Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Biltmore Square Mall: Asheville, NC

Throughout the fall, I have been featuring several retail points of interest in the Asheville Series, and this post wraps up the set.  This is the last of the enclosed malls in Asheville, and it is also the newest.  Built in 1989, Biltmore Square brought real competition to then completely dominant Asheville Mall with anchors Proffitt's, Hess's and Belk, a movie theater and junior anchor Goody's.  Both Proffitt's and Hess's specifically were new to the city and the state, providing two shopping options very unfamiliar to Asheville shoppers.  It was then built by Simon and featured very elegant design on a pretty basic footprint.  The location was quite odd in that it was in a place with a lack of adequate buildable land for adjacent retail as it was close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and across I-26 from Biltmore Estate.  Also, the mall struggled to attract much attention as it got its start in the middle of a recession.  It was an interesting idea, but it was also cursed.  A combination of poor planning and the mall's slow start were warning signs of the future.


Biltmore Square has continued to struggle since it was built.  While the mall hung on, it was always a second-tier mall in an area easy to overlook.  The exit showing "NC 191: To Blue Ridge Parkway" is not the type of exit you would expect to find a mall and extravagant retail options on.  In fact, most of the new retail eventually found a home two exits down on much more heavily traveled NC 280, and the mall's fortunes would have been better if they had located there.  Whlie the city has always been popular with tourists and a hopeful destination for many to live in, the anti-growth atmosphere and general lack of jobs made it difficult for the mall to get a foothold.  It would have required significant suburban expansion for the mall to have really taken off, and this never really happened.  Most people in the city would rather not see sprawl anyway, because they want to protect views from the Parkway, Biltmore Estate and not be priced out of the city by a flood of newcomers with more money than them.


 

Two views along the entrance wing next to Belk, originally Proffitt's.  This part of the mall is in really, really bad shape.  Mall owners need to realize that we don't relish the death of malls that take pictures of them dying: we just want to capture them on film before they're gone.

 

The mall map is somewhat out of date still showing Steve & Barry's and Dillard's as anchors, yet Davis Furniture is shown in the former Goody's.  Biltmore Square lost 3 out of 4 anchors in early 2009.

The mall's design was also extremely outlandish and not in character with the city.  Having a mall full of palm trees, arched skylights and turquoise/pastel tones has never been an appropriate image for a city surrounded by mountains full of actual fir, spruce and hemlock trees.  Something just felt very gaudy about a mall that looked like Las Vegas in the middle of the Western North Carolina mountains.  The owners would have done much better to build a mall with more earthtones, possibly a German theme and lots of wood trim, but such designs were firmly and completely out of style in 1989 after the 60's and 70's overkill of it.  They could have at least tried to model it somewhat after the Biltmore House, but they failed in this category as well aside from many ornate touches found throughout.  People in the city have been asking for years why it was built.


 

To me, the most fascinating aspect of this mall is the variety of skylight features including high windows, domed skylights and overhead box skylights.  They truly went all out, and at the time it was built there was little concern about the older mall.  That plan did not work so well in the 90's as growth no longer followed the mall.


Some additional skylight details near the Belk (Proffitt's) entrance.



I guess this is supposed to be deer jumping through a neon (flaming?) hoop?  This mall had much attention to detail when it was built.


Palm trees, domed skylights and pastels...you'd think you were in Vegas.

After the mall opened, the anchors saw some shuffling, which Asheville has seen more of than most.  The first was in 1992 when Hess's, the northern  anchor of the mall, became Dillard's when the chain sold out.  It would have otherwise become Proffitt's, but Proffitt's already anchored the mall.  Proffitt's found a less than receptive market in Belk-centric North Carolina, and their bold attempt to expand into that market weakened the company, which is part of why Belk eventually bought it out.  Belk at the time was the mall's middle anchor with Proffitt's on the south end of the mall.


 

 


I have to admit, I really like the ironworks.  This particular structure in center court, which my camera did not seem to like, has a clock with "ASHEVILLE" on top and "BILTMORE SQUARE" underneath.  The clock had stopped at almost 1 o'clock and I was there about 7.  It's not a good sign that they don't even bother to keep the clock running.  The last photo is by Pat Richardson.



Here is a look at the mall's fountain.  Nice, but not terribly impressive.  The vegetation around it was nearly obscuring it.  The fountain is one thing it has the Asheville Mall doesn't.

