Today’s batch of burning questions, my smart answers, and the real deal:
Question: What’s going on with the Hot Spot store on the corner of Asheland Avenue and Hilliard Avenue? It appears to be barricaded and fenced. Is this apparent closure permanent? I heard that it could become a wine bar or a brasserie.
My answer: Man, what a disappointment. This has always been my favorite place in Asheville to be approached by beggars or people trying to get into my car without permission.
True answer: Rumors abounded about this property, which was a somewhat notorious convenience store. That’s partly because of a very entertaining Twitter account someone was using without Hot Spot’s approval, which regaled us with stories from some of Hot Spot’s most sketchy customers.
Answer man: What is this new building on South Slope? And what about picking up Waste Pro?
In any case, rumors have included suggestions that the site, at the corner of Hilliard and Asheland Avenues, could become an upscale wine bar or brewery. While I’m sure a lot of wine and malt drinks have been consumed on or near these premises in the past, that seems like overkill.
But then again, this is Asheville, which has a brewpub/hotel/taco emporium on every corner. And sharp-eyed business people love reusing old gas stations.
RL Jordan Oil Co. Inc., based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, operates the Hot Spot chain, but ownership is owned by a Jordanian holding company, RLJOC Holding Inc.
Wilton L. Jordan is the CEO of RL Jordan Oil Co., and he answered my questions via email.
“The Hot Spot on Asheland Avenue has been operated by our company for nearly 50 years,” Jordan said. “We have seen many positive developments in this part of Asheville over the past decade and we hope to see more positive improvements in the future.”
Answer man: West Asheville has a “giant pile of rubble”? On-site cemetery?
He acknowledged that this part of the city has changed a lot in recent years. Although parts of the South Slope remain a bit sketchy, it’s also home to a bunch of breweries, restaurants, businesses and residences that have made it a very popular part of town.
“Unfortunately, as the neighborhood has changed over the years, we’ve had fewer customers and more challenges operating a successful convenience store,” Jordan said. “As a result, we are at a point where we felt we needed to explore alternatives for this property.”
He did not elaborate on those alternatives.
“We want our business to meet the needs of our communities,” Jordan said. “When we cease to be able to serve this purpose, it is time for a change. We have the property for sale, but we are also exploring, with the help of a local architectural firm, the repurposing of the property to a type of business that we believe can be successful in this corner.”
Dan Durbin, president of RLJOC Holdings Co., told me that they “have not fully discussed the future of this store yet,” although they were presented with several options. He then referred me to Jordan.
I also contacted the Asheville Department of Planning and Planning, as well as the Office of Development Services.
“There are no pending development applications for this address,” said Shannon Tuch, senior planner with the city’s planning and urban design department.
Answer man: Are Cliffs at High Carolina permits still valid? An activity there?
Planning and Development Division Manager Chris Collins said on March 7 that they had no plan application or submission for the property.
Buncombe County property records show the former Hot Spot building sits on 0.29 acres. It has a total land value assessed at $668,7000, including $517,9000 for the land.
The 1,648 square foot building dates from 1943.
Hot Spot still has several other locations open in the Asheville Market.
“Hot Spot is a majority women-owned business with a 73-year history in North Carolina, and we are fully committed to serving our loyal customers at our other locations in the Asheville and West Carolina area. “Jordan said.
The last permit on file for the South Slope store is from 2019 and was for a repair/upfit.
I checked out this notorious Twitter handle (@hotspotavl), which cannot be sanctioned by the company but has provided plenty of entertainment over the years. But these champions of snark and satire have been pretty low key since the shutdown.
Answer man: Is the Ramada Inn still open for regular business? Towne Place Suites still exists?
The latest tweet is from February 7 and reads: “we all dumped last night at the Grove Park Inn”.
Anyway, if I hear more about this little Asheville real estate hotspot, I’ll let you know.
This is the opinion of John Boyle. To submit a question, contact him at 232-5847 or [email protected]