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Buncombe County moves forward with Coxe Avenue affordable housing

After the community weighed in, commissioners decided on a development of the properties that will help the County reach its affordable housing goals.

Rendering of proposed affordable housing at 50 and 52 Coxe Avenue

The plan would help the County reach its 2030 goal of 1,800 units of affordable housing.

Rendering by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, via Buncombe County

At the Buncombe County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, April 2, your feedback was on the agenda. After eliciting community input in February, the commissioners voted to move forward with a plan for affordable housing on Coxe Avenue.

It started in September 2022, when the County hired the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at UNC Chapel Hill to help meet affordable rental goals and transform underused County properties into affordable housing. In March 2023, the County-owned properties at 50 and 52 Coxe Ave. were identified as priorities for development. Then the County and DFI made a plan.

Overhead map view of Asheville's South Slope with 50 and 52 Coxe Avenue outlined in orange

The plan includes the demolition of the Bureau of Identification building.

Photo via Buncombe County

Well, they made two plans — and then asked you for feedback on which best met local needs. The $59.1 million plan that the County decided to move forward with (which is the plan the majority of community participants favored) utilizes both 50 and 52 Coxe Ave. and includes:

  • 200 affordable units (designated for those making up to 80% of the area median income)
  • 5,900 sqft of commercial space

Commissioners and the DFI decided the development should include:

  • Active ground floor uses like a community service facility,
  • Attract private investment,
  • Increase pedestrian traffic on Coxe Avenue,
  • And maximize the number of affordable new apartments, among other priorities.

The next step will be to find a private development partner (by fall of this year, if the potential timeline is met), after which the County will introduce additional community engagement opportunities. The County hopes to begin construction on the property in early 2026.
Check out the full DFI presentation, and keep up to date with the plan’s progress through the County engagement hub.