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NC Senate bill targets squatters using foreclosed homes

A state Senate bill filed Tuesday would toughen penalties for people who take up residence in foreclosed homes and file fake legal documents to stay there.

Sen. Stan Bingham, a Davidson County Republican, said he’s proposing Senate Bill 754 in response to news reports about “sovereign citizens” who move in illegally and refuse to leave.

“Nuts, I call them,” Bingham said. “They’ll use the legal system to benefit themselves and move in properties.”

The Charlotte Observer wrote about such an incident last year. A group of people affiliated with a Moorish Nation group that doesn’t recognize state, federal or local laws moved into an $800,000 foreclosed home in the Piper Glen neighborhood.

The woman claiming ownership was evicted and arrested, but she kept coming back and filing nuisance legal claims against local police and the homeowner’s association.

“It’s a big problem in Mecklenburg County, I don’t know why,” Bingham said. “They’re going in these homes, eating nice food, running the refrigerator, running up the power bill.”

Bingham’s bill would make it a felony for someone to file false liens on property or occupy property they’d previously been evicted from. The penalty would include a fine of at least $1,000.

“This will give (authorities) a little leeway and prevent this thing from happening,” he said.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article74011552.html#=cpy

via http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article74011552.html

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Buncombe, Asheville Property Transfers for April 11-15

Buncombe, Asheville Property Transfers for April 11-15

The following transfers were filed in the Register of Deeds office April 11-15.

Arden

34 Coventry Wood Drive (Lot 17 Coventry Woods phase 2), $595,000, Alan L. and Lisa B. Dobbins to Kristin B. and Anthony Greer

Asheville

Unit 625 of the Grove at Appeldoorn Condominiums, $107,000, Jack Bryson Bradley to Michael Schlesinger

12 Shaker Court (Lot 40 of the Grove At Haw Creek), $,000, Boulevard Development Group LLC to Susan Mandelkern

Portion of lot 11 Hillside Park (0.0921 acre), $310,000, Rosemarie Vardell, Deborah J. Cassidy to Amy Bircher

9 Kenilworth Knoll 105 (Unit 105 Beaucatcher House Condominiums), $129,000, Beau Holdings Inc. to Equity Trust Company Custodian FBS John Watson IRA

340 Camelia Lane, $60,000, Deborah C. and R. Thomas Sofield Jr. to Jose A. Cordova

115 Norwood Ave. (Lot 61 Norwood subdivision), $365,000, Jeff and Amy Benedict to Monique J. John S. Collins Jr.

Unit O-2 Beaverdam Run Condominiums, $425,000, Gabriela J. Landau Living Trust to Sandra G. Folken, Roger E. Boundy

Lot 29 section 4 Richmond Hill Park, $185,000, Bonnie Hurst to Scott and Carol May

82 Springbrook (Lot 36), $18,000, Robert Michael Jarvis to Hi-Alta Investments LLC

Avery’s Creek

Lot 7 Ashley Wood subdivision phase 1A (0.252 acre), $385,000, John and Susan Ihne Yenne to William J. and Shannon G. Smith

Lot 51 block I sheet 3 of High Vista Country Club, $8,000, Mark A. and Virginia L. Shirey

Black Mountain

15 Jane Jacobs Road Unit 102, $160,000, Lakey Creek LLC to Knox Commercial Holdings LLC

Buncombe County

Lot 13 Village Park, $435,000, The Patricia Harrington Schreiber Revocable Trust to Mark T. Lundblad

182 Old Farm School Road (Lot B), $153,500, Rachel and Steven S. Rowlinson to Matthew I. Gaston

Lot 1 Hawthorne building 37 phase 1, $136,500, Steven L. Obremski to January W. McSwain, Michelle Neimi

Lot 1 Ridge Brook Estates, $301,000, Kimberly Garrison Fisher to Kimberly Clark

378 Haywood Road (0.406 acre), $345,000, Stonehouse Associates to East Haywood LLC

Lot 34 Ashewood Subdivision, $70,000, Ashewood Development LLC to Danny W. Allman

Lot 8 Lakeside Meadows, $309,000, Windsor Build Homes Inc. to Amy J. and Marc Suben

Unit 25 Mill Creek Townhomes, $160,000, Mayfair Partners LLC to Amy M. Moretz

Lot 26 Sovereign Oaks (1.08 acres), $150,000, Andana LLC, The Andrew C. Baker Living Trust to Nathan and Rebekah Owings

Lot 13 Evelyn Acres, $27,000, Erica Lynn McKinney to Homecrafters of Western NC LLC

Lot 36 Ashewood Subdivision phase 4, $50,000, Ashewood Development LLC to Phillip L. and Lisa T. Rahn

Unit 8 of City Homes on State Street Condominiums, $222,000, Paige O. Werhan to Robin Kane

Lot 43 of the Ridge subdivision, $50,000, Leicester Ridge Holdings LLC to Asheville Mountain Homes LLC

Lot 43 of the Ridge subdivision, $397,000, Asheville Mountain Homes LLC to Scott Chandler and Amanda Brice Reames

Lot 11 Tudor Croft, $36,500, Summit Ave. LLC to Scott P. and Marian A. Cook

North Louisiana Avenue property, $30,500, Sybil Beck Spivey to Moss Real Estate Holdings LLC

38C Queen Road (Unit C building 38 of Woodlands Trails Condominiums), $82,000, Branch Banking and Trust Company to Cecilia Taylor and Carol Caldwell Christianson Jr.

1338 Hemphill Road (Lot 4), $35,000, Donna W. (a. k. a. Donna W.) and D. Keith Prinz to CMH Homes Inc.

Lots 3-4 Beverly Hills block U, $235,000, Lorrayne S. McKinney and James Ramsey to Quick Solution Property Group Inc.

Lot 28 Scenic Bluff subdivision, $170,000, Tammy Lee Rollins to Wendy and Kristi Epley Rogers (a. k. a. Epley-Rogers)

2 Pheasant Drive (Lot 2A), $265,000, Curtis L. (a. k. a. Curtis I.) and Valerie P. Canty to Richard S. Yaffin

Lot 62 block A-1 Ramble Biltmore Forest, $867,000, Kristianna F. Nichols, Jeffrey R. Nichols to Mark J. and Angela M. Fletcher

11 Caleb Drive (2 acres), $26,000, Real Estate Properties of the Carolinas LLC to Mayley Cruz Martinez

11 Bohemian Lane, $430,000, Steven S. and Rachel J. Rowlinson to Victor Holliger Jr., Wayne Charles Leonhardt

14 May Hill Place (Lots 13-14 Highland Hills), $270,000, Betty Ann Gilbert to Anne M. Thomas

Lot 7 Miller Cove, $285,000, James and Judy Grob to William Robinson and Kathrine Lynne Heroy

Lot 922 Laurel Ridge phase II, $39,500, Mildred Anne and Bryan Grimes Jr. to Barry A. and Cherie L. Stout

2.83 acres on Garrison Branch Road $550,000, Crystal Jean Ponder or Ponder Hopkins to Serota Mars Hill LLC

155 S. Lexington Ave., Unit B203 (Lexington Station Condominiums), $235,000, David Hastings Beard to Dosia Smith

56 Alabama Ave., $160,000, Estella Virginia Raby Christopher to the Curry Family Partnership LLC

Lot 287 section VI Bent Creek subdivision, $243,000, Linda Powell Smith to Moses Nehemiah and Amber G. Soto