The merger of Proffitt's and Belk is what has really wreaked havoc on Biltmore Square.  When Proffitt's was merged with Belk, Belk took over the former Proffitt's location leaving an empty anchor in the middle instead of opening a second store.  For a time, the old Belk was filled by Steve & Barry's University Sportswear, but the bankruptcy in the chain early in the year coincided with the downgrading of the Dillard's at the mall to a clearance store (next step closing).  Even before this happened, the mall was suffering from vacancies and was already pretty much dying.  In fact, there was already talk that the mall was going under before any department stores closed.  The lack of retail expansion around it suggested that it wasn't doing so well early on.  I was quite suprised in the 90's to see that not one thing had built near the mall since it opened.  Ryan's Steakhouse and Kmart on outlots makes the mall feel firmly trapped in the 80's, and it is.  To make matters worse, Goody's also went bankrupt and closed their location in the mall in early 2009. No struggling mall could have ever had a worse turn of events than losing two major anchors in a short time with the third nearly closing by downgrading to a clearance store.  I encountered a similar scenario when I visited Century Plaza in Birmingham, which closed only two years after I visited and took the pics for an earlier post.



Beyond the fountain, the mall starts looking more lively.  From the center court to Dillard's, the mall still has quite a few businesses in operation.  Waldenbooks is still in the mall when this photo was taken.

 

 


The food court is really nice if you're looking at design alone.  The reality is that less than half of it is full.  A Chick-Fil-A holds on in the background, but it definitely has customers.


Mall entrance near the former Dillard's.  Garfield's Restaurant used to be on the left.

In all, Biltmore Square has had terrible luck in 2009.  The mall is now going from struggling mall to a mall in very serious trouble.  What major tenants do remain are likely just filling out their leases.  Most of the tenants in the mall are B-tenants including Davis Furniture, which moved from Westgate Shopping Center to fill the old Goody's.  Traffic is low in the mall, and people in the mall are in marvel at the sudden dramatic decline of the center.  Shoppers in the mall carrying Belk bags seem to be the major business in the mall, but they are finding little beyond it other than mom and pop stores such as irreverent "I Got Balls" selling, you guessed it, golf balls at the edge of the food court.  The movie theater is still hanging on, though, and it is still featuring first run movies.

 

Some of the oddest shops show up in malls that have difficulty keeping chains.  Once upon a time, this was part of the food court.  Today, you can...ummm...get balls here.  Eunichs need not apply.

 

This is the mall entrance close to Belk (Proffitt's).  Dollar Tree does not have an inside mall entrance.

This is the mall entrance closest to Dillard's.  The red building used to be Garfield's Restaurant.


Biltmore Square's main sign out on NC 191.  "Over 50 stores open for business" is sadly intepreted as "Please don't stop shopping here!"

In all, there really is not anything positive I can say about the mall.  The thing is, when malls die, they generally die quietly.  For awhile, nobody wants to admit they're dying.  The town who makes money from it and faces blight, the owners who don't want to go under and the shopkeepers in the mall who are losing business.  The tenants just quietly leave as the mall withers away until one day the doors are locked forever.  A dying mall is like cancer.  It is usually fatal, and sometimes it can be cured but more often than not it tends to come back.  Sometimes you can save them, but generally the owners just let it go and try to build something new where it was before as if it never existed.  As for Biltmore Square, I don't know, but I do know that the people are right, it should never have been built.
 


Belk (former Proffitt's) mall entrance.  The store seems to be holding on fairly well.  Belk carries an exclusive "Biltmore" line of products that are of course a perfect fit for this mall.  The second photo is by Pat Richardson, which brings out a bit more color in the mall entrance.  Teal was by far the trendiest color around at the time of Nirvana and Umbro soccer shorts.


Originally, this was the Belk mall entrance.  Steve & Barry's took over the spot when they took over the old Proffitt's.  Steve & Barry's had such a tacky logo...even worse than Burlington Coat Factory.  Everybody thought when they got going a few years ago they would save many of the dead anchors in the malls.  However, the poor locations in ailing malls combined with the poor quality merchandise did not set too well with the public, which led to the rapid death of the chain.

 

The mirrored entrance to the Dillard's Clearance Store here is frightening, because it sneaks up on you.  I did not even notice it until I was practically on top of it.  This store opened as Allentown, PA based Hess's.


Goody's mall entrance jumped out of the side of the Belk wing looking like an inline tenant.  If not for the white sign frame, I would not have even guessed this was a former anchor.  

