Asheville raises fines for Airbnb rentals

August 27, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville City Council voted to increase fines for illegal vacation rentals from $100 to $500 a day. Short-term rentals such as those offered through the Airbnb website are illegal in most parts of the city. Council members are concerned that investors could buy up real estate and essentially turn residential areas into hotel districts.

Meeting set for Duke power line proposal in western NC

August 26, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The N.C. Utilities Commission public staff and western N.C. residents will meet with representatives from Duke Energy in Flat Rock on Sept. 3 to discuss the utility's plan to add transmission lines for a new natural-gas fired power plant in Asheville. Residents have voiced concern over the power lines obstructing views and affecting property values.

Harrah's to open new Western NC casino in September

August 17, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy is scheduled to open Sept. 28. The resort, which was built over the last two years and cost $110 million, is expected to employ about 900 people, according to the Cherokee Nation.

Investor says Asheville Savings Bank should put itself up for sale

August 6, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

New York-based Firefly Value Partners is asking ASB Bancorp, parent company of Asheville Savings Bank, to begin the process of selling the bank. The New York-based investor, which owns a 9.6% stake in ASB, says the company is too small to earn "adequate returns."

Beer industry pumps millions into Buncombe economy

August 5, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Western N.C. is home to more than 40 breweries, from small startups to New Belgium's East Coast brewery in West Asheville, where the company is investing nearly $140 million. The beer industry has become part of Asheville's brand, according to David Gantt, chairman of the Buncombe County Commission.

Leader of Ponzi scheme ordered to help pay $76M

August 4, 2015

(Winston-Salem Journal)

Keith Simmons and a California-based insurance broker were ordered to pay $76 million in civil penalties related to a Ponzi scheme Simmons operated in Ashe County. Through his companies, Black Diamond Capital Solutions and High South Realty, Simmons bilked more than 400 people out of more than $40 million. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2012.
Related: "Money for nothing," August 2012

Fletcher kayak-maker lays off 25 as result of merger

August 3, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Almost half the employees of Fletcher-based Legacy Paddlesports lost their jobs last week as the company announced it was merging with Hurricane Kayaks of Warsaw. Legacy, which recently has experienced slumping sales, invested $4.5 million in the Henderson County plant after moving headquarters from Greensboro in 2012 ("Back paddle," July 2013).

Asheville petition to restrict chain stores gains momentum

July 27, 2015

(Mountain Xpress)

An online petition calling for the city of Asheville to regulate or put a moratorium on corporate chain stores in the downtown area collected 2,000 signatures within a week. A local salon owner started the petition after retailer Anthropologie expressed interest in opening a store there.

Asheville's low wages linked to GDP

July 20, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Workers in the Asheville area earn less than people living in other regions because its employers don't produce "high-value" products, local economists say.

Asheville's Moogfest moving to Durham in 2016

July 15, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Moogfest, the music and technology festival held in downtown Asheville since 2008, will move to Durham in 2016, event organizers said Tuesday. "That city is exploding with technology, innovation, startups, and it just makes sense for Moogfest to be there," Emmy Parker, creative director of Moog Music, said.

Asheville has $1B in commercial projects in pipeline

July 13, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Commercial real-estate developers have about $1 billion of projects planned for the Asheville area over the next five years, including hotels, retail space, offices and apartments.

Morganton plant sold; most jobs retained

July 13, 2015

(The News Herald, Morganton)

Louisville, Ky.-based Sypris Solutions has sold its Morganton manufacturing plant to Meritor, its largest customer, for $14.5 million. Meritor offered jobs to 117 of 140 workers who were employed at the plant, which makes components for commercial and industrial vehicles.

GE Aviation opens West Jefferson plant, touts importance of EXIM Bank

July 10, 2015

(StarNews, Wilmington)

While urging Congress to restart the federal Export Import Bank, GE Aviation held a grand opening of its West Jefferson machining factory on Thursday. The company has hired 45 workers and plans to hire an additional 60 by 2017 at the $65 million plant. The Ashe County plant is part of GE's previously announced statewide expansion that will account for more than 240 new jobs.

Asheville hotel sells for $33 million

July 10, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Summit Hotel Properties paid about $33 million for the 115-room Hotel Indigo in downtown Asheville. The seller was Pennsylvania-based Hospitality Lodging Investors. Austin, Texas-based Summit plans to invest about $400,000 in capital improvements over the next year.

Buncombe adding fewer middle-class jobs

July 9, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Asheville and Buncombe County added fewer middle-class jobs over the last five years when compared with jobs in the highest and lowest wage ranges, according to a new report. Nearby Henderson County experienced identical job growth across all three wage ranges.

Manufacturer adding 86 jobs in Shelby

July 2, 2015

(The Shelby Star)

Metal Works Manufacturing Co. will invest $3.9 million and add 86 jobs within the next three years. If it meets job-creation targets, the company will be eligible for $1.3 million in state incentives over 12 years.

Carpet manufacturer expanding in Rutherford County

June 30, 2015

(RC Catalyst)

White Oak Carpet Mills will add 40 jobs at its carpet- and rug-manufacturing operations in Rutherford County. The company will invest more than $4.1 million over three years in Spindale, where it has being making rugs for 16 years. White Oak is a division of Wichita, Kansas-based CAP Carpet.

Hi-Wire Brewing set to unveil new Asheville brewery

June 29, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Hi-Wire Brewing will open its new, $3 million brewery near Asheville's Biltmore Village on July 25. The new facility will allow the beer company to boost annual production from 5,000-6,000 barrels to 55,000 barrels.

Small businesses await change as AdvantageWest winds downs operations

June 26, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

AdvantageWest began the complicated task of finding homes for its many economic-development programs before the organization announced it would close by year-end. Nonprofit Mountain BizWorks will acquire the Advantage Opportunity Fund, which provides loans to startups, and the ScaleUp WNC small-business consulting program.

Seven Falls developer sentenced to federal prison

June 26, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Keith Vinson, 56, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in the Seven Falls development scheme in Henderson County, in which alleged conspirators had "straw borrowers" take out loans they did not intend to repay to buy lots in an upscale golf community.