Fletcher

20 White Pine Circle (Lot 8 White Pine subdivision), $285,000, David A. and Debra S. Kuykendall to Sarah Blocher (a. k. a. Blocher-Steiner) and Jaison A. Steiner,

Leicester

Lot 44 Whispering Pines section II, $265,000, Alan and Judy Turco to Keith A. and Luz Goerz

Limestone

Lot 11 block 6 Mount Royal, $45,000, Richard C. and Judy S. Allen, Carolyn E. Allen to Douglas M. and Mary C. McLean

Swannanoa

16 Mackenzie Way (Lot 5, 1.00 acre), $25,000, Linda V. and Stanley C. McMahan to CMH Homes Inc.

Compiled by Citizen-Times News Correspondent Bonnie Black via http://www.citizen-times.com/story/money/business/2016/04/24/buncombe-asheville-property-transfers-april/83439006/

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NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund for struggling homeowners receives $224 million

The North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund received $224 million in funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury last week to aid homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. (Source: NC Housing Finance Agency)

The North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund received $224 million in funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury last week to aid homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. (Source: NC Housing Finance Agency)

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) –

The North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund received $224 million in funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury last week to aid homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages.

According to the NC Housing Finance Agency, the money came from the Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund, which is available to states that experienced high unemployment or a steep decline in property values.

The Foreclosure Prevention Fund was launched in 2010 and to help homeowners struggling due to job loss, reduction in income or other temporary hardships and expanded in 2013 to assist returning veterans transitioning to civilian jobs.

“This additional funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury is a testament to just how successful this program has been in the state,” said A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. “So far, we have helped nearly 22,000 North Carolina homeowners keep their homes, and with this additional funding, we expect to help thousands more and to continue our special outreach to returning veterans.”

Mortgage payment assistance is provided in the form of zero-interest, deferred loans of up to $36,000.

via http://www.foxwilmington.com/story/31808219/nc-foreclosure-prevention-fund-for-struggling-homeowners-receives-224-million

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HGTV Dream Home winner takes cash option

HGTV Dream Home winner takes cash option

The lucky winner of the HGTV Dream Home giveaway took the cash prize instead of the house.Wochit

David Rennie will *not* be calling Merritt Island home sweet home.

Update April 21:

David Rennie’s decision to take the cash will not affect the “HGTV Dream Home 2016” episode, which will air at 1 p.m. May 27. It’ll be hosted by HGTV personality Tiffany Brooks, who surprised Rennie with news that he won the sweepstakes at his church in Connecticut in March. Brooks then filmed a segment with the Rennie family on Merritt Island on April 15 for the big reveal.

In an email to FLORIDA TODAY, HGTV said the “Dream Home” special already is in production and “in these specials, the focal point is the home itself as our viewers get a close-up look at the beauty and design of the house, as well as Mr. Rennie’s reaction to his prize. Regardless of his ultimate decision, he is still the HGTV Dream Home 2016 winner, and people get to share in his joy as he receives the keys and looks around the house for the first time.”

In addition to the Merritt Island riverfront home, there’s another HGTV home for sale.

An HGTV Urban Oasis home at 17 Russell St., West Asheville, N.C., is on the market for $490,000, the Citizen-Times in Asheville (N.C.) reports. The winner of the sweepstakes, Crystal Harriman, of Poulsbo, Wash., decided not to keep the 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom bungalow after she won the HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway 2015.

Like the 2016 HGTV Dream Home, the HGTV Urban Oasis home was designed by designer Bryan Patrick Flynn.

According to HGTV, “Some winners decide to keep the home and some take the cash option. It’s really a very personal decision, and each winner must decide what makes the most sense for them and their family at that moment in time. Everyone wants to live the dream of owning their own ‘dream home,’ but either way, for every winner it’s a dream come true.”

Original story, posted April 20:

He took the cash option.

David Rennie, the winner of the 2016 HGTV Dream Home on Merritt Island, accepted the $1.2 million cash option in lieu of the $1.7 million grand prize, RE/MAX 2000 Realtor Rhonda Pavone told FLORIDA TODAY.

“The winner decided to take the cash prize and walk away from the house,” Pavone said in a text message.

The grand prize included a $1.3 million Merritt Island riverfront home, $250,000 in cash, a 2016 GMC Acadia Denali, and a 2016 Bryant Sperenza boat. Because he took the cash option, Rennie gets $900,000, the car and the boat.

The house will be listed for sale, fully furnished, by next week. Pavone said a price tag for the 3,150-square-foot riverfront home on South Merritt Island has not been determined.

Earlier this week, Rennie told FLORIDA TODAY that he was meeting with his tax attorney, accountant, financial adviser and his wife to “hash it all out. It’s a possibility that I have enough money in my savings to do it,” he said. “I just don’t know if I’m prepared to take that kind of risk and wipe everything out to have to have a second house.”

Will David Rennie accept the $1.7 million grand prize in the 2016 HGTV Dream Home sweepstakes or take the $1.2 million cash option? Video posted April 18, 2016, by Jennifer Sangalang, FLORIDA TODAY

Rennie lives in Shelton, Connecticut. In March, HGTV personality Tiffany Brooks surprised Rennie at his church with news that, out of 127 million entries, he won the 2016 HGTV Dream Home.

Pavone, who helped find the home for HGTV for the network’s 20th anniversary, will host a broker open house next week, meaning it will only be open to realtors and not the public.

Designed by Brian Patrick Flynn, the house features water views, a grand staircase, nautical decor and a bold color scheme. Flynn filmed a segment with Brooks and Rennie last week at the home for the big reveal. Rennie, a kidney transplant recipient, details his HGTV Dream Home experience — including the surprise, the reveal and even TV makeup — in his blog, Dave’s Dialysis Diary.

Sangalang is FLORIDA TODAY‘s entertainment reporter and Nerdgirl columnist.

Contact Sangalang at 321-242-3630

or [email protected]

Twitter: @byjensangalang

HGTV TV personality Tiffany Brooks “ambushed” the 2016 HGTV Dream Home winner, David Rennie, in March. The dream home is located on Merritt Island, FL. Video provided by HGTV, posted April 18, 2016

via, FLORIDA TODAY4:38 p.m. EDT April 21, 2016 http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2016/04/20/hgtv-dream-home-2016-winner-takes-cash-option/83316040/

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How Asheville’s big beer deal fell flat

A nasty political fight only punctuated the collapse of any hope for a deal.

But even putting the public political battle aside, Buncombe County from the start had faced a tough opponent in a bid to win a new East Coast outpost of Deschutes Brewery. The expansion would represent one of the county’s biggest economic deals in decades.

At stake was a potential $135 million-$200 million brewing facility and up to 237 jobs, according to figures from the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and other documents obtained by the Citizen-Times.

To lure the Bend, Oregon, company — the sixth largest U.S. craft brewery — Buncombe and its main competitor, Roanoke, Virginia, were together offering up to $25 million in taxpayer funded incentives. Money was coming from places ranging from the city of Asheville to Virginia special economic funds, according to a comparison compiled by the Citizen-Times.

Then there were the “intangibles,” as Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore called them. Virginia was putting up a united political and public front — and Deschutes’ coveted being a change agent in a community that had not already developed into a beer and tourism mecca.

