Developers plan micro-brewery, shops and more along the Ecusta Trail
April 2, 2022
By Bill Moss, Hendersonville Lightning
A road biker, machinery-designing engineer and owner of a thriving self-storage business, Bart Salvaggio was also a man with a hunch.
When he drove down South Whitted Street in the historic Lenox Park neighborhood, he cast a dreamer’s eye on the Presto Framing Arts building. Aware that the Ecusta Trail was moving quickly from concept to concrete — or asphalt at least — Salvaggio harbored a tantalizing vision of food, shops, coffee and beer in the cavernous space.
“And I stopped in here and asked Mrs. Day, I said, ‘Hey, you know, if you ever want to sell, would you let me know?’” Although Gail Day predicted at the time that she’d never sell, she did accept his business card. When her kids talked her into selling, she contacted commercial real estate broker Eric Goodman, who created a six-page flier under the headline “Imagine the Possibilities!” Day remembered Salvaggio’s business card.
“And she called Eric and she told him, ‘OK, we’re ready to put it on market but you’ve got to call this guy first.’ And so he called me and I came out here we offered that day,” he said.
Salvaggio and two other couples are one-third investors each in the venture. Since they bought the property last September for $1.15 million, they’ve leapt beyond imagining the possibilities. They’ve landed a food market and a microbrewery as tenants and they’re talking to more prospects, including a bicycle shop.
Dale Salvaggio Bradshaw and Bart Salvaggio are two of the investors in Lennox Station.Besides Salvaggio and his wife, Alisa, the development team is made up of Salvaggio’s sister, Dale Salvaggio-Bradshaw, and her husband, Steve, and Clement and Dr. Charlotte Riddle. The Salvaggios own the Eagle self-storage company, which is currently building a third location, on Asheville Highway. Bradshaw founded and operated a successful medical supply company, Evergreen Medical Services Inc., before selling it in 2018. Clement Riddle owns Clearwater Environmental Consultants and Charlotte is a pediatrician at AdventHealth.
“We’ve been friends with them since we were all pregnant and now our kids are in their 20s,” Salvaggio-Bradshaw said. “We all have different specialties, which is kind of fun.” Their “conference room” is made up of a bare table and plastic chairs in one of the empty buildings that will soon come to life as a mixed-use development.
Lennox Station will become a showcase development in the historic Lenox Park — Salvaggio says the neighborhood’s name has been spelled with one n and two n’s throughout its history — anchored by the Trailside Brewing Co. and a food market, coffee shop and bakery and room for more shops. Appalachian Coffee Co. owner David Schnitzer will be a part owner of the microbrewery. He is partnering with the owner of the Slow Pour brewery in the Atlanta suburbs to create the new brewery. While the trail construction is expected to be under way sometime next year, craft beer drinkers will likely be sipping a cold beverage at Lennox Station before then.
“He wants to be open by the end of August,” Salvaggio said. “Like he says, people will come to a brewery. The trail doesn’t have to be completed. They’re looking to hire a fulltime brewer, even though they have all the expertise in Atlanta. Those guys are going to come up and train.”
A community gathering space
Besides serving the traffic on the greenway, the market will be a destination for baked goods, snacks and other items that residents of Lenox Park and the city’s West Side Historic District can reach on foot.
“What we like about it is it really opens up the property all day long, that it’s not just open in the evenings for a brewery,” Salvaggio said.
“What we envision is this community gathering space,” Salvaggio-Bradshaw added. The owners of the food shop want to operate a farmers market in the summer in the large pole barn that sits in an open field.
There’s plenty of room for parking. The developers have spoken with city leaders, who are highly supportive of the project. The property is zoned industrial and residential, which means housing of some kind could eventually be added on an open 2.4-acre tract at the western end. The developers plan to put in sidewalks around the entire property.
The site of the first Lowe’s in Hendersonville, the main building visible from Whitted Street was the home of Presto Framing Arts until about a year ago. Behind it, a separate building was originally the home of the Freeze-Bacon Hosiery Mill. Among the other businesses that counted on the railroad for shipping were the City Ice Company, the Wing Paper Box Company and a coal supplier.
Originally platted in 1908 as Columbia Park, the neighborhood mainly came into being between 1917, when it was renamed Lenox Park, and the 1920s. Near the railroad, workers lived side-by-side to their workplace in homes in architectural styles that include Queen Anne, Four Square and two-story gable-front.
“While the mix of social classes within the neighborhood is not unusual for Hendersonville, Lenox Park Historic District is significant for its association with the railroad-related industrial development at the south side of the neighborhood, with both owners, managers, and employees of these industries all living in the same community,” the city’s description of Lenox Park says.
A hundred years later, with the coming of the Ecusta Trail, the Salvaggios and their partners see the rail bed as a catalyst once again for a thriving development.