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June 18, 2024 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


Today’s Forecast

83º | 15% chance of precipitation
Sunrise 6:14 a.m. | Sunset 8:48 p.m.

You could shop... until they dropped
A large, inflatable cow is on a mini stage and holds a Chick-Fil-A sign that says "Eat Mor Chikin." Behind the cow is blue-gren archway with a clock at the top and words that read "Biltmore Square."
Biltmore Square Mall circa 2012, before it was udderly vacant. | Photo by MikeKalasnik via Wikimedia Commons|Photo by MikeKalasnik via Wikimedia Commons
Shopping malls across America have been left in a state that not even Paul Blart could save, and Asheville is no exception.

Known as “dead malls,” these abandoned, dilapidated, or mostly vacant shopping centers have become a subject of fascination — especially thanks to the online popularity of liminal space aesthetics.

Let’s go to the mall

Innsbruck Mall was once in its heyday.

Originally named Tunnel Road Shopping Center, the mall opened in 1965 and was later renamed in 1977. Locals may recall eating at the original Frank’s Pizza or throwing coins in the mall’s fountain.

Years later, Biltmore Square Mall opened in 1989 as the region’s largest shopping center. During its popularity, shoppers could head to stores like Hess’s and Proffitt’s or to a 13-restaurant food court. In 2007, a Cinebarre movie theater was added. By 2014, however, demolition work had begun to transform the enclosed shopping center into an outdoor outlet mall.

A view down a staircase. A plant sits at the bottom, in front of a set of doors that lead outside. The brick walls on either side of the staircase are painted beige with a teal trim, and the wall above is light pink.

Innsbruck Mall, circa 2012.


Photo by Mike Kalasnik via Flickr

Back to the future

Though purchased by Ingles in 2020, Innsbruck Mall has stayed mostly empty for several years, with few tenants remaining on the ground level; some of our readers believe the space could be converted to affordable housing.

Today, the site of the former Biltmore Square Mall is an entirely different shopping experience, with stores ranging from Nike to Coach at the Tanger Outlets Asheville.

Though these malls have changed, Asheville also has a number of other shopping centers or districts where you can make like NSYNC and buy, buy, buy:
  • Asheville Mall | The mall opened in 1973, and while certain parts are defunct (like the old Sears), there are still lots of retailers and great dining options like, Island Pan.
  • Biltmore Park Town Square | This South Asheville shopping center has the works, like 15+ dining options, 10+ shops, a movie theater, and even a pet bakery.
Do you have memories of a local mall from back in the day?

Share them with us, and we may feature your story in a future newsletter: First date at the food court, trying on prom dresses at the department store, finding your future favorite read at Waldenbooks — we wanna hear it all.
Tuesday, June 18
  • Hoops and Flow Arts Jam | Tuesday, June 18 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Pritchard Park, 67 Patton Ave., Asheville | Free | Dance, spin, groove, and show off your hula hooping skills as a live DJ pumps up the jams.
  • Wise Words Open Mic | Tuesday, June 18 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center, 285 Livingston St., Asheville | Free | Express yourself artistically — stories, songs, poems, or just creative articulation.
Wednesday, June 19
  • Juneteenth on the Block | Wednesday, June 19 | 11 a.m.-10 p.m. | YMI Cultural Center, 39 S. Market St., Asheville | Free | Celebrate all day long with pop-in events during the day and an evening of hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and fellowship at The Foundry Hotel’s Workshop Lounge.
  • SpinKick | Wednesday, June 19 | 7 p.m. | VOWL, 61 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville | Free | The needle will drop on a new genre each week during a night of vinyl and hard iced tea.
Thursday, June 20
  • Third Act Happy Hour | Thursday, June 20 | 4-6 p.m. | River Arts District Brewing Company, 13 Mystery St., Asheville | Free | Join this climate action group, formed by folks 60+ years old, for food, beers, fun, and info about its mission.
  • Summer Solstice Fest | Thursday, June 20 | 4-8 p.m. | New Belgium Brewing, 21 Craven St., Asheville | Free | Celebrate the longest day of the year with house music, free aura photos, tarot readings, vendors, and more.
Friday, June 21
  • VOICES | Friday, June 21 | 5-8:30 p.m. | Eulogy, 10 Buxton Ave., Asheville | $16 | Hear from local queer authors and writer + Bikini Kill guitarist Erica Dawn Lyle at this literary event benefiting Asheville FM’s queer youth programming — then stick around for a Pride after party.
Click here to have your event featured.
News Notes
  • High Five Coffee is joining the ranks of Asheville’s must-try brunch spots. The coffee shop’s Broadway Street location now has brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with hot + fresh waffles, quiche, and French press coffee.
  • Start stretching because Buncombe County Parks and Recreation is hosting its first adult field day on Thursday, June 27 at Buncombe County Sports Park. Get your heart rate up with soccer, disc golf, lacrosse, and dodgeball workshops. Field day is free and no registration is required — just bring sunscreen, water, and a snack.
  • The NC Science Trail now has 100 partners providing science education opportunities across the state. Check out the sites Asheville has to offer, like the North Carolina Arboretum, the WNC Nature Center, and the Asheville Museum of Science. Sign up for the trail’s newsletter to read about programming at these venues and more around NC.
  • It’s time for a fresh set. Our Instagram followers turned us on to the impressively intricate and creative designs of Sweet Snail Nails. And as of today, you can book an appointment at Sweet Snail’s brand new space inside the Sun Room & Spa at 891 Patton Ave.
Try This
  • Do you want to play a game?” Get your wheels turning by visiting the new Games tab on our website. There are five games to play, from a crossword puzzle to three levels of sudoku — they change daily, so start your streak now.
Drink Up
  • Raise a glass, drop a deal. We’ll be toasting to Drink Up Week — a celebration of Asheville’s vibrant beverage scene — from Monday, July 22 to Friday, July 26. If you own a local business that serves beverages, join us by offering a fun drink deal to our readers — we may include it in a newsletter.
Plan Ahead
🎸 Bele Chere Shred
The front of Sweeten Creek Brewing, the venue for Bele Shred Summer Music Festival, showing a colorful cloud mural and a yellow sign in capital letters reading "Brewery."
Get ready for a weekend of bands and beers.|Photo via Sweeten Creek Brewing
This weekend, Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22, the inaugural Bele Shred Summer Music Festival will spark some nostalgia and light up the lawn at Sweeten Creek Brewing. Check out the current lineup, which showcases the talents of 40+ local singer-songwriters and rock music acts, including Sherwood’s Florist, Jon Charles Dwyer, and Ryan Price.

The $15 single-day ticket will grant you access for the day of your choosing, or you can snag the $25 two-day pass so you don’t miss out on any of the fun. In honor of Juneteenth, 15% of ticket sales will benefit Open Doors Asheville and Hood Huggers International — both nonprofits will have tables where you can learn how to support and will speak about their missions in between bands.

Beyond the music, there will be vendors, barbecue from Bear’s Smokehouse, and of course, brews + cocktails.
The Buy
The perfect wedding guest outfit for your next summer or fall affair. Don’t forget the sparkly, satin-y shoes.
The Wrap
Grace Powers.JPEG Today’s edition by:
From the editor
Let’s play ball. This Thirsty Thursday, the Asheville Tourists will take the field as the Beer City Tourists. Grab tickets, check out the special merch, and bid on jerseys to benefit the WNC Down Syndrome Alliance.
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