Those intangibles also included a 246-mile beer run ordered at 7 a.m. by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the discovery that Haymore and Deschutes President Michael LaLonde were fellow “Deadheads.”

The agriculture secretary said a key moment in the one-on-one deal-making happened as a recording of the Grateful Dead played over the speakers in the governor’s mansion in Richmond.

It isn’t that officials in Buncombe County didn’t try. Efforts included a visit to the brewery’s headquarters and hosting seven visits by Deschutes representatives in North Carolina.

In one of those, brewery officials were flown in a state helicopter and invited by Gov. Pat McCrory to the Governor’s Western Residence in Asheville.

To get a better understanding of what exactly happened in efforts to win a deal — and whether politics doomed efforts — the Citizen-Times interviewed more than a dozen officials and looked at more than 50 emails, letters, contracts and other documents obtained by public records requests in North Carolina and Virginia.

One group, EDC, declined to supply requested documents, saying the organization did not fall under state public records law, though some of its workings are shown in county documents or in statements and an interview with the organization’s director Ben Teague after the fact.

Deschutes President LaLonde did not respond to an email and phone call asking for an interview. Officials with the state commerce department also did not answer questions in time for the story.

The documents and interviews helped pull back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes world of economic development and showed just what Buncombe County was up against and how hard it had to fight for a deal that in the end proved fruitless.

Bitter loss

Roanoke’s courtship of Deschutes started with a loss.

In 2012, California beer maker Sierra Nevada picked Mills River in Henderson County over the southwestern Virginia city. Buncombe, too, got passed over. But officials here considered it a win since the brewery was spitting distance from the county line and close enough for Asheville commuters.

Roanoke had also been given a pass by Stone Brewing, which went to Richmond. The city now was nearly obsessed with hooking a big craft brewery.

The beer culture fit well with what the outdoors tourism officials were trying to promote, said that city’s economic development director, Wayne Bowers.
“We’re on the Appalachian Trail. And the Blue Ridge Parkway comes right through town,” Bowers said.

Orders for the Virginia campaign came right from the top, with the state’s highest elected officials beating down the doors of porter and IPA makers around the West.

“Gov. McAuliffe has made one of my priorities as secretary the growth of homegrown craft beer in Virginia,” said agricultural secretary Haymore. “Because you have to have great agricultural products to make these craft beers.”

After the Sierra Nevada loss, with little pause, Roanoke and Virginia officials say they turned their  sights on the Deschutes. Later that same year, they called the company. That was followed by a visit by the Roanoke Regional Partnership and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, where they met with Deschutes founder Gary Fish.

Got a piece of land?

That kind of early contact would give Roanoke a two-year head start. But Buncombe officials responded quickly.

It’s not clear when competitors got a whiff of each other. But certainly they all knew early on that Deschutes would be looking in different places. In South Carolina, Greenville and Charleston also were in the running. In all, Deschutes would look at more than 100 possible factory sites before announcing a decision one month ago.

Buncombe leaders first heard of the potential for a brewery Feb. 5, 2014, according to Teague.

Austin Consulting said their client was looking to build a $97 million beer-making facility that would employ 70 people. That number would more than double over the course of the competition.

The EDC responded 12 days later with a 45-page proposal highlighting four sites. Those were: the Roberts Farm land south of Asheville on the west side of the French Broad River; Enka Commerce Park; land off Crayton Road in East Asheville; and Black Mountain Commerce Park.

Two top administrators, Asheville Economic Development Director Sam Powers and Buncombe Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton, then signed nondisclosure agreements, details of which are not known.

The site search in Roanoke began in March.

Four months after the February 2014 contact, Deschutes officials were on the ground in Buncombe for their first site visit. Showing up to shake hands were personnel from the city of Asheville, state officials, Duke Power, the Craft Beverage Institute, sewer system managers, the railroad, broadband suppliers and more.

Deschutes said Roberts Farm was the site to pursue. But only three months later, in September, the property was sold to a residential developer.

Two months later in November and one state to the north, McAuliffe brought Deschutes representatives to the governor’s mansion for dinner. It was the first of two events the brewers would attend at the home of that state’s top elected official. Later that month, Roanoke area officials would visit Deschutes at its headquarters.

Still interested

But even after the Roberts Farm sale, Deschutes came back, Teague said “because of strong continued interest of the company in the Asheville market.”

Development officials scrambled. It was a second chance at the type of deal that doesn’t happen often. By February the project scope would increase to a $135 million brewery and 132 jobs.

“There are very few projects across the nation as a whole that are $100 million plus,” Teague said in an interview after the Deschutes deal ended.

In January 2015, the EDC laid out a buffet of possibilities, some old, some new. They were the Crayton Road site, Black Mountain Commerce Park, Enka Commerce Park, the former Beacon Manufacturing site in Swannanoa, “newly listed” Black Mountain property, a Sweeten Creek site and a Bent Creek site.

Deschutes officials made a second site visit to Buncombe on Feb. 11, 2015, Teague said, and focused on two pieces of property: the one at Bent Creek and the tract off Crayton Road.

The company told Roanoke the same month that the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology was the best option in Virginia.

‘Beautiful,’ complicated property

Deschutes zeroed in on the Bent Creek property March 10, 2015, requesting a site plan “to demonstrate fit.”

The 137 acres is a “beautiful” piece of property, Buncombe Assistant Manager Creighton said in an interview this month, one of the last large undeveloped chunks of land on that side of the French Broad with views of the river.

Bordering the river on the southwest, the land is next to Interstate 26 and accessible by Ferry Road to the northeast.

But the property, owned by Henderson County, was also complicated and represented a tangled water deal that had resulted in nearly two decades of acrimony between Henderson and Asheville.

Asheville had traded it to Henderson in 1999 as part of a deal to build a Mills River water plant. Its planned use as a Henderson sewage treatment facility, however, turned out to be unworkable, leaving that county feeling short-changed by the swap. While it was owned by Henderson, the land remained part of the city of Asheville, a satellite annexation that didn’t border other parts of the municipality.

Henderson for years had been looking to recoup something from the deal and on March 11, 2015, a day after Deschutes had expressed interest, that county told the EDC they had an interested buyer.

While that party wanted to remain anonymous, it came out in subsequent documents that it was a charter school.

On March 13, 2015, LaLonde told officials that other competitors were out and Asheville was one of two finalists.

“According to their president this morning, we are one of two locations still under consideration,” County Manager Wanda Greene wrote in an email to the seven commissioners. “They would be ‘very disappointed’ if the property were no longer available.”

Greene also said the brewery would be expanded in a second phase to reach a total value of $200 million.

“This is bigger than New Belgium, Linamar or GE,” she said citing some notable county economic deals.

Quick sale

Commissioners held an emergency closed session March 17, 2015, to talk about whether to buy the land at a cost of $6.8 million.
Minutes of that meeting say little about the discussion, but subsequent arguments revealed in emails, interviews and public meetings showed how Democrats and Republicans split over the idea.

Four Democrats on the seven-member Board of Commissioners favored the purchase and said even if Deschutes did not decide to come, there were other good reasons to buy.

Because of legalities in the old water deal, Asheville would be giving Buncombe half the purchase price, money that could then be used toward building a police shooting range in Woodfin. If Deschutes didn’t come, the property could then be sold for a profit.

