The historic Cotton Mill property located at 191 Riverside Drive and the property directly across the street at 144 Riverside Drive will soon be on the market.
Since its purchase by RiverLink in the mid-1990s, the 2.8 acre former Cotton Mill lot has largely been vacant; the brick smokestack standing as a reminder of the original structure that burned (along with the Chesterfield Mill) in 1995.
Proceeds from the sale will assist in growing RiverLink’s clean water, land conservation and environmental education initiatives, and to allow for the expansion of program offerings throughout the watershed that stretches from Rosman to Hot Springs. Some funds will also be considered to initiate the completion of Karen Cragnolin Park and the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway projects. Other uses of the money may include much-needed renovations of the Warehouse Studio space, currently home to RiverLink’s offices and a number of artist studios.
Built in 1887, the former Cotton Mill was one of many river adjacent industries that supplied jobs and produced denim and other cotton products. After its purchase by the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, the property was slated to become artist studios. A devastating fire in 1995 all but destroyed the building and the Preservation Society’s mission to restore it. RiverLink assumed a mortgage from the Society to purchase it to further its riverfront redevelopment vision that was later adopted in the Wilma Dykeman Riverway Plan.
As a Brownfields Site with numerous identified soil contaminants, the land has restrictions on what can be built. “This sale will further a long held vision in the Wilma Dykeman Riverway to activate this site with a river-friendly business and residential uses,” said RiverLink Executive Director Garrett Artz. Approved development could include retail, business, residential, offices or artist studio space. “Riverlink will prioritize a buyer willing to build in a river-friendly manner that conforms to our river-friendly values such as demonstrating best practices in stormwater management and environmental sustainability,” said John Oswald, RiverLink’s Board President.
RiverLink promotes the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River and its watershed. Established in 1987, RiverLink is the only French Broad River watershed non-profit exclusively focused on the French Broad River.