Backstory and Context
Conceived by manufacturer turned developer E. W. Grove and designed by architect Charles N. Parker, the Grove Arcade has been a landmark in Asheville, North Carolina, since it opened as a public market in 1929. Designed in the Gothic and Tudor Revival styles with richly detailed terra cotta, the building is Asheville’s largest structure. From the time of its opening until 1942, the Grove Arcade was a center of western North Carolina commercial and civic life. During World War II, the Arcade was taken over by the Federal government to relocate offices displaced in Washington D.C. by new war departments. At the war’s conclusion, the building remained in federal ownership and eventually was reconfigured to serve as headquarters of the National Climatic Data Center. The Grove Arcade was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. When the Climatic Center moved to a new facility in 1994, the Grove Arcade was declared surplus property.
In order to convert the Grove Arcade into a mixed-use development and return the building to its former splendor, the City of Asheville acquired this property through the Historic Surplus Property Program in 1997. The City subsequently entered into a long-term lease arrangement with the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation that rehabilitated the ground floor of the building as a public market. The Foundation, in turn, formed a partnership with a for-profit developer, leading to a major rehabilitation of the remaining two-thirds of the property for shops, restaurants, offices, and apartments.