ASHEVILLE — Five historic Asheville properties received permanent protections in 2018 under a local program aimed at preserving the area’s history.
The sites include downtown’s Windsor Boutique Hotel, the Kent Building in the city’s River Arts District and a former church on South French Broad Avenue, the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County said this week. They’re being protected under the organization’s preservation easement program, allowing it to work with current and future property owners to protect the "historic integrity" of notable sites in the community.
Jack Thomson, executive director of the preservation society, said the program has been a "big focus" of the organization, particularly in recent years as Asheville has seen a prolonged development boom. He said it has come on strong of late as locals continually are "embracing how important historic architecture is to Asheville."
The organization currently has 24 deed-protected properties in the county within its preservation easement program, which first launched in 1979. Its first one was the historic Gudger House on Montford Avenue.
"We like (the program) because it’s kind of surgical" Thomson said. "It’s not a huge, broad overlay. Local historic districts are great. They serve a really great function. But in our downtown, we have some that don’t necessarily need to be protected. We’re not here to save every single thing.
"We want to save the places that are important to the community."
Here’s a bit about each of the newly preserved properties:
The Kent Building
The five-story property at 95 Roberts St., which now backs up to a gravel lot and railroad tracks, was built in 1923 — and later rebuilt several years later after being damaged by a fire. It is named for Fred Kent, who was the secretary and treasurer of Biltmore Wheathearts Co., a breakfast cereal company and the longtime primary tenant of the facility.
Its other major tenant was Ebbs Bros and Co., created by Madison County natives Cauley and Plato Ebbs, biography information provided by the preservation society shows.
Asheville City Council voted 5-2 in 2017 to clear the way for a 70-unit boutique hotel at the property.
The Windsor Hotel
The Windsor Boutique Hotel at 36 Broadway St. opened its latest iteration in 2014 after undergoing a rehabilitation by MRK Investments. It dates back to the early 20th century, having operated as a hotel, apartment building and a boarding house.
The property now offers 14 luxury suites featuring private bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens and living rooms for between $179 and $329 a night, its website shows.
It was named among Southern Living magazine’s picks as The South’s Best New Hotels of 2015 and its renovation effort also saw it take home the preservation society’s Griffin Award the previous year.
Christian & Missionary Alliance Church
The two-story church at 16 S. French Broad Ave. was built in 1929 and served as the longtime home of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church congregation. It is described as a "large, rectangular-plan building" constructed primarily with stone and resting on a full basement.
Buncombe County property data shows it is owned by Charlotte-based 16 S. Broad Street LLC, which took control of the site in November from South Atlantic District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Inc.
The preservation society said future plans for the site are not yet known, but the easement means "it will be cared for into the future."
The Beaufort House Inn
A Queen Anne-style home, the house was built in 1895 by former North Carolina Attorney General and Asheville Mayor Theodore Davidson. In his time, Davidson was one of the Buncombe County Rifleman who, at age 16, "marched away from Asheville" in April of 1861 to join the Confederate Army in the Civil War, the preservation society said.
It now operates as an 11-room bed and breakfast owned by Jim and Christina Muth.
The longtime hotel at 647 Biltmore Ave. has been in operation since the late 1930s, the preservation society said. It was built as a 20-room home for $10,000 in 1891 by William E. Breese Sr., who’d moved to Asheville from South Carolina to open First National Bank.
Positioned about three blocks from the Biltmore Estate, Cedar Crest now is marketed as Asheville’s "bed and breakfast of choice," offering rooms from between $165 to $285 a night, its website shows.
It has rooms named for Breese and its second owner, Arthur F. Reese, as well as a number of other bedrooms and suites.
This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: These 5 Asheville historic relics have new ‘permanent’ protections