“If the company goes somewhere else, the county could keep the property that could be sold,” Chairman David Gantt said in an April 7, 2015, meeting. “The county gets money ($3.4 million) toward the public safety facility; the county resolves a decades-old dispute between Henderson and the city of Asheville.”

The board’s three Republicans said they didn’t like using taxpayer money to buy property for an economic deal that was still up in the air.
Commissioner Miranda DeBruhl said it raised the question as to whether the land would be given outright to Deschutes. Democrats and county managers said that was not part of the plan. But if that was true, DeBruhl said, then Deschutes should buy the property itself.

“I don’t agree with real estate speculation being carried out with taxpayer dollars. There are plenty of other areas where $7 million in taxpayer dollars could be spent,” she said in an interview this month. “Is a top priority to spend it in that manner? Or can we spend it in a better way? For schools, for instance, where we know exactly where the money is going and what we get.”

DeBruhl also said Democrats seemed concerned with controlling the property and preventing it from going to a non-industrial use, such as a residential development.

Democratic Vice Chairman Brownie Newman said that was to some extent true since industrial land is scarce in Buncombe.

“I truly did believe that Deschutes would be a better outcome than a subdivision,” Newman said.

Though Democrats held the majority, the argument continued to simmer, culminating in a very public blowup weeks later.

With the November 2016 election looming, political stakes were high. Four of the seven commissioners will be on the ballot, with Newman and DeBruhl competing for the chair’s position.

On March 24, 2015, Teague sent an email to county officials that said “the company is relieved to hear the land is still available… However, the company has expressed extreme concern over confidentiality and specifically media coverage.”

Commissioners made the purchase official with a 4-3 vote in an April 7, 2015, public meeting. Newman called it “one of the most significant” economic deals in several decades. The public, though, still didn’t know what would go on this land, except that it involved an economic development deal that officials referred to as “Project Bravo.”

At about that time, commissioners were also presented by the EDC with non-disclosure agreements, saying those that talked about the deal or details of the company’s operations could face legal repercussions.

The Democrats signed them while all three Republicans declined.

A week later, Creighton and other officials went to Bend to talk to Deschutes personnel.

Ramping up

LaLonde made Deschutes’ interest in Asheville public in April 2015, saying in a Citizen-Times article that the company hoped to open an East Coast operation in 2019.

The next five months would represent a ramping up of behind-the-scenes and out-front recruitment efforts in North Carolina and Virginia. It would also show a frustration by Republicans who said they were tired of waiting for a decision and felt they were given little information.

In that time, Deschutes came to Asheville twice, meeting with Mayor Esther Manheimer and getting a state helicopter tour of the property. McCrory held a lunch for company representatives in the Western Residence on a ridge over downtown.

At that time, incentive possibilities were laid out.

No documents revealed a solid number, but a compilation by the Citizen-Times shows that Asheville and Buncombe combined could have offered $4.4 million-$6 million. Had the property been added that would make it up to $12.8 million.

Republican Commissioner Mike Fryar said giving the property to the company was the intention. In closed session, Democratic Commissioner Ellen Frost indicated that was true, and no one corrected her, Fryar said.

“Her words were we bought that land to draw them here,” he said.

But Frost denied that was the part of the deal.

“No. We don’t do that,” she said in an interview this month. “People never get property for free. There’s always some kind of incentive.”
Some money was also likely offered by the state, but commerce officials didn’t respond to requests for details on that or what McCrory’s involvement was.

In Virginia, incentives from the city, state and other places, would come in at $12 million including land. Deschutes’ offer to that state included less investment and fewer jobs: $85 million and up to 108 positions. But pay was guaranteed to be higher at $44,928. With Asheville, Deschutes said in addition to the manufacturing jobs, there would be 83 hospitality positions with a brewpub and restaurant. With Roanoke there was discussion of opening a brewpub and restaurant, but a specific number of jobs wasn’t given that city’s economic development director said.

In May, that state’s agriculture secretary made an unannounced and quiet visit to Bend, not to meet with Deschutes, but to talk to residents about their opinions of the company.

 The Virginia governor would come out himself in September to meet with the company. Deschutes, meanwhile, sent representatives to Roanoke three times from May-September, according to the Roanoke Times.

‘Fairytale’

In late September, DeBruhl and the three Republicans asked that a motion to sell the Bent Creek land be put on the commissioners meeting agenda.

That was done “over pleas from (Buncombe’s) negotiating team,” Gantt said, for fear it could harm Asheville’s chances.
DeBruhl, meanwhile, took the fight to social media, tweeting at LaLonde on Oct. 5, asking if he would talk. She also emailed and called the brewery president.

LaLonde contacted DeBruhl shortly before the Oct. 6 commissioners meeting, leading her, she said, to pull the motion to sell the property.
LaLonde also sent an email to Greene just before the meeting in which he talked about his and DeBruhl’s conversation.

“She expressed concern that we have not yet made a decision,” the Deschutes president wrote. “I told her that our company continues to be very interested in that site but we are in the process of performing the final due diligence.”

DeBruhl later tweeted that she “got more done in 7 minutes this AM than was done in the last 7 months on not so ‘secret’ Ferry Rd. project.”
She also used her Twitter account to say she “confirmed this morning there was no company interested in closing a deal on Ferry Rd. property” when the county bought it. She added the hashtag “Fairytale.”

That interaction became the subject of a heated fight both before and after Deschutes made the decision. Critics said DeBruhl’s move was unorthodox and it was wrong for a single elected official to go around the entire board and county staff when negotiators were involved in a delicate deal.

Hurt the deal?

In a Nov. 20, 2015, email to the county manager, Teague wrote, “I fear the unexpected public discussion to sell the Bent Creek site in October, and subsequent social media comments by officials denigrating the company stood in contrast to the universal and orchestrated outpouring of support of our competition.”

About the same time as the October dustup in Buncombe, a Roanoke resident started a social media campaign “Deschutes2Roanoke” on Twitter and Facebook.

DeBruhl, though, pointed to media reports in which LaLonde would say the decision was based primarily on Deschutes desire to be in a place where the company could “make a difference.”

Newman said he thought Deschutes was just being polite.

“Having political leaders go on social media and call this company’s interest in our community a ‘fairy tale,’” had to do damage, the vice chairman said.

Closing the deal

LaLonde made the seventh and final Deschutes visit to Asheville on Oct. 23. There were no official meetings this time. Instead, he met with with local business leaders with whom he had made connections. Afterward Teague said he got calls from the locals that seemed to say Asheville might win after all.

“They were excited and confident about our opportunity to win the project” the EDC director said.

But less than a month later, on Nov. 5, the EDC got a phone call from Deschutes’ consultants saying they were focusing on Roanoke.
Local officials, though, said they didn’t give up hope, since there had been instances where a company had circled back. Creighton pointed to GF Linamar, a light-weight vehicle components maker, which just announced it would open a plant in Mills River.

“They said they were going to Georgia, but then they popped back up,” the assistant county manager said.

Virginia was doing its best to make sure that didn’t happen.

McAuliffe had invited LaLonde to the governor’s mansion for a Dec. 16 dinner and he wanted to wow him.

The governor had told his top staff “to bring our A game,” because he wanted to close the deal that night, Haymore said. That meant all details would be available and the agriculture secretary would talk about the increased hops and malt production they had helped create in the state.
That morning, Haymore said the phone rang at 7 a.m. and it was the governor.