Personally, I never did like the idea of a mall that close to Biltmore Estate, and the mall looks terribly dated now since it has never once been renovated since the day it opened.  I cannot even give any shadow of hope for it.  It is obvious there is no way it can be saved other than total redevelopment.  It is also a totally boring mall in comparison to Asheville Mall, and the new lifestyle center development at Biltmore Village has lured away many of the upscale shoppers as well.  The best course of action for the mall would be to tear everything down except for the Belk.  In its place, put up a new multi-screen movie theater, a decent grocery store to compete with Ingles and lay it out somewhat like a lifestyle center.  If not that, find some community or government use for it.  Regardless, no matter what happens the place is a goner, and no matter what the reason I hate to see a mall go.  It still had a respectable 20 year run, but I hope that next time that they will build something more appropriate.





Belk (former Proffitt's) at the mall.  More and better pictures can be found on Live Malls. The second picture is by Pat Richarson highlighting that teal again suggesting a good selection of flannel shirts to grunge out to.

 


The original Belk location, last operating as Steve & Barry's University Sportswear.  The second photo is by Pat Richardson showing the same on a sunnier day.

 

 

Dillard's sign was still in place and working, but it was not open when I visited, so I thought it had shut down.  In the second photo, I took the sign in reference to the rare Carolina Hemlocks planted on the corner.  I wondered why more retail in Asheville area did not feature Carolina Hemlocks as part of their landscaping, since it is native to the area.


Former Goody's entrance.  Davis Furniture did little to disguise its former function.  Photo by Pat Richardson.


 Cinnebarre sounds like a place to buy cinnamon rolls, not a place to watch movies.  I have never heard of it before, but I think I heard it was added recently in hopes of drawing more traffic to the mall.  It is drawing traffic, but unfortunately not in the mall itself.

25 comments:

  1. Dillard's is still open, it never closed.

    It operates as an outlet/clearance center and has since last year when the Eastland clearance center closed.

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  2. Man, this place reminds me a lot of the old Greenville Mall in Greenville, South Carolina...

    -- Mall built in the wrong location
    -- One anchor bought by Dillard's
    -- One anchor new to the area that didn't end up working out (Proffitt's, although in Greenville it was a Parisian before)
    -- Zero mall traffic except for a tiny cluster
    -- General 90s mall decor, which appears to be pretty inviting and well kempt
    -- Local furniture store moves into vacant anchor

    That's enough similarities for now...will the next one be razing everything save for one anchor and starting over? Poor mall.

    I do love the mirrored Dillard's entrance here.

    JT, you've been on quite a roll lately...A+ for all your hard work!

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  3. Actually, Dillard's isn't dead, according to posters at my site. Since they shifted to being a clearance center, the hours are a little odd, which leads people who come early or late to the mall to believe that they're closed.

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  4. Yep, open 11-7 M-Sa, 1-5 on Sun. I was there a couple of weeks ago, actually. Since Dillards uses the gates when they close for the day, they tend to look shuttered.

    One easy way to tell if a Dillard's is closed for good is the signage. Dillard's removes the sign on a closed location on its last day of operation. When they get out, they get out fast.

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  5. Biltmore Square might would have survived if they would have had a strong anchor line up. If Biltmore Square was marketed as a slightly more upscale choice rather than another mid-market mall along the same lines as Ashville Mall, then they might would have been better off now. Also I know that Simon build Biltmore Square, but does anyone know who was in charge of Ashville Mall during the late 1980s. Whoever it was I think it was pretty smart of them to expand and renovate Ashville Mall at the same time as Biltmore Square's opening.

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  6. Goody's wasn't in the orginal floor plans when the mall was built in 1989. In the mid 90's the the mall - suprisingly enough - was going though a crisis for sales and Goody's was at the dated, run-down Westgate Mall in Asheville (where Earth Fare is now). In 1995, the Biltmore Square Mall took any unwanted spaces, specifically on that south-east corner, added more indoor space on the backside on the building and that is when Goody's moved in. Goody's closed in the Biltmore Square mall in 2004.

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  7. Comments(7)Recommend
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    Buzz up!Twitter Waldenbooks at Biltmore Square Mall will close as part of a company-wide restructuring.





    Borders Group, the parent company of Waldenbooks, put out a press release Thursday about the closures, which will affect 200 stores in 2010.


    Since opening in 1989, Biltmore Square Mall has had trouble attracting shoppers and stores. Steve & Barry's, a seller of inexpensive clothing, was the last high-profile closure, shutting down last year.


