Haywood & Page Visioning Project

Asheville, NC
(2019 - 2020)

68 Haywood Street is a 1.25-acre city owned parcel in the heart of downtown with a long and complex history. The Master Concept Plan for the parcel is the result of a year long effort, working with the City, volunteer project leaders, neighboring property owners and institutions, as well as the citizens of Asheville. NBW's work is a continuation of a much longer community visioning process that began in December 2015 and has sought to balance several competing visions for what the property could become.

A significant driver for the designers and team of consultants has been the goal of Pragmatic Authenticity — balancing a robust vision for how the parcel can anchor and unlock connections between the adjacent cultural institutions, while ensuring the plan is rooted in the economic realities of a city facing the uncertain future of a post COVID financial landscape. NBW worked closely with James Lima Planning and Development, who developed a dynamic financial model to test the economic impact of the design, and for the City to utilize for the future implementation.

The Master Concept Plan is a civic-minded space that belongs to the people of Asheville - in the heart of the city, anchored in a magnificent spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains, embracing both the history of this unique site and the thriving city of today. A large central plaza is at the heart of the site, and provides a vital gathering space for special events. The geometry of the ellipse is inspired by the soaring dome in the neighboring Basilica of Saint Lawrence, designed and built in 1905 by world renowned architect Rafael Guastavino. The site sits on the former site of Stoney Hill, the natural high point of Asheville that was reduced by over 70 feet during the 1920’s to clear space for the an aspirational development plan that was stalled by the Great Depression and never fully realized. NBW's design pays homage to the rich cultural history of the site and the biological diversity of the regional ecology. It also holds space for a mixed-use development site that is intended to further activate the area and cover much of the maintenance costs of the public park.

In October 2019, two public engagement sessions were held. Attendees participated in a mapping and feedback exercise, and site walk-throughs were conducted to discuss opportunities and objectives for the project and surrounding area.

Following the October sessions, the project team thoroughly reviewed and organized the public input they had gathered. They also maintained an ongoing dialogue with the Vision Implementation Committee and other stakeholder groups to shape the development of design concepts.

In February 2020, the project team actively sought public feedback on three initial design concepts through a series of workshops, focus groups, and public meetings. Subsequently, a single conceptual design plan was created by consolidating the input collected during this process.

On October 27, 2020, Asheville City Council unanimously voted to adopt a Conceptual Master Plan.

Collaborators: James Lima Planning + Development, Skeo Solutions, Samsel Architects, ETM Associates, Civil Design Concepts, Traffic Planning & Design, Aiken Cost Consultants