“He said to me, ‘Todd, I want a keg of Deschutes beer in the mansion tonight.’”

Haymore knew that wasn’t likely since the beer was hardly sold anywhere in Virginia. But McAuliffe told him not to come back to work if he didn’t get the keg, and Haymore wasn’t sure the governor was joking.

He spent the rest of day on the phone calling old acquaintances in high places and striking out until he learned of a keg of Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale in northern Virginia in a town called Sterling, 123 miles from Richmond. He was preparing for the drive when he realized a staff member was in Washington, D.C. and could bring it back.

The next item to be settled on was the music. Staff had learned that LaLonde was a Grateful Dead fan and they knew Haymore was one too, largely because he’d been constantly playing an expansive anniversary release by the band “30 Trips around the Sun” in his office.
Haymore set up the box set and let LaLonde that night pick the disc he wanted to play.

It was in the middle of one of the Dead’s most well-known tunes “Franklin’s Tower” that McAuliffe got the handshake from LaLonde that he wanted, Haymore said.

“The governor would have played elevator music – or electronic dance music if that’s what it would have taken,” he said.

Worth it?

With all the energy and money spent on bringing Deschutes to town, some questioned whether the effort was worth it.

Republican Commissioner Joe Belcher later would say that his problem with the arrangement was bigger than the land purchase.
Belcher said he was opposed to alcohol in general due to “a deep personal and religious conviction.”

But the retired manufactured home industry vice president also said he thought breweries wouldn’t provide the best returns. Instead the county should look to “advanced manufacturing,” he said.

One metric, he said, was jobs per acre, and Deschutes deal would mean about one position per acre, he pointed out.

“As someone that has analyzed markets for 30 years as part of my job, I believe that the industry, the craft beer industry in this area is not sustainable. You can reach a point of diminishing returns in any industry.”

Fellow Republican Fryar, said he would have been happy for the brewery to come, but he doubted whether Asheville was ever really in the running.

“They didn’t need 137 acres. They have a place on 45 acres in Roanoke,” the commissioner said. “They did everything in the world to get to Roanoke.”

Frost said it would still have been better to have a guaranteed investment and job provider such as Deschutes.

“That’s better than pie in the sky,” the Democrat said.

As for Roanoke, where state and local taxpayers are set to give $12 million over several years in exchange for a factory that will generate $1.5 million in property taxes and 70 jobs, according to their contract but up to 108 by Deschutes projection, officials were exuberant.

“For one thing,” said economic development director Bowers, “It’s building a facility on a piece of property that is generating zero taxes for us now.”

Reporter Mike Cronin contributed to this story.

HOW WE DID THIS STORY

To tell the story of how Buncombe County lost in its bid to win an East Coast expansion of Deschutes Brewery, the Citizen-Times interviewed key players in North Carolina and Virginia while piecing together details found in more than 50 documents obtained through public records requests. Those include emails, letters and contracts from Buncombe County government officials. The Economic Development Coalition for Asheville- Buncombe County declined to release its emails and correspondences related to the effort. The coalition is overseen by a publicly appointed board and relies in part on government funding. The Citizen-Times based its requests on those facts. The newspaper’s requests were made after the end of negotiations and the announcement that Deschutes would build in Roanoke.

Tobias Weas, an attorney who is the EDC vice president of public policy, membership and legal affairs, said the EDC is a department of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, which is not a public agency. The Citizen-Times is continuing efforts to obtain the documents in the interest of bringing transparency to a process that involves the performance of public officials and the potential for spending millions of dollars in public funding.
Different offers: $12M vs. $4M-$13M
Roanoke and Virginia offer: $11.6 million – $11.9 million; Buncombe County and Asheville offer: $4.4 million – $12.8 million.
Deschutes promised less investment to Roanoke and also fewer jobs, but offered higher wages to the Virginia city.
Asheville
Buncombe County/Asheville offer: 

•    $1,954,000 paid out over five years ($390,800 annually)
•    County purchased $6.8 million property for potential Deschutes facility. Several Buncombe officials said the company would have leased, bought or made some other exchange for the land. At least one commissioner, though, said there was talk of giving the land to Deschutes.
•    An Asheville incentives formula shows a payout ranging from $2.4 million over five years up to $4 million over seven years

Deschutes offer: 
•    $135 million – $200 million investment (Would generate $1.5 million in annual taxes — $815,400 in county taxes and $641,250 in Asheville taxes)
•    132-154 jobs added in seven years. For at least 132, average salaries projected to “well exceed” $36,486, plus insurance and an employee stock ownership plan
•    83 jobs in restaurant and brew pub with annual wages from $24,000 to $80,000.

Roanoke
Roanoke/ Economic Development Authority of Roanoke/ Virginia offer:
•    Land worth $2.75 million with $3.05 million  in road and utilities work ($650,000 may be paid by state. Also applying for a federal economic development grant of $1.5 million.) and a $1 million greenway extension
•    $140,000 from an Enterprise Zone rebate program
•    $200,000 given up front with a clawback if goals not met.
•    $25,000 enterprise employment grant paid if Deschutes hires and keeps Roanoke residents for a year.
•    Estimated $1.4 million performance agreement rebate on 50 percent of machine and tool taxes for four years.
•    $40,000 in other improvements, including power line changes and street signs
•    From Virginia, $3 million (Grant that passed through Roanoke and the EDA)
•    Another possible state grant of $250,000

Deschutes offer: 
•    $55 million – $95 million investment (Would generate $1.5 million in taxes in 2021, stepping down over four years. By 2025 it would be $841,305.)
•    70-108 jobs by 2021 paying average of $44,928
•    Anticipated additional 46 jobs by 2025 with no pay guarantee

Timeline 

 January 2012 – Mills River beats out Roanoke, Virginia, as site for Sierra Nevada’s east coast brewery.

