Blog :: 08-2007

Mike Miller Featured In Citizen-Times

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8/31/2007 - Mike Miller Featured In Citizen-Times
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Meet Your Neighbor

Name: Mike Miller.

Age: 56.

Place of residence: Beaverdam.

Occupation: Owner of Town and Mountain Realty.

Family: Wife, Joy Lovoy; daughters, Leah, 22, and Sophie, 20.

What he does: Lists and sells houses. Manages and trains an office of 35 real estate agents. Involved in a membership drive for Blue Ridge Forever, a land conservancy organization in Western North Carolina.

Years doing what he does: 22.

Currently reading: Stephen Ambrose histories.

Quote: "I don't see myself as a sales person, I see myself as a counselor who assists people in major life decisions. I thoroughly enjoy the one-on-one contact with people. I like working with the agents here. We've become a big family."

Community quote: "I think Asheville is just a really friendly place. It's still small enough to have that small town feel, and yet it's sophisticated enough to offer a lot of things that much larger cities offer. The music scene is awfully good."

Compiled by Clarke Morrison

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Mike Miller Awarded CRB Designation

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8/10/2007 - Mike Miller Awarded CRB Designation
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Asheville, NC, August 2007 - Mike Miller, Owner/Broker at Town and Mountain Realty, was awarded the CRB (Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager) Designation conferred by the council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB).

The Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB), an affiliate of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, is the professional organization for brokerage management. The Council is dedicated to providing quality professional development programs, products and services that continually enhance the management productivity and profitability of its more than 7,000 members.

The CRB Designation is recognized throughout the industry as the highest level of professional achievement - a symbol of excellence in brokerage management. The most successful brokerages are owned or managed by professionals having the coveted CRB Designation.

The Council awards the CRB Designation to those individuals who successfully complete the requirements and demonstrate excellence in real estate brokerage management. Candidates must complete academic and professional courses covering such topics as finance, marketing, training, recruiting, and strategic planning.

Miller is a real estate brokerage manager for Town and Mountain Realty at 261 Asheland Avenue in Asheville. A member of the Asheville Board or REALTORS® and the NC ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, Miller also holds other professional designations including ABR, CRS, GRI and SRES. He is an Asheville native and has been a REALTOR® here since 1985.

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lack Mtn Featured In The NYT

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8/3/2007 - Black Mtn Featured In The NYT
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IN 1933, a radical arts academy opened in a remote valley about 15 miles east of Asheville, N.C. Simply called Black Mountain College, after the town where it was built, the school was founded by John A. Rice, a maverick educator who sought to create a sort of paradise for painting, architecture, sculpture and the liberal arts in the heart of Depression-era Appalachia.

The college's board of directors included Albert Einstein and the poet William Carlos Williams, while professors included painters, like Willem and Elaine de Kooning, and the visionary designer Buckminster Fuller. The college closed in 1957, but in its time, it gave Black Mountain a per capita level of cultural significance as great as that of any other town in the United States.

The intellectual seeds planted by the college still flourish in Black Mountain today. Along the way, the town has become a magnet for second-home owners and retirees, local residents and real estate agents say.

It's easy to see why. In the bustling downtown, tourists and local residents wander into myriad art galleries, restaurants and antique stores. In the parking lot of the popular Dripolator Coffeehouse, you're as likely to see a shiny S.U.V. as a battered Mercedes powered by vegetable oil.

Inside the Dripolator, its owner, Amy Vermillion Carroll, offers fair-trade lattes and Wi-Fi, while the town's motley bunch of hippies, yuppies, bluegrass musicians and self-described rat-race escapees plink at laptops or thumb through local newspapers.

One such escapee is Chip Craig, a real estate broker who left a job at the First Union Corporation in Charlotte 12 years ago in search of a better place to raise his children. He competes with about 50 other real estate agents, but Mr. Craig's GreyBeard Realty has a healthy business selling to retirees and second-homers and renting many of those homes out to vacationers.

Among Mr. Craig's clients are Dan and Leigh Anne Muggeo, 50 and 40, of Del Ray Beach, Fla. They bought a 1,500-square-foot house on the town's central Lake Tomahawk Park three and a half years ago for $235,000. Today they spend an average of three months a year in the town with their 3-year-old son.

