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Historic Flatiron building in downtown Asheville up for sale

The historic Flatiron building at Battery Park and Wall Street is listed on real estate site LoopNet, with an asking price of $16 million.

The building, which is on the historic registry, was constructed in the mid 1920s and was purchased last in 1985 by Midtown Development Associates for about $440,000.

The Flatiron has been on the market for about three months, according to the building’s broker, Mike Bryant.

“So, 90 days we’ve been out there, as far as national spotlight goes, and we’ve had some incredible phone calls from people all over that are just loving Asheville,” Bryant said.

But, according to Bryant, they aren’t looking to sell to just anyone. The decision to test the waters of possibly selling came after numerous inquiries.

“Most of the investment groups looking are shifting assets from either the stock market into equities and just want to purchase a piece Asheville, which is definitely tough to do.”

The listing for the property states, “Property current rental CAP rate does not reflect asking price, which is based on highest and best use for redevelopment conversion.”

When asked to clarify what that meant, Bryant said, “Right now, the cost to put a building up in this type of construction runs a few hundred dollars a square foot or more. You look at the BB&T project, by the time they’re done with that, with the purchase, gutting and the upfit it’s incredibly expensive. So, we’re priced very competitively for what is here structurally.”

Russell Thomas, one of the building’s owners and a general manager of the property, said he had no intention of selling to anyone who would make drastic changes.

Bryant echoed that statement when asked about effects to business owners.

“Just sit tight, everything is business as usual. I mean we love it the way it is, and we take care of everybody and we don’t see any reason anybody has to worry about a thing,” Bryant said.

News 13 spoke to a retail shop owner on the building’s first floor who said they felt reassured by the owner’s intention.

But Elizabeth Shell, a co-owner of a Purl’s Yarn Emporium across the street from the building, said she worries anytime a big building in Asheville is put on the market.

“It’s a big space, there’s a lot of businesses in there,” Shell said. “So, definitely would hope that it’s someone local who won’t want to up the rents and who will be concerned about that, but if it’s really expensive they’re going to have to pass that cost along.”

Shell said she’s also worried that if the building changes ownership, the new owner might be open to letting chains replace local shops.

Bryant said so far tenants have had a few questions about the listing but wanted to reassure everyone they expect no major changes.

“Don’t expect to go anywhere. We want you to stay right here. We’re not going to change anything.”

Bryant said if tenants have concerns to reach out to him or the owner by phone.

by Rob Bradley Thursday, March 15th 2018