NEWLAND – A plan has been proposed for the sale and eventual development of what is known colloquially as the former Lowes Foods building in Newland.
The large facility has been made vacant for five years, beginning in April 2017. The proposed plan has yet to fully finalize its official data and details, but the sale of the building closed on March 25 for 750 $000 with new owners NorthWest Housing Enterprises Inc.
The prospective arrangement for the facility is for NWHE to demonstrate current ownership and construct a 64-unit, 10-building apartment complex. The complex, tentatively named Riverwalk Apartments, will consist of 10 one-bedroom units, 38 two-bedroom units and 16 three-bedroom units. The property is currently considered affordable housing, with more specific information to be released. Dogwood Trust will also be part of the business in some capacity.
In the proposed plan, the old Lowes facility will be razed, part of the parking lot will be used for buildings, and the Family Dollar store will remain in its current location.
The plan will actually expand the Family Dollar from approximately 8,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet, with 49 dedicated retail parking spaces.
County Manager Phillip Barrier, who has worked diligently to fill the property that has been sitting idle, said, “This is a great opportunity. This will alleviate some of the housing shortage issues and help with labor and affordable housing. I am grateful to the company for keeping the Family Dollar. It is walkable and doable for residents with limited transportation in the community. We are still working with other grocery chains to expand into Avery County. Hopefully this will bring more development opportunities to the town of Newland and surrounding areas.
Barrier, who recognized the need to fill the vacancy, spoke to many companies interested in the property. including companies such as Fair Value, Dollar Tree, Walmart, IGA, Piggly Wiggly, Lowe’s Foods, Food Country, Food Lion, Tractor Supply, BJ’s Wholesale and Aldi.
Barrier revealed that NWHE is dedicated to working with the city on green spaces and will not encroach on the Riverwalk area or the outdoor stage. Construction will potentially begin within the year.
“The City of Newland would like to thank Phillip Barrier and Avery County for all of their efforts to fill the vacant building,” said Newland Mayor Derek Roberts. “We are thrilled to see the construction of affordable housing in Newland and delighted that the Family Dollar remains. The units on offer will help sell Newland, and removing a dilapidated building will only make the town look better. These units could also help us in our efforts to bring more young people to the region.