Last night, the combined Boone Town Council and the Boone Area Planning Commission held a special public hearing about the proposed development at the corner of Water Street and Poplar Grove Road, "Rivers Walk," on the site of the former Southern States feed 'n' seed store.
The high-rise would exceed Boone's height limit for downtown properties of 35 feet by about 16 feet, contain 380 bedrooms, and a parking deck with a swimming pool on top. The developer promised to rent bedrooms at the top end of the market, and lease those rooms almost exclusively to Appalachian State University students.
"Rent-by-the-bedroom, yes, that's what it is," admitted the prime developer during his presentation of the project to the Council and Planning Commission.
The required "commercial space," primarily on the first floor, said the developer, would rent in the mid $20-per-square-foot range. The developer envisions at least one 2,500 sq. ft. restaurant and several other "personal service" establishments.
But parking? The parking deck and another small surface lot would accommodate 164 spaces for those 380 bedrooms. Designated parking for the commercial space would be minuscule (if available at all in reality, given the fierce competition among the projected residents).
Like "The Standard," now going up on Blowing Rock Road, the high-rise would be built almost from the street-side, with practically no setbacks (though there would be a sidewalk, to get all those commercial customers from the parking deck, further up Poplar Grove Rd., to their destination).
Two people spoke against the development. One person -- the out-of-town owner of the property -- spoke for it. The Planning Commission will reach a recommendation on the project next Monday evening, which they will forward to the Town Council for a vote on Thursday the 21st.