"But if I could figure out a way to live here permanently, I'd do it tomorrow," said Mr. Muggeo, a New York City native who owns a marketing firm. "You look at the town's history with Black Mountain College, and today it's still just such an eclectic place. You've got the Baptists, the Presbyterians and my next-door neighbors who look like throwbacks to the '60s but are only 30 years old."

Judy Fore, 61, a mental health counselor, and her husband, Bill, 71, a retired specialist in internal medicine, were so taken by Black Mountain that they bought a 3,600-square-foot house in the town in 2001. "Five years ago, the community raised $1.2 million to buy the old town hall and start an arts center," Ms. Fore said. "I figured that any town this small that had the moxie to have such an arts center must be a great place to live." The couple now have their house on the market for $649,000 and plan to build a new, smaller home in the area.

The Scene

Ms. Vermillion Carroll moved to Black Mountain in 1999. Since then, she said, the town, like nearby Asheville, has become increasingly vibrant. "More businesses have opened up here, and they're staying open," she said. "Older downtown buildings are being bought and refurbished, and there's a much wider walking area to enjoy."

East of downtown, well-tended neighborhoods of wood-frame, Craftsman-style and brick ranch houses lie on a rough grid that runs downhill to Lake Tomahawk Park. There, in the shadow of an oddly linear progression of mountain peaks called the Seven Sisters, townsfolk feed the ducks, stroll, let their children frolic at a shore-side playground or gather for Park Rhythms, a Thursday night summer concert series.

And if you're just plain hungry, it's a good place, too. On East State Street, you'll find terrific places like Perry's for barbecue or the cozy Black Mountain Bistro. A few blocks away, the turn-of-the-century Red Rocker Inn dishes out award-winning Southern cooking and gallons of sweet tea.

Pete Lascheid, 47, a dentist, and his wife, Beth, 43, a dental hygienist, travel from their home in Jupiter, Fla. Three years ago, they decided to buy a two-bedroom house for $160,000 in the Lynch Cove subdivision. They plan to spend at least six months a year in the town when their children, who are 17 and 15, reach college age.

"Everyone is just in a whole different mode in Black Mountain," Ms. Lascheid said. "You come up to a stop sign and they smile and motion you through."

Pros

Black Mountain has significant outdoor and cultural resources. The half-million-acre Pisgah National Forest is adjacent to town and is known for some of the best hiking and mountain biking in the South, and streams like Curtis Creek make for excellent fishing. In addition to the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, galleries in town feature many local artists.

Cons

Traffic, overdevelopment and pollution are hot issues. In the summer, smog from coal-fired power plants can give western North Carolina some of the worst air pollution in the nation. "It's like living in L.A. sometimes," Ms. Vermillion Carroll said.

Mr. Craig said some residents worried whether the quality of life would remain the same as the town continued to grow. "I think some are afraid to plan for growth because they don't want it."

The Real Estate Market

Mr. Craig said that while real estate prices have risen in the last decade, they are still relatively low. He said 153 homes sold in 2005, while 148 sold in 2006. From 2005 to 2006, median prices rose to $218,000 from $175,000, but growth has slowed.

Sizable plots and even farms are available outside town, and new developments, many with a conservation bent, are being built in the surrounding mountains. The Settings is a new 365-acre gated community with roughly 270 home sites planned that range from more than $200,000 per site to more than $600,000. Developers plan to leave more than 40 percent of the land as natural areas.

Nearby, Laurel Mountain Preserve is even mor e ambitious. About 40 percent of the development's 430 acres is in old-growth forest, which is to be protected but has hiking trails. Art and Peg Nadel, the developers, are offering 23 10-acre parcels for $345,000 to $525,000, and six parcels of 1.13 to 2.06 acres for $175,000 and $225,000.

"There are homes that cost in the million-dollar range, but there are also a lot in the $200,000 range," Ms. Fore said. "People aren't trying to build the grandest, most elaborate structure on the block. I think it's because they're interested in other things."

LAY OF THE LAND

POPULATION 7,667, according to a 2006 estimate by the Census Bureau.

SIZE 6.5 square miles.

LOCATION The town is off Interstate 40, about 15 miles east of Asheville and 115 miles northwest of Charlotte.

WHO'S BUYING Retirees are becoming full-time residents, while many younger families are buying vacation homes, furnishing them and offsetting the cost by renting. The town has become popular among South Floridians, refugees from Charlotte, and second-homers from Charleston, S.C.

GETTING THERE Black Mountain is an easy Interstate drive from many cities. The town is also served by the Asheville Regional Airport.