    In 2005, national mall owner and operator Simon Property Group transferred ownership of the mall to a loan servicing company. A local company, Biltmore Eight LLC, which includes five local investors, bought the mall in November 2006 with hopes of reviving business and renovating the mall.


    But Biltmore Eight put the mall up for sale in January, with an asking price of about $37 million. The group initially had considered a plan to renovate the mall and turn it into an outlet center, but renovation costs of an estimated $35-40 million were too high.


    Here’s the press release about Waldenbooks:


    As part of Borders Group's ongoing strategy to right-size its Waldenbooks Specialty Retail segment and emerge with a smaller, more profitable mall chain in fiscal 2010, the retailer will close approximately 200 mall stores in January, leaving approximately 130 mall-based locations open. A list of mall stores expected to close is included in this news release and has been posted at www.borders.com/waldenstorelist. The list is not final and is subject to change pending finalization of agreements over the coming weeks. Importantly, today's announcement regarding the mall business does not include Borders superstores or the company's seasonal mall kiosk business, which includes over 500 Day by Day Calendar Co. units, among other mall-based retail concepts.


    “America has a number of malls that continue to do well and draw customer traffic even in the current economy,” said Borders Group Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall. “We believe there remains an opportunity to profitably operate a much smaller Waldenbooks segment that complements our core Borders superstore business and continues to serve readers in their communities. Through this right-sizing, we will reduce the number of stores with operating losses, reduce our overall rent expense and lease-adjusted leverage and generate cash flow through sales and working capital reductions.”


    As long as the stores remain open, all will honor previously purchased gift cards, and gift cards can continue to be used in any Borders or Waldenbooks location or online at Borders.com. There will be no change in member status for customers who joined the Borders Rewards customer loyalty program at locations slated to close.

    In your voice|Read reactions to this story

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  8. The closing here of Waldenbooks is absolutely no surprise, but what surprises me more is that the Blue Ridge Mall location is NOT closing. This definitely is not limited to dying mall locations. I noticed this on their list.

    I have oddly photographed quite a few of the closing Waldenbooks locations in anticipation of this less than joyous event. I am especially unhappy about it, because this was previously one of the fun reasons to go to the mall.

    It was nice to be able to go to the food court, music store, pet store, one of several book stores and other such places aside from buying clothes. The mall I went to as a kid once had Cole's, Waldenbooks and B. Dalton all near each other. I feel sorry for today's mall rats. If malls are falling out of favor, it's partly because they are not fun anymore.

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  9. ASHEVILLE — Biltmore Square Mall, which has struggled for years in attracting and keeping tenants and shoppers, is losing two retail chain stores.





    But mall management remains upbeat about the mall's transition to a discount-type retail center, noting that two locally owned retailers are set to fill both spaces being vacated.

    Waldenbooks at Biltmore Square Mall will close in January as part of a companywide restructuring, according to parent company Borders Group. Fashion Bug, a women's clothier that had been at the mall since 1990, closed Oct. 23, in part because of sluggish traffic.

    “The mall has been struggling, and it's had its effect on our store as well,” said Gayle Coolick, vice president of investor relations for Charming Shoppes Inc., which owns 868 Fashion Bug stores nationwide.

    Mary Davis, spokeswoman for Borders Group, said the decision to close Waldenbooks at the mall was “more of a corporate strategy.”

    “We've been right-sizing the Waldenbooks chain for many years,” she said. “And by reducing the store count by about 200 stores to 130, we think that move will leave us with a viable mall business.”

    Mall manager Sharon Morgan said Keith Davis, who operates two furniture stores in the mall, will open The Davis Furniture Clearance Center in the former Fashion Bug space. The mall is in discussions with a Christian discount bookstore interested in taking the Waldenbooks spot.

    Occupancy in the 494,919-square-foot mall, on Brevard Road just off Interstate 26, stands at 75 percent, counting Christmas specialty retailers.

    “We are getting a lot of people out here who like the discount retailers,” Morgan said. “We still firmly believe the thing to do would be to make this a discount mall.”

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  10. One of the joys of my childhood was going to Tanglewood Mall on a Saturday afternoon and checking out what was new at Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Bookseller. It’s hard to remember in a post-superstore and internet world how good these stores were, but they actually were decent stores with good selections in their heyday. They were at least as good as a typical Barnes & Noble and Borders, just smaller and lacking the chairs and coffee.

