Blog :: 06-2009

AirTran Airways enters Asheville, N.C.

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6/16/2009 - AirTran Airways enters Asheville, N.C.
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AirTran Airways enters Asheville, N.C.

AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, inc., has launched nonstop flights between Asheville Regional Airport in Asheville, North Carolina, and Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida.

The airline will offer three nonstop flights to Orlando each week.

Director of Revenue Management for AirTran Airways Roger Morenc, announced "AirTran Airways recognized the need for a low fare carrier in Asheville, and we are happy to step in and provide a cost-effective airline option for residents,"

"Travellers in Asheville can now fly nonstop to Orlando, one of the prime vacation destinations in the country, while enjoying XM Satellite Radio and Gogo(R) Inflight Internet service."

Asheville Regional Airport Director David N. Edwards, Jr., A.A.E. said ... "We are thrilled that AirTran Airways has chosen to serve Western North Carolina.

"This new route to the Sunshine State demonstrates the economic vitality of our vibrant community and gives passengers the low-fare carrier they have been seeking."

To demonstrate its support for the community, AirTran Airways donated flights to the Health Adventure, a local museum dedicated to educating children about science and technology, and officials were on hand at the inaugural to receive that donation.

Center For Asia Pacific Aviation.

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Andie MacDowell allows a glimpse of a storybook home for a storied life

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6/13/2009 - Andie MacDowell allows a glimpse of a storybook home for a storied life
by Paul Clark

When Andie MacDowell decided she wanted to build a house in Biltmore Forest, architect Robert Griffin gave her a book of various style homes. Rainey, her elder daughter, liked the looks of one that looked like it belonged in a fairy tale. So-called storybook homes were an architectural style popular in England and the USA in the 1920s.

It's romantic, MacDowell said of why she too liked the look that led to the comfortable house she had built in 2002. I wanted it to look like an original Biltmore Forest house. And I wanted it to look old. And I wanted a house that fosters conversation.

With walls and panels of furniture-quality cypress, it's a substantial house that has what its designer Robert Griffin of Griffin Architects says is a fourth dimension: time. The house has not only a sense of antiquity but also of having existed on the landscaped lot for decades.

New this season are the strawberries MacDowell planted near the drive and the small green tomatoes appearing in her vegetable garden. Her roses, flowers and herbs attest to her love of gardening.

You can see her garden during the Asheville GreenWorks Father's Day garden tour June 21 in Biltmore Forest.

I can't say I'm a great gardener, she said, smiling as the sun winked off her unadorned lips. But I'm an enthusiastic gardener.

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.S. Forest Service breaks ground on new $1 million Bent Creek conference and education center

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6/7/2009 - U.S. Forest Service breaks ground on new $1 million Bent Creek conference and education center
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BENT CREEK -- U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler and U.S. Forest Service officials will break ground on a $1 million conference and education center during a ceremony on Monday.

Shuler will joined Southern Research Station Director Jim Reaves, other Forest Service officials and local leaders for the ceremony and briefing on the new $1 million conference and education center at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest south of Asheville. The event is at 9 a.m. at Bent Creek.

The new conference building will be located at the Bent Creek administrative site and near the existing nursery; the old conference modular trailer will be removed following completion of the new building. The new building will also adhere to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. In addition, a parking area for about 50 vehicles will be developed, and utility lines will be placed below ground.

The new conference building will meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines and is expected to be constructed in late 2008 and early 2009. The new building will be about 4,300 ft2 in size and a septic field will be developed. Non-native invasive species such as Oriental bittersweet would be treated as often as needed with herbicide (Glyphosate and/or Triclopyr) or by manually pulling/cutting to reduce their potential for spread.

The access road will use the existing ~1/5 mile gravel road near the nursery. The access road will be paved, will become a classified (system) road, and will be placed on the Forests transportation system to receive future maintenance (see also Roads Analysis, Appendix B). Some trees (predominantly white pine and scarlet oak) and brush will be removed to facilitate construction of the parking area and conference center; however, in keeping with LEED design features, the fewest number of trees and brush will be cut as possible...

 

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sheville Housing Market Numbers

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6/3/2009 - Asheville Housing Market Numbers
by Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE People looking for a bottom in the local housing market may have to wait at least a bit longer.

The number of existing homes sold in Buncombe County fell 41.1 percent in April compared with April 2008 and even dropped 21.9 percent from March 2009, contrary to the usual trend of rising sales in the spring.

Three nearby counties also saw large declines over the same month a year ago, according to figures from the N.C. Association of Realtors.

There have been some signs of a turnaround in the national economy the Dow Jones Industrial average jumped 196 points Tuesday on a report of rising consumer confidence but that doesn't appear to have translated into more home sales locally.

I wish I could say that I have seen signs of the end of the decline in the local market, said Mike Miller, owner and broker at Town and Mountain Realty. I keep hearing about and reading about a little light at the end of the tunnel in national markets, he said, but he's seen no evidence of changes here yet.

The unemployment rate for the Asheville metropolitan area Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties stood at 9.4 percent in March, the last month for which figures are available.

That's more than double the 4.3 percent reported for March 2008.

Miller said he expected to see more of an impact by now from a federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. He suspects the uncertain job picture may be discouraging some buyers.

The state of the general economy typically has a major impact on an area's housing market, said Tom Tveidt, head of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's research arm. That is less true in this area because so many sales are to people moving here from elsewhere, he said.

The average price of a home sold in Buncombe County actually rose slightly, from $278,690 in April 2008 to $285,552 last month.

National home prices are at levels not seen since 2002, according to a national index released Tuesday, although there was a wide variation in price movement from city to city.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller National Home Price index reported that home prices tumbled by 19.1 percent in the first quarter, the most in its 21-year history. Home prices have fallen 32.2 percent since peaking in the second quarter of 2006.

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The index is based on 20 major cities. Home prices edged up 0.3 percent in Charlotte from February to March, the best performance of any city in the index.

Prices fell 1.7 percent from February to March in Atlanta and dropped 15.7 percent over a 12-month period.

Prices in two Florida cities continued their decline, falling 3.5 percent from February to March in Miami and 28.7 percent for the 12 months and declining 2.7 percent monthly in Tampa and 22.4 percent for the year.

Many buyers of homes in Western North Carolina come from Florida, and experts say difficulties in the real estate market there are a major factor in declining home sales in the mountains.

The 19.1 percent decline nationally is from the first quarter of 2008 to the first three months of 2009. We see no evidence that a recovery in home prices has begun, said David Blitzer, chairman of the committee that puts the national home price index together.

 

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller National Home Price index reported that home prices tumbled by 19.1 percent in the first quarter, the most in its 21-year history. Home prices have fallen 32.2 percent since peaking in the second quarter of 2006.



The index is based on 20 major cities. Home prices edged up 0.3 percent in Charlotte from February to March, the best performance of any city in the index.

Prices fell 1.7 percent from February to March in Atlanta and dropped 15.7 percent over a 12-month period.

Prices in two Florida cities continued their decline, falli ng 3.5 percent from February to March in Miami and 28.7 percent for the 12 months and declining 2.7 percent monthly in Tampa and 22.4 percent for the year.

Many buyers of homes in Western North Carolina come from Florida, and experts say difficulties in the real estate market there are a major factor in declining home sales in the mountains.

The 19.1 percent decline nationally is from the first quarter of 2008 to the first three months of 2009. We see no evidence that a recovery in home prices has begun, said David Blitzer, chairman of the committee that puts the national home price index together.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

By Mark Barnett, Asheville Citizen Times

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