WHILE YOU'RE LOOKING The Black Mountain Inn (1186 West Old Highway 70, 800-735-6128; www.blackmountaininn.com) and the Red Rocker Inn (136 North Dougherty Street, 888-669-5991; www.redrockerinn.com) are gracious old bed-and-breakfast inns. Rooms at the Black Mountain Inn are $118 to $159 a night; rooms at the Red Rocker are $95 to $200.

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rban Loft Living In Biltmore Village

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8/3/2007 - Urban Loft Living In Biltmore Village
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 Mica Village: Urban Loft Living in Biltmore Village

Urban industrial architecture meets Dwell magazine modern style with exposed brick walls, original hemlock beams, soaring ceilings, exposed pipes and ducts, glass-infused concrete countertops, windows that go on forever. Add to that charm the convenience of high-speed internet, covered parking, and incredibly close proximity to Asheville's finest district for shopping, dining, and working. Now add the best principles of New Urbanism and Green Building and you have Mica Village: urban loft living at its best.

There are a few lofts still available slated for occupancy in late summer.

The Lofts at Mica Village is a new residential development located next to Biltmore Village in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. The building, formerly known as Asheville Schoonmaker Mica Co., was originally a mica processing facility from the early 1900's and now provides the perfect setting for historic loft-style living. Mica Village consists of 10 loft apartments constructed in the spirit of New Urbanism, utilizing the best principles of Green Building, and features include exposed original brick and hemlock beams, original wood floors, covered lower-level parking, and a large park-like greenway.

Over 60% of the building materials used in this project were reclaimed from the original Mica Plant! The colorful glass used to infuse the lobby terrazzo floor and loft countertops came from the broken upstairs windows. The artsy metal used to support the kitchen bar countertops are the original plumbing pipes from the factory and were beautifully welded. All the wood used was either reclaimed from nearby sites or purchased from locally owned Sunrise Sawmill. This effort cut down substantially on waste and cost.

Please contact Dana Wingate at 828-713-4226 or at dwingate@townandmountain.com to set up a showing or for more information.

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anel endorses The Ellington, 23-story hotel, condominium

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8/2/2007 - Panel endorses The Ellington, 23-story hotel, condominium
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ASHEVILLE - The city Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday unanimously endorsed The Ellington hotel and condominium proposed for Biltmore Avenue after praising its design and expected effects on downtown.

Commission members said they are impressed by developers' commitment to devote a percentage of real estate sales to affordable housing and said they see the 23-story building's height - a main point of debate during the public hearing before the vote - as reasonable in that location.

"What did people think about the Battery Park building when it was being built? That's a big building," said commission member Darryl Hart. "What about the Jackson Building? ... Things change."

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"I don't think there's a soul in the room that can say (The Ellington design) is ugly," said member David Young. "Sure this building is bigger ... than the buildings around it, but are we going to say we're not going to build anything but two-story buildings?"

The vote by the seven-member commission is not binding on City Council, which is likely to vote the project up or down in a few weeks. But the commission's backing and the endorsement of The Ellington design by the Downtown Commission last month on a 7-1 vote can't hurt the project's chances before City Council.

The Ellington would be among downtown's tallest structures and contain 125 hotel rooms and 44 to 52 condominium units.

Several opponents in a crowd of about 40 at Wednesday's hearing said it would tower over nearby buildings and further snarl traffic on Biltmore Avenue.

"It's overwhelming for the site. It's entirely too big," said Robert Malkin. He called The Ellington "a King Kong building."

Julie Brandt said the building would be "definitely out of scale" and warned that it would "gentrify downtown Asheville."

A traffic study done for the project said its effects on movement in the area would be within city guidelines. Critics disagreed.

"I cannot believe for a second that that would not cause tremendous problems. I don't care what the traffic impact analysis says," said City Council candidate Elaine Lite.

But downtown resident Kim MacQueen said the central business district is a logical place for buildings like The Ellington.

"Thoughtful, dense growth in downtown Asheville ... is our main weapon against sprawl," she said.

She added that she believes it will boost economic activity.

"Density downtown helps locally owned business by putting more feet on the street. ... People who stay downtown tend to shop downtown."

Pamela Myers, executive director for the Asheville Art Museum, said developers' commitment to the arts and affordable housing "shows some leadership" and exceeds what local government does in some cases.

Mark Barrett

Citizen-Times

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