts. The plan is still being developed but this would give everyone a better sense of how development in the downtown area will occur in the future.