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The Collaborative: Transforming a Historic Warehouse into a Modern Gem

The collaborative renovation project, located just outside historic Biltmore Village in the Asheville Design District, was a remarkable endeavor that breathed new life into a neglected piece of Asheville’s industrial history. Nestled on a three-acre parcel, the project involved the restoration and revitalization of nearly 40,000 square feet of warehouse space that had remained untouched for nearly seven decades. While bringing the space up to code was a considerable challenge, the true feat lay in turning it into a work of art.


Situated along Sweeten Creek, the structure had faced years of decay and even began to sink towards the creek. To address this, helical piers were meticulously installed underneath the buildings to provide much-needed structural support. The entire project necessitated extensive structural redesign while preserving as many authentic parts of the structure as possible. Furthermore, being located in a FEMA floodplain meant dealing with federal regulations, building alongside state roads entailed cooperation with NCDOT, and working within the city limits of Asheville required compliance with the city’s Commercial Code. To add to the complexity, there was a railroad right-of-way running through the back parking lot, which further challenged the project team.


The Collaborative comprises two buildings that straddle Sweeten Creek, and the back building extends into the water. To connect the two spaces, a dramatic bridge was constructed, which ended up serving as an outdoor showroom. The warehouse serves as a hub for furniture deliveries, with doors designed to open for pallets to be easily transported. To enhance lighting and ventilation, large openings were created in both the front and back of the building, contributing to the biophilic design concept that was central to the project’s vision.

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The project aimed to make efficient use of space, offering various components including interior showrooms, exterior showrooms, recreational areas complete with dog parks and putting greens, an amphitheater, and warehouse space. The completion of The Collaborative on all three acres successfully realized these goals.


What sets this project apart is the extraordinary creekside location. The design team chose to build the campus around this unique feature, creating a Creekside Park and outdoor space that stands unparalleled among retail shops and experiences in Asheville. The property’s transformation aimed to unlock its full potential as a recreational setting, providing an unparalleled shopping and outdoor experience for visitors.


Recognizing the impact of the built environment on health, The Collaborative was designed with wellness in mind. The project received Green certification, emphasizing sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. It also achieved the Wellness Within Your Walls certification, focusing on indoor air quality, which is crucial for overall well-being. Every detail, from paints and stains to floor finishes, cabinetry, and countertops, was chosen with indoor air quality in mind, ensuring that every aspect of the building promotes a healthy and pleasant environment.


The success of The Collaborative is a testament to the seamless collaboration between the build team, design team, and architecture team. Working with ID.ology Interiors & Design brought a creative and innovative perspective to the project, complementing the analytical approach of the build team. This synergy ultimately resulted in an outstanding finished product that exceeded expectations.


The journey from demolition to the completed project was a profound transformation that left visitors in awe. Many couldn’t believe it was the same property they had seen before, often having to double-check their location on Sweeten Creek to confirm the existence of this remarkable renovation. This total transformation was the ultimate goal of The Collaborative, and it is now a shining example of how a historic warehouse can be reborn as a modern gem while preserving its unique heritage.