October, 2012 – Roanoke area and Virginia economic development officials meet with Deschutes founder and president in Colorado, according to Roanoke Times.
February 2014 – Asheville area economic development officials learn of brewery’s interest in a local facility, according to Ben Teague, director of Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County. Project scope: $97 million investment and 70 manufacturing jobs. Respond with 45-page proposal highlighting four sites Crayton Road, Black Mountain Commerce Park, Roberts Farm.
June 4, 2014 – Deschutes representatives make first of seven site visits to Buncombe County. 
November 2014 – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe hosts Deschutes officials at governor’s mansion in Richmond. Later that month, Roanoke area officials visit Deschutes headquarters in Bend, Oregon.
January 2015 – Deschutes makes contact again with EDC because of “strong interest” in Asheville market, Teague says. EDC offers more sites: Crayton Road, Black Mountain Commerce Park, Enka Commerce Park, former Beacon Mills site,”newly listed” Black Mountain property, Sweeten Creek site and Bent Creek site.
Feb. 11, 2015 – Second Deschutes visit to Buncombe. Looking at two sites: Crayton Road and Bent Creek. Project has grown to $135 million and 132 jobs.
March 10, 2015 – Deschutes representatives ask for a site plan demonstrating “fit” on Bent Creek site.
March 11, 2015 – Henderson County, owner of the Bent Creek property, say they have an interested buyer. Property may be off market.
March 13, 2015 – Deschutes says Asheville is one of two finalists. Encourages officials to hold site, if possible. Potential investment rises to $200 million.
March 17, 2015 – Buncombe commissioners hold emergency closed session. Commissioners are split along party lines with a consensus among Democratic majority to work on $6.8 million land purchase.
March 25, 2015 – Third site visit by Deschutes representatives to Buncombe County.
April 7, 2015 – Buncombe commissioners make official vote to buy Bent Creek property, 4-3, along party lines. Commissioners asked by company to sign nondisclosure agreements. Three Republicans decline.
April 15, 2015 – Buncombe officials go to Portland and Bend to meet with Deschutes officials.
May 31-June 1, 2015 – Fourth Buncombe site visit. Deschutes officials get state helicopter tour of Bent Creek property. Gov. Pat McCrory holds luncheon for officials at Western Residence. 
July 2, 2015 – Deschutes makes fifth site visit. Mayor Esther Manheimer and Councilwoman Gwen Wisler meet with Deschutes founder Gary Fish.
Sept. 14, 2015 – McAuliffe visits with Deschutes officials in Bend.
Late September, 2015 – Republicans propose that Bent Creek property be sold. That happens “over pleas from negotiating team,” Gantt says.
Oct. 6, 2015 – Republican Commissioner Miranda DeBruhl calls and sends out tweet to Deschutes President Michael LaLonde. LaLonde sends email to County Manager Wanda Greene. DeBruhl says she gets call from LaLonde about company’s interest. She pulls land sale from agenda.
Oct. 16, 2015 – Deschutes increases project scope to 154 brewery jobs, plus 83 hospitality jobs.
Oct. 23, 2015 – Seventh visit. LaLonde meets with Buncombe business leaders.
November 2015 – Deschutes officials tell EDC they will pursue Roanoke site. Company doing due diligence on property and other matters. Teague sends commissioners email saying he fears discussion of sale and social media comments “denigrating” the company “stood in contrast” to Roanoke’s support.
Dec. 16, 2015 – McAuliffe holds second event at mansion complete with Deschutes beer and Grateful Dead soundtrack. Looks to close deal, Haymore says. Shakes McAuliffe’s hand.
March 22, 2016 – Deschutes officially announces choice of Roanoke.
April 5, 2016 – Public blow up at commissioners meeting with blame and accusations about the deal. Commissioners vote 7-0 to .

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Asheville area Home & Garden Calendar for early spring

SALES, SHOWS & EVENTS

ANNUAL PLANT SALE: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 23, Clem’s Cabin, 1000 Hendersonville Road, Asheville. Sponsored by the French Broad River Garden Club Foundation. Ground covers and more from 20 local vendors. Proceeds support scholarships and other projects. To learn more, contact Jasmin Gentling at [email protected] or Jan Cantrell at [email protected]

BAMBOO WALKING TOURS: 1:30-3 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays through November at Haiku Bamboo Nursery/Farm, 468 Rhodes Mountain Road, Hendersonville. Gates open at 1 p.m. The next walk is April 24. Learn about bamboo plants, characteristics and environment. Wear walking shoes, no sandals. Cameras permitted. Adults $25, seniors $23, ages 13-18, $15, free for younger. To arrange a tour or to learn more, call 828-685-3053. Visit www.haikubamboonursery.net or find the nursery on Facebook.

DAYS IN THE GARDEN: SPRING PLANT SALE: noon-6 p.m. April 29 and 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. April 30, Botanical Gardens of Asheville, 151 W.T. Weaver Blvd. Annual event by Men’s Garden Club of Asheville. Proceeds benefit scholarships, beautification and other programs, as well as the botanical gardens. Bedding plants, hanging baskets and more. Details at http://mensgardenclubofasheville.org/

SPRING PLANT SALE: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 29 and 30, Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville. A great selection of perennials, vegetable starts, herbs, small trees and shrubs and some unusual annuals.

LAKE JUNALUSKA NATIVE PLANT SALE: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 30, Corneille Bryan Native Garden, County Road and J.B. Ivey Lane, Lake Junaluska. To learn more, call 828-778-5938.

MONTREAT NATIVE PLANT SALE: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 30, sponsored by Montreat Landcare, Moore Center Field and Classrooms, Assembly Drive at Lookout Road, Montreat. Free trees and lots of free advice, vendors and workshops, plus a food truck and music.

PLANT SALE: noon-4 p.m. May 1, Haywood Street Congregation, 297 Haywood St., Asheville. Buy plants, meet Debra Roberts of Holy Bee Press, pet the animals and take tea in the Fish and Loaves Bountiful Garden. Free. To learn more, call 828-246-4250 or visit http://haywoodstreet.org.

HANGER HALL SPRING PLANT SALE: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 30 and May 7, Hanger Hall School for Girls, 64 W.T. Weaver Boulevard, near UNCA. Perennials, annuals, ornamental grasses, herbs, hanging baskets and more.

ROSE PLANT SALE: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 14, parking lot of American Red Cross, 100 Edgewood Road, Asheville. Organized by the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society. Rose plants and experts on hand to answer all questions. While visiting, see the society’s “no spray” rose garden on site.

WNC DESIGN GUIDE SHOW: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, through May 14, The Studios at Flat Rock, 2702A Greenville Highway in Flat Rock. Meet many of the Studio’s artists to learn about the process of buying art for your home as an interactive collaboration between artist and patron. To learn more, visit www.studiosflatrock.com orwww.wncdesignguide.com or call 828-698-7000.

ROSE EXHIBITION: May 28-29, NC Arboretum, Asheville. Organized by the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society. Educational programs and hundreds of rose blooms.

HAYWOOD COUNTY GARDEN TOUR: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 18, “Pollinate, Propagate, Cultivate,” presented by NC Cooperative Extension Foundation, Haywood County Extension Center and Haywood County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. Tickets $15, on sale May 7 at the Whole Bloomin’ Thing in Frog Level, call 828-456-3575 or [email protected] $20 the day of the tour.

WORKSHOPS

INVASIVE PLANTS: BULLIES: 11:30- 1p.m. April 21, Buncombe County Extension Office, 49 Mount Carmel Road, Asheville, part of the Gardening in the Mountains Lecture Series. Master gardeners Barb Harrison and Gary Merrill discuss how to recognize and identify the most common invasives and how to reduce their spread. Free, but preregister by calling 828-255-5522. Visit buncombemastergardener.org.

USING PERENNIALS IN THE LANDSCAPE: 2-3:30 p.m. April 26, Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville. Crissy Dzielak of Landmark Landscapes will highlight great perennials for WNC. $12. Register at [email protected] or 828-698-6104.

WNC FARMERS MARKET

OPEN DAILY: Retail shops open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, Brevard Road at Interstate 40. Available now: Pots, bedding plants, native plants, flowers, seed potatoes, onion sets, ramps, creasy greens, strawberries and more. In the shops find root vegetables, greens, tomatoes, canned goods, local cheese, fresh eggs, honey, homemade ice cream and fudge, handcrafted gifts and more.

Upcoming events include:

Growing in the Mountains, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 22-23. Native plants, nursery material, bedding plants and more for home gardens.

27th annual Herb Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 29-30 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May 1. Herbs, trees, native plants, bedding plants, decorations and more.

