He didn't get all the money he wanted, but the developer behind the Oliver Hotel got enough of a facade improvement grant from the Central Business Improvement District tonight to say that Asheville restaurant Tupelo Honey Café will indeed open on Market Square, most likely by June. Developer Philip Welker said he'd "make up the gap" between the $125,000 the CBID approved and the the $275,000 grant he originally applied for.
The CBID voted 3 to 2 in favor of the money. Rich Ray and Robin Aksew voted against, and Alan Carmichael, Rick Emmett, and Melissa Everett voted in favor. Board member Patrick Hunt expressed his support for the project but had to leave before a vote was called. Ray said he felt the facade grant was tied too closely to the potential tenant. "I don't think Tupelo Honey's the reason to justify a grant," Ray said, and Askew concurred. But the others seemed to agree with Market Square District Association's John Craig, who said an improvement to One Market Square would be "an investment in that building for the next couple of generations."
The CBID also unanimously approved a $10,000 grant to Jeffery Nash of the Courtland Group (and the Crown and Goose) to build a new gated parking lot in the Old City.