    IMO what killed them was the shifting of corporate focus by their parent companies. After Barnes & Noble and Borders took of in the ’90s, both B. Dalton and Waldenbooks became de-facto outlets for their corporate families and started filling the fronts of their stores with worthless bargain book sections: poorly conceived clearance aisles filled with low quality books that should never have been published in the first place. The over-abundance of loss leaders shrunk the traditional book selections to a shadow of their former selves and ruined the two chains’ reputations as sources for quality books.

    Even though Barnes & Noble corporate eventually saw the light and integrated the Barnes & Noble search and order capabilities into their B.Dalton mall stores, Borders corporate steadfastly refused to bring Waldenbooks in line with Borders search and order capabilities until Waldenbooks got so small they couldn’t support their own system.

    It doesn’t take a retail genius to figure out that the companies were de-emphasizing the mall stores in favor of a larger, more profitable format and that the reduced selection of a modern Waldenbooks and B.Dalton would eventually make they easy to dispose of if the mall business never recovered (and it hasn’t so far).

    It’s sad to think of how many small and medium sized cities will now have no new general-interest bookstore thanks to B. Dalton and Waldenbooks’ closures. Danville, Va. and Bluefield, W.Va. immediately come to mind: somewhat isolated cities that don’t have enough college-educated customers to be considered for a book superstore but yet have enough population to support one. Cities like these will be solely at the mercy of Walmart and the like, which only stock books they figure will sell to a mainstream audience and little else.

    This is an embarrassing and depressing situation. Why should people in typically sized American cites have to travel 60 miles or more just to buy a non-New York Times bestseller book in person? I just hope that a company like Books-A-Million will step up and bring some essential choice and selection back to these towns.

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  11. I've lived in Asheville for over 20 years now, and I can say that the Biltmore Mall is the best choice for Sunday strolling with your family without having to deal with a lot of young kids screaming, cursing, cruising and being overcrowded.. I just wish JCPenney would move out there.. and I live 6 min. away from the Mall!

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  12. To understand why this mall has been in a death spiral since 1989, you have to understand that West Asheville is almost totally cut off from the other areas of Asheville. It is difficult to go from North, South, and East Asheville to West Asheville because of the geography. You have to make a trip out of your way to West Asheville. You'd need a compelling reason to visit this mall, and there isn't one. In terms of shopping on weekends, the real axis is in East/South Asheville, where all the other stores are and the other mall is. To do your shopping on one end of town, and then make a trip to West Asheville, has been a non-starter for Asheville residents for over twenty years now. The mall does have proximity to I-26 and I-40, but only if you're going to West Asheville anyway.

    The only store you'd want to go to for weekly shopping is the K-Mart across from the mall (the traffic pattern is gonzo - to get from K-Mart to the mall you have to cross a FOUR-LANE road with lots of sight-obstructing bushes and no traffic lights), and there's a K-Mart in both East and South Asheville, so it's not compelling.

    I used to work in the Biltmore Park area. There is a huge office complex behind the mall. The mall is dead, dead, dead. The only place to get a quick, cheap lunch was Burger King, and it closed.

    Waldenbooks closed, too.

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  13. This mall needs to be redeveloped as an art center. The interior design is perfect for one. Dillard's, Belk, and all the shops and restaurants can move to Arden where Target, Best Buy and Rack Room Shoes are.

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  14. I have never been a fan of Biltmore Square. Now shopping there is like going to a "yard sale". Reminds of me of shopping at Sky City in the final days or shopping at Roses now. The mom and pop stores located in the mall are "junky" and unappealing. I am really cannot believe Chic-fil-a and Belk are still open. I am not sure what the answer is. I do not see Biltmore Square surviving at its present form. It is on full life support. Belk did not open as an original anchor. It came about two years after the mall opened. Since Belk and Proffits merged into the Proffits location, the stores shopping area has been reduced, and it looks pitiful.

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  15. The Biltmore Square Mall is getting a new tenant, and the financially troubled Health Adventure is getting a new lease on life.

    The nonprofit children's museum and health education operation, which filed for bankruptcy this spring in the wake of its failed plans for a new museum, will move into Biltmore Square Mall this fall.

    The Health Adventure will take over the former Goody's clothing store in the mall, according to Jason Wells, vice president at Park Ridge Health, which has become a partner with the Health Adventure.

    “It's a win for both of us,” Wells said. “The mall will get an extra 130,000 visitors a year, and we think that location is perfect — right between Biltmore (Lake) and Biltmore Park where so many families live.”

