Citizen Times: Riverfront 12 Bones Could be Condemned

Article Highlights

  • 12 Bones on Riverside Drive could be condemned
  • 12 Bones is one of President Obama's favorite food stops in Asheville
  • The City is using Federal Funds for the River Arts District project (also known as Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment)
  • The City will is doing a study to see if the 12 Bones property is "no longer commercially useful" [sic]
  • The owner of the property does not approve of this.
  • The 12 Bones owner did not know this could happen

This article is from the Asheville Citizen Times and posted February 13, 2015. Click here for article:

ASHEVILLE – A humble one-story brick building that quickly became a regional and national culinary landmark may be forced to close as part of a riverfront redevelopment plan.

The 12 Bones Smokehouse at 5 Riverside Drive brought a burst of life to what is now known as the River Arts District when it opened in 2005, sporting lines of patrons and gaining worldwide exposure when President Barack Obama ate there twice.

Now with the start of a multimillion-dollar project to redevelop areas along either side of the French Broad River, the 12 Bones site may have to make way for a new roundabout that is part of a plan to move Riverside Drive to the west, a city official said Friday. It's a move that's being contested by the property's owner, former Asheville Vice Mayor Chris Peterson.

Road and sidewalk construction is expected to take the western part of the property, including the restaurant's outdoor dining area. The construction wouldn't actually touch the building, Stephanie Monson Dahl, the city riverfront redevelopment office director, said. But because the project uses federal money, it must follow procedures that include a third-party assessment of whether the remaining property is an "uneconomic remnant."

"That is jargony for a parcel that isn't useful anymore as a commercial property," Dahl said. If that happens, the property is condemned and the city is obligated to pay the property owner.

Dahl said federal rules that regulate land acquisition expressly forbid her from saying whether or not she thinks that will happen. The third-party assessment should be done sometime between December 2015 and March 2016, she said.

Bryan King and his wife, Angela, own 12 Bones and lease the building from Peterson. The restaurant also has a scond location in Arden. King said the city and members of the Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission have been up-front and helpful. But, as the project is structured, he hadn't understood until now that the property might be condemned.

"It's definitely a little confusing, to say the least, as far as how things are going to proceed," he said.

King said if it were to happen, they would want to relocate in the River Arts District.

"The city has actually been very nice. They said we feel we are an integral part of the River Arts District. We feel the River Arts District is our home."

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