ONGOING

MASTER GARDENERS’ SCHOOL GARDEN GRANT PROGRAM: Deadline for schools to apply is May 2. Selected schools receive a grant and support of master gardeners to create and maintain a school garden. Learn more and apply online atwww.buncombemastergardener.org or call 828-255-5522.

EXTENSION OFFICE HAS MOVED: The Buncombe County Extension Office has moved to 49 Mount Carmel Road in Erwin Hills. The phone number remains the same, 828-255-5522. For help anytime, visit www.buncombemastergardener.org.

LEICESTER GARDEN CLUB: Meets at 1 p.m. fourth Tuesday of the month at the Leicester Library. To learn more, call Crystal Dover at 828-259-9649.

WEAVERVILLE GARDEN CLUB: Meets at 9:30 a.m. second Tuesday of every month September through June in the Community Room at the Weaverville Town Hall on Main Street. To learn more, call 828-658-1154.

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Asheville rents most expensive in NC – and still climbing

arolina, according to the San Francisco-based company Apartment List.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit in Asheville has reached $1,180 a month, the highest in the state for that size among a set of 10 large North Carolina cities selected by Apartment List, said Andrew Woo, a company data scientist.

Asheville overtook Charlotte in January to top the state’s costliest rent list, Woo said.

Asheville's median rent for a two-bedroom apartment

Asheville’s median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is the most expensive in North Carolina. (Photo: Apartment List)

Charlotte and Durham are second and third with respective median rents of $1,140 and $1,100 for a two-bedroom unit.

The cost of renting in Asheville is something that can catch new residents by surprise.

“We tell them that they have to have a job or significant savings,” said Kimberly Evans, broker in charge at Alpha Real Estate in Asheville. “If they don’t, we recommend that they delay their plans” until they do one of the two.”

Alpha Real Estate’s inventory consists of about 200 apartments and houses for rent, Evans said.

An average offering would be a three-bedroom, one-bath unit with a rent of $1,200 a month, she said.

Though that’s hundreds of dollars less than the state median of $930 per month reported by Apartment List at the end of March, the bad news is Alpha Real Estate’s properties aren’t available too often.

“We’ve run at about a 99 percent occupancy rate for the last three years,” Evans said.

Bowen National Research, an Ohio-based real estate market consulting firm, researched rental apartment vacancy rates in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties during fall 2014.

The study Bowen published in January 2015 found a 1 percent vacancy rate.

Bowen researchers also found zero vacancies among 3,730 surveyed affordable rentals units, those being homes and apartments supported by tax credits and government subsidies.

Asheville city officials paid Bowen $29,750 to assess the region’s future housing needs.

Evans said Alpha’s properties frequently don’t even make it to a public listing.

“It’s common for people moving out to refer us to a friend who wants to move in,” she said.

National rental-rate price increases far outpaced North Carolina as a whole during the period surveyed in the report, 2.7 percent to 0.7 percent, Apartment List found.

But that’s no consolation for Asheville tenants and prospective tenants.

Rents rise annually 3-4 percent for the 250- 300 rental units in Asheville and Hendersonville owned and managed by Asheville-based Leslie and Associates Inc., said Tom Leslie, the owner.

“We’re fortunate because we don’t have the new high-end units,” such as those with granite counter tops, Leslie said.

He said he determines rents based on market research relevant to that unit, then advertises for that market.

A two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit for $895 outside downtown would be a “sweet-spot” unit that Leslie and Associates would advertise, he said.

Though prices depend on location, Leslie added.

A two-bedroom apartment on Albermarle Road, off Charlotte Street, north of downtown, goes for $1,075 per month, according to the company website.

While a three-bedroom house near the Country Club of Asheville is available for $2,550 per month, Leslie said.
“We don’t hear complaints about our prices because people who call us find a place they like on our website that’s affordable to them,” he said.

Still, Alpha Real Estate’s Evans foresees the rental market becoming tougher during the coming years.

“The trend is rents are going higher and higher,” Evans said. “All indicators are that the rental market (for landlords) will become stronger for the next 10 years.”

A September study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University agreed. It described the conditions confronting renters during the coming decade as “bleak.”

North Carolina rents grew 2 percent slower than U.S.

North Carolina rents grew 2 percent slower than U.S. rents from March 2015 to March 2016. (Photo: Apartment List)

“Under nearly all of the scenarios performed, we found that the renter affordability crisis will continue to worsen without intervention,” the authors concluded. “Even if the economy continues its slow recovery and income growth improves, there are simply not enough quality, affordable rental units to house the millions of households paying over half their income in rental costs.”

Despite that, Evans said she’s found that many people remain reluctant to buy a home.

She said that according to her data, more than a third of American renters want to remain renters.

“Young people don’t have the same faith in the economy anymore, and they are more transient,” Evans said. “They see the benefits of renting.”

But that outlook assumes tenants will be able to find a place at the outset.

Because of the realities of the Asheville regional market, that is far from a guarantee.

The local situation is so dire that public- and private-sector officials regularly refer to the Asheville affordable-housing environment as “a crisis.”

Strategies to tackle the problem have included providing incentives for developers to build more housing units along public transit lines; property-tax exemptions and reductions in permitting fees for developers depending on how many affordable units they construct; increasing the number of housing units allowed to be built per acre; and an exploration begun in August by the private sector to determine what role local business may play in providing solutions.

But even if all policies planned by Asheville public officials to alleviate the housing shortage occur, those strategies would yield just 2,800 new units by 2022. That’s one-half the 5,600 units Bowen report authors concluded the city needed more than a year ago.

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The Cliffs Announces Strong Sales and Momentum in 2016

Western Carolina Luxury Communities Announce Record 2015 Real Estate Transactions And Begins 2016 With Accolades, New Members and Plans for Continued Growth

Travelers Rest, S.C. (PRWEB) April 07, 2016

A strong upward growth trend continues within The Cliffs, a collection of seven private luxury mountain and lake communities in the western Carolinas. A total of 146 real estate transactions closed in 2015, representing a 20% increase over 2014 sales, and year-to-date sales in the first quarter of 2016 are up 16% over last year. The Cliffs continues to see an increase in land and home values across all seven communities, and sales leads with prospective buyers have increased 129% since 2014. To date, there are 1,532 completed homes and 111 homes under construction.

“We entered 2016 with strategic plans to build on the strong momentum generated in 2015,” says Kent Smith, President of Cliffs Land Partners. “At The Cliffs, our goal is to capture and perfect the four-season appeal of the Carolinas, and the recent activity not only showcases that we have sustainable and successful communities, but also validates our core belief that The Cliffs offers one of the most unique and diverse real estate opportunities in the country.”

The Cliffs Makes the Grade:

Located between two of the nation’s most award-winning cities for quality of life – Greenville, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina – The Cliffs provides access to an incredible range of amenities across all seven communities; a member of one is a member of all, offering a truly distinctive lifestyle that has placed the communities at the top of numerous “Best Of” lists.

The Cliffs has already received two significant awards in 2016, including recognition as the “Happiest Community in America” by Real Estate Scorecard, the industry leader in online real estate reviews. The award took into consideration rave reviews from property owners, who praised The Cliffs’ quality of life and unique blend of family recreation, entertaining, well-being and life-enriching experiences.

The Cliffs was also honored in the February 2016 issue of GOLF Magazine as one of the “25 Best Golf Communities in North America,” showcasing The Cliffs’ seven championship golf courses, as well as the diverse lifestyle and comprehensive membership offering.