    Plans call for the Health Adventure to build three classrooms in the 30,000-square-foot space, and Wells said the Health Adventure will conduct various classes and programs there. The move also will allow the Health Adventure to expand its hours of operations.

    Sharon Morgan, general manager at the mall, said the agreement is “a great thing for us.” With the Health Adventure, the mall's occupancy rate will rise to 80 percent.

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  16. Aren't they turning it into an outlet mall like Discover Mills in Georgia?

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  17. They are going to move the Health Adventure from Pack Place in Downtown Asheville into one of the vacant anchors. Cinnebar is a cinema where you can eat dinner while watching a film. Biltmore Square Mall probably will be replaced with something like Biltmore Park in the near future, and the old mall will be all but forgotten.

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  18. From the looks of things yesterday, it seems that Belk is throwing in the towel as well. Half of the store has been walled off and now sits in the dark. Judging from the clothing section, they are no longer restocking.

    The rest of the mall is dominated by mom-n-pops and arcades, with the exception of maybe 8-10 chains. Kind of a flea market vibe all around. Stores that are still in business have adopted empty storefronts to provide additional advertising, partially camouflaging the fact that it's getting sparse in places. A giant Chik-Fil-A inflatable cow sits on stage under the central clock. The ubiquitous Davis Furniture and Davis Clothing outlets have sprung up in places where the rent is cheap, as they tend to do here in western NC. One store stands open and barely lit, playing host to a flock of new Nissans. No salespeople, just Nissans.

    All that being said, however, the mall was hardly empty, with a modest amount of shoppers out and about in the mall area, plus tons of folks at Discount Dillards.

    The mall itself is geographically isolated on the outskirts of a city that takes pride in supporting local business in its revitalized downtown districts. This mall's final days will probably be spent catering to the more budget conscious crowd.

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  19. If I'm not mistaken, the mall was originally developed by an heir of the Biltmore Estate - one of the Cecil family members.

    In the past five years, hasn't the same family developed Biltmore Park, farther east, toward Hendersonville? This new complex is more "big box" in appearance, and quite a monstrosity. I wonder what ancestor George Vanderbilt would think of it all. While he did create Biltmore Village when building his estate, I cannot imagine that he'd be thrilled to see the land that has been devastated by the latter's construction.

    Back to Biltmore Square...I have always been surprised that it didn't convert to a large outlet center. Those venues are always popular, especially in that region.

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  20. Actually, there now seems to be a new push to turn it into the areas only Factory Outlet Mall. It will be good if it comes to reality, the nearest outlet mall is actually out of state. A high end outlet mall would do good there, due to the high amount of affluent residents living on the south side of Asheville.

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  21. Biltmore Square has always been cursed. The exit to get to the mall is a big pain in the you know what, especially coming from Asheville. And the mall was gauche looking, even when it was new. By the way, Biltmore Square and Biltmore Park are located SOUTH of Asheville. And I-26 runs North and South through WNC, despite it's East/West designation. (In toal the road runs northwest in East TN to Southeast in Charleston).

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you pinted out that the mall is located SOUTH of Asheville. Additionally, Hendersonville is SOUTH of Asheville. I've never understood why I-26 was routed east-west. Makes no sense when you look at a map.

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    2. The "east-west" refers to the Appalachian Mountains. It seems somewhat cultural, but basically the view is if you are on the ocean side of the mountains you are east and if you are on the midlands side you are west. Therefore, if you are crossing the mountains in a technically north-south direction, you are headed "east" if you are headed to the ocean side of the mountains. I still don't like that I-26 is as it is, but I try not to worry too much about it.

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  22. Part of the issue with Biltmore Mall was that they owners never really did much advertising since the initial opening push, and what little they did wasn't really competitive with Asheville Mall's campaigns.

    However with Asheville Mall's transition to "just another mall" mode pretty much complete, it think a creative management staff and some out of the box thinking could actually bring Biltmore back from the brink, making it something out of the ordinary.

    Maybe something more entertainment driven?

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  23. Update:
    The Biltmore Square Mall is closing for good either on January 14 of 17 2014. I am really depressed to see it go as well. When it first opened i was a freshmen in high school and it was only 3 miles from my house as opposed to crossing town to go to the Asheville Mall. Anytime i got bored i could always ride over there and meet some friends either shopping or working somewhere in there. From what i understand they are gonna tear structure down and build outlet strips to replace it.

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