ASHEVILLE– Ahead of the June 12th City Council Meeting where Asheville residents plan to voice their concerns over a 0.8-acre parcel of land owned by the city, McKibbon Hotel Group has revised their plans for the property in hope to win over the public.
McKibbon a Gainsville, Ga. company, who has offered $2.3 million for the land, originally intended to put a 150-room hotel and a public plaza on the site. But public opposition over the proposed plan led the McKibbon staff to change the proposed design.
McKibbon revealed the new design to the Citizen Thymes on Sunday evening. McKibbon has bought the design plans of the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International and plans on building a smaller replica in downtown Asheville.
“We were hearing people complain that our original plans for the hotel would be an eye sore for the Asheville skyline. What better way to enhance the beauty of the Asheville skyline than to bring in the most beautiful skyline in the world, New York City?” said Wes Townson, a vice president with McKibbon.
The New York-New York Hotel replica will not include a casino but will include most of the skyline including a replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and others. The hotel will include 1,000 rooms and a small lake in the front of the property representing the New York Harbor.
“Well I guess the homeless will have a place to bathe now,” said Randy Patterson, a 54-year-old Asheville resident.
Patterson opposes the McKibbon hotel and hopes the City Council will accept the Basilica of St. Lawrence $2.6 million bid for the property. The Basilica hopes to turn the property into a public plaza.
Patterson prefers to have a public plaza as opposed to another high-rise, but more specifically Patterson is worried about McKibbon’s plan to include a roller coaster in the new design.
“The noise from the roller coaster is going to make downtown unpleasant,” said Patterson. “I can barely hear myself think as it is now when I go downtown with all the street performers.”
McKibbon plans on including a roller coaster that resembles a traditional checker cab that will travel through the property’s interior and exterior. The coaster is expected to be 203 ft tall, have a maximum drop of 144 ft, and will reach speeds up to 67 mph.
“For those that complained they won’t be able to see the mountains or other Asheville attractions because the high rise will block their view, now with the roller coaster, for the small price of $14 you can see Asheville in all it’s glory and have a screaming good time doing it,” said Townson. “As for the noise, I don’t think the coaster will be any louder than that drum circle y’all have every Friday night.”
Townson believes the New York-New York Hotel replica will be a winner with the public for two reasons.
“Well I read John Boyle’s column in the Citizen Times about whether Yankees are welcome and I have to say after reading that I feel pretty comfortable bringing a New York vibe to Asheville,” said Townson. “Plus I’ve been made aware Asheville is known as a cesspool of sin. What better way to represent a cesspool of sin than to bring in a little piece of Sin City?”
The City Council will hear comments from both sides of the property debate on June 12th.