New Members Come to The Cliffs:

Recognizing the unique appeal that membership offers, The Cliffs introduced new Corporate and National membership programs last year. In 2015 The Cliffs welcomed 202 new members including 20 new Corporate and National members, with plans to grow the program in 2016.

A limited number of memberships are currently available and provide a way for select businesses and corporately connected individuals to experience and entertain at The Cliffs. Similar to homeowners, members can access all amenities within the seven communities, including seven championship golf courses, cycling programs, wake-boarding, shooting sports, six wellness centers, more than fifty restaurant and private event venues, clubhouses, a marina, beach club, tennis complexes, an equestrian center, fly fishing, miles of hiking trails, wine clubs, an organic farm and a number of year-round social activities.

Continued Expansion on Lake Keowee & Mountain Park:

The Cliffs’ suite of amenities continues to expand. Later this year, The Cliffs at Mountain Park will open a wellness center to include a cardio theater with state-of-the-art equipment, group exercise classes, and personal training.

The next phase of The Cliffs will launch this summer with the unveiling of The Landing at Keowee Springs, a new 600-acre waterfront neighborhood within The Cliffs at Keowee Springs. Offering more than 150 premier lakefront homesites, The Landing will significantly increase The Cliffs’ prime real estate offering along Lake Keowee and is part of the ongoing development of the Keowee Springs community, which started last year with the successful release of the Dockside at Keowee Springs neighborhood. Additional planned developments for Keowee Springs incorporate a comprehensive amenity expansion, including a Clubhouse with a restaurant and bar; Wellness Center with an indoor pool, spa and tennis courts; and an outdoor pavilion and garden.

“It is exciting to embark on the next chapter of development at The Cliffs and continue the accelerated growth initiated by Dockside in 2015,” says David Sawyer, President of The Cliffs Clubs. “The exclusive addition of The Landing will bring a fresh perspective on lakefront lifestyle and we are looking forward to welcoming new members and families into this energetic community.”

The Cliffs at Keowee Springs was introduced in 2004 and spans 1,500 acres on the shore of Lake Keowee. Current amenities include the Beach Club that offers two pools, water slides, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards; The Porch that includes a fitness studio, member lounge, and golf shop; and the Carolina Smokehouse and Market.

For more information on The Cliffs, please visit http://www.CliffsLiving.com or call 866-411-5771.

About The Cliffs:

The Cliffs is a collection of seven premier private, luxury residential mountain and lake communities located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the western Carolinas, between two of the nation’s top award-winning cities for quality of life – Greenville, S.C. and Asheville, N.C. – and Clemson, S.C. The Cliffs’ suite of amenities for members includes seven clubs, six wellness centers, 50 restaurant and private event venues, seven championship golf courses, marinas, beach club, cycling, paddle sports, tennis complexes, equestrian center, hiking trails, wakeboarding, wine clubs, an organic farm and more than 4,000 year-round social activities to create timeless experiences. Homes at The Cliffs range in price from $500,000 to $6 million+; homesites, from $125,000. For more information about The Cliffs, visit http://www.CliffsLiving.com. Contact The Cliffs at 866-411-5771 or info(at)cliffsliving(dot)com to arrange a Discovery Visit.

via http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/16/04/p7816040/the-cliffs-announces-strong-sales-and-momentum-in-2016

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HGTV house in West Asheville hits the market for $490,000

The prize of a lifetime coveted by millions of people who entered into an HGTV-branded sweepstakes last summer is for sale in Asheville.

The fully-furnished HGTV Urban Oasis home, at 17 Russell St. in West Asheville, is on the market for $490,000.

Asheville Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty will facilitate the sale through a series of open houses on April 16-17 and 23-24 and a sealed bidding process that runs through the last open house on April 24.

The winner of the sweepstakes, Crystal Harriman, of Poulsbo, Washington, decided not to keep it. Harriman has three children, so life in the 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom bungalow would have been cramped.

“It’s a beautiful home, and we love it very much,” she said in a news release. “We had a hard time leaving it when we were in Asheville, but it would be really hard to uproot our children and our life.”

The 100-year-old home was fully remodeled by Asheville’s Wilson Architects and JAG Construction as part of the HGTV project, and it comes with furnishings and decorations by designer Brian Patrick Flynn. It includes works by local artists Hannah Dansie, Joanna Maldonado, Mark Bettis, Patricia Cotterill, Phillip Deangelo, Walter Arnold and Josh Copus, plus kitchen accessories, bikes and skateboards, art supplies and even the clothes.

The house part of the prize package is exactly as HGTV awarded it, explained Mike Figura, owner of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty. HGTV valued the house at $490,395, so that’s how Figura determined the list price.

Because the house is a TV star and it’s fully furnished, he said he doesn’t expect the sale price to affect home prices in Asheville.

“People who are concerned about affordable housing in Asheville, don’t panic about this,” he said. “This house is being sold furnished, and it’s a famous house. That’s going to be taken into account in the pricing.”

He also said sellers should not get unrealistic expectations about selling 1,300-square-foot homes for nearly half a million dollars. This deal is a one off.

A two-bedroom bungalow in West Asheville costs in the low to mid $200,000s.

Figura said he has no way to predict who will buy the house, but if he had to guess, he would say someone from out of town.

“I would probably say it will be a second home,” he said. “Most people in our market are who making a lateral move or moving up, they already have a furnished home.”

He said it will not be a vacation rental because they are prohibited in the city limits.

At the open houses, Figura said he expects potential buyers and curious fans of HGTV’s programming.

Open houses take place from 2-5 p.m. April 16-17 and 23-24 at 17 Russell Street. For more information, visit mymosaicrealty.com/home/17russell.

via http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2016/04/07/hgtv-house-west-asheville-hits-market-490000/82704258/

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Foreclosure rates in Asheville decrease

CoreLogic data reveals that the rate of Asheville area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.54 percent for January 2016, a decrease of 0.16 percentage points compared with January 2015 when the rate was 0.70 percent. Foreclosure activity in Asheville was lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 1.15 percent for January 2016.

Also in Asheville, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for January 2016, 1.97 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared with 2.50 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 0.53 percentage points.

Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic

Data Notes and Definitions:
90+ Day Delinquency Rate: This measures the percentage of loans that are more than 90 days delinquent, including those in foreclosure and REO (real estate owned).

Foreclosure Rate: This measures the percentage of loans in some stage of the foreclosure process. A foreclosure is defined by the legal process by which an owner’s right to a property is terminated, usually due to default. This does not represent the number of new foreclosure filings as provided by other data companies, but rather the current stock, or inventory, of loans in the foreclosure process which offers a comprehensive view of foreclosure trends. CoreLogic has approximately 85 percent coverage of foreclosure data.

About CoreLogic:
CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider. The company’s combined data from public, contributory and proprietary sources includes over 4.5 billion records spanning more than 50 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information. The markets CoreLogic serves include real estate and mortgage finance, insurance, capital markets, and the public sector. CoreLogic delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and managed services. Clients rely on CoreLogic to help identify and manage growth opportunities, improve performance and mitigate risk. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., CoreLogic operates in North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information, please visit www.corelogic.com.

via http://mountainx.com/blogwire/foreclosure-rates-in-asheville-decrease/

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