CHICKEN HILL , 1945
AN ASHEVILLE BROWNFIELD SITE,2006
Chicken Hill was a mill village near downtown Asheville, North Carolina, that dates back to the 1880's. Billie Clemmons, who grew up there recalls, "...We were one big happy family. Poor but it didn't bother us". For the past half century, however, since the Historic Asheville, North Carolina Cotton Mill closed its doors on "Chicken Hill" this area was pretty much left to its own devices, underutilized due to contamination. It was a Brownfield site.
Recently, the Regional Brownfields Initiative (RBI) in partnership among Western North Carolina's economic developers, local officials, bankers, environmental planners, REALTORS®, the Land-of Sky Regional Council and other stakeholders began to address these contamination issues. The RBI's objective is to help "preserve ...natural resources, restore ... historic and cultural assets and attract businesses and industries ... resulting in increased tourism revenues, jobs, and tax revenues." The RBI assists site owners as they attempt to navigate the environmental assessment process. Then sites can be redeveloped and put back into active use. This is key to downtown and neighborhood revitalization efforts in line with Asheville's "Smart Growth" plan.With a $1,000,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant and a $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they began looking at the possibility of redevelopment through preservation projects. The Historic Cotton Mill on "Chicken Hill" is one such site. In fact it is considered an "anchor site for the rebirth of Asheville's French Broad Riverfront District. " The winning developer, Urvana, LLC., was willing to build affordable and market-rate housing aimed at young families.
Here is a photo of the first house completed --"Oliver's House"
" If children could buy homes, Oliver's house would have sold two dozen times already. Let the child in you dream your home!"
Is brown is the new green? Looking at the figures, this could well be the next trend in the real-estate market. Years ago, only a handful of very brave developers would touch brownfields. But high land prices, fierce competition for real estate and federal-government incentives, have convinced investors and developers to seek out abandoned warehouses and shuttered factories like the Historic Cotton Mill here in Asheville. Too, Asheville is particularly , eager to protect open space and slow sprawl, so brownfield cleanup and development has pluses. And remediation and cleanup has evolved to the point where the pluses really add up.
In 2006, there were 87
Completed Projects and 107 Active Projects underway in N.C. alone
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