St. Lawrence has served the Asheville community for over 147 years. The Basilica is a 102 year old structure with magnificent architecture and is an irreplaceable piece of art. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and was most recently awarded National Significance.
We believe the Diocese of Charlotte and the Basilica of St. Lawrence should become the steward of the Haywood St. site to protect and preserve the surroundings and the Basilica. The Diocese/Basilica have close relationships with national and international architects and design groups that have a specific expertise in the work of Basilica architect Rafael Guastavino along with the Grove Arcade, and are therefore best qualified to select and co-partner with developers to design the future St. Lawrence Plaza, a landmark status project that will meet the National Historic Site guidelines.
View architectural animation of the proposed plaza at ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0A5NGEW3Gc
View a tour of the Basilica at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7TutdKQvAk&feature=related
We respectfully ask the City Council to think beyond the next 5 – 10 years of speculative, short-term hotel development during which hotel groups such as that hoping to acquire the site will build, sell, and likely move away from Asheville. We hope the Council will instead focus on the legacy we will leave for the next 100 – 500 years with the St. Lawrence Plaza complementing our community and building on our continued attraction to Asheville.