Updated: April 2019
A Vision Became Reality
After completion of The Grove Park Inn in 1913, millionaire Edwin Wiley Grove became increasingly involved in shaping Asheville to become a city with a vibrant downtown.
Around 1920 he started to develop plans for the Arcade as a new kind of retail center – a very elegant predecessor to today’s malls. Edwin Grove envisioned the Arcade to be “by far the finest structure in the South.” As the centerpiece of downtown Asheville, Grove saw the Arcade to serve three functions: It would be a tourist center; it would “enhance the value of the surrounding property by the large number of business establishments expected to be housed in this central point”; and it would create a “uniform ... treatment of the plaza.”
When construction began in 1926, the Arcade was planned to have 5-stories with a 14-story tower, filled with shops, offices, and apartments. The Arcade occupied an entire city block of the property formed from the Battery Park hill.
Unfortunately, Edwin Grove passed away in 1927, two years before the completion of the building. By then only the base was built, covering an area of 269,000 square feet still making the Arcade the largest building in the region.
When the Arcade opened in 1929, it offered a “fine collection of local shops and services,” which over the years increased with popularity to over 70 shops. Although a tower was never built, his grand vision had finally become a reality.
In 1942, due to World War II, the federal government took over the building and evicted all tenants. It used the building until 1995. When construction of a new building for the Climatic Data Center was finished, the federal government gave the Arcade back to the City of Asheville. It took over $20 million to restore the Arcade to its original architectural beauty.
Today, the Grove Arcade is a high-end retail center in downtown Asheville with nine restaurants and around 30 shops offering a variety of local artwork, clothing, jewelry, and furniture.
Mon. to Sat.: 10am to 6pm.
Sun.: 12pm to 5pm.
Wall Street Parking Garage.
Civic Center Parking Garage.
Rankin Parking Garage.
Public bus stop: Haywood St at US Cellular Center.
Stop Gray Line Historic Trolley: Grove Arcade.
The Grove Arcade is accessible with a stroller.
The Grove Arcade accessible with a wheelchair.
The Grove Arcade is home to around 9 restaurants, which are accessible from the street. Summer is a wonderful season to enjoy your lunch or dinner outside.