Agreement to explore land exchange for downtown substation goes to City Council
On September 13, 2021, City staff presented an overview of Duke Energy’s Downtown Electrical Substation project to the Planning and Economic Development Committee.
Duke needs to replace or rebuild the substation at the rear of the Harrah’s Cherokee Center of Asheville and has approached the City to explore options to rebuild the substation on City property at 57 Rankin.
On September 28, 2021, City Council will vote on an agreement for Duke to explore a land exchange to rebuild the existing substation across the street on City property at 57 Rankin Avenue and in return, grant the Duke-owned land next to the event center to the City.
Duke Energy’s current downtown substation is more than 60 years old and needs to be replaced to support the energy infrastructure needs of our downtown businesses and residents.
Duke Energy has been working with the City to explore options to build a new substation. The City and Duke will create an agreement to allow Duke to conduct environmental and other appropriate testing on the properties to see whether it’s possible to build the new substation on the City’s property on Rankin Avenue.
The agreement will also establish a good faith effort by both the City and Duke to engage with the community, coordinate testing activities to minimize impact to downtown businesses and residents, and have conversations about the project’s design.
One potential option to replace the old substation is to exchange property with the City. This would look like building a new substation on City property on Rankin Avenue and removing the current substation across the street. This would mean exchanging properties – the City would own the property where the current substation is in addition to a nearby parcel, and Duke would own the property where the new substation would be built. The map above illustrates the substation location (marked as parcel number 5355) and the properties involved in the testing and exchange.
When Duke completes its investigations, City Council will be able to vote on a land exchange and real estate terms for the City of Asheville and Duke Energy properties.
September 2021: City Council will vote on a resolution to enter into the agreement between Duke Energy and the City of Asheville
October 2021: The City and Duke Energy will finalize the agreement documents. The City will help Duke notify residents and businesses downtown who could be impacted by Duke’s site investigations.
Week of November 1, 2021: Site Investigations such as soil borings and environmental phase one testing to occur.
December 2021: Duke to launch the public communication phase of the project.
Rachel Taylor, Economic Development Specialist