By: Blue Ridge Now
March 29, 2021

When The Cedars Lodge & Spa opens in a few years, Tom Shipman's longtime dream will be reality.

The Cedars, a historic former 30-room hotel that sits off of Seventh Avenue West in Hendersonville, opened more than 100 years ago and has been owned by the Shipman family since 1976. 

The four-story, 15,310-square-foot building will be fully restored and two six-story buildings will be built on the site to house condos and hotel rooms.

"I've been planning this in my mind for literally 10 years," Shipman said. "I have talked to probably hundreds of people getting on board with me, renovating this and developing this."

It's slated to open in the fall of 2024. A lot will happen this summer, however — branding and hotel management will be announced; condo sales will launch; demolition of the current commercial event space, called The Chariot, as well as two residential buildings and two sheds, will begin, along with structural repairs to The Cedars.

Groundbreaking for the two new buildings is planned for next summer.

Shipman is working with two other developers, his son-in-law, Gregg Covin, and Brian Gaines, on the project. The architects are from The Tamara Peacock Co. in Hendersonville and RBA Architecture in Charlotte.

Work on a plan has been ongoing for over a year, Shipman said. Hendersonville City Council unanimously agreed to rezone the property in February, giving the historic restoration and new development project the green light.

The cost of the project hasn't been determined yet, but it's being privately funded, Shipman said.

The Cedars functioned as an event venue from 1978 to March 2020 when it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was good timing since renovations were going to be done soon anyway, Shipman said.

The Cedars Lodge & Spa will house a conference center, ballroom and 300-seat banquet hall. The main entrance, front desk and hotel lobby will be where the entrance is now. The historic building will also house a lobby lounge, restaurant and bar.

The new buildings will house 132 condos. They will vary in size from studio to one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and penthouse.

Prices will be $229,000 to $589,000 and up to $1.25 million for penthouses. There will also be a rental program.

Amenities will include balconies, freestanding tubs and fireplaces in the master bathrooms, designer kitchens, conditioned storage units, a resort pool deck and bar, a fitness center, paddle tennis/pickle ball courts, a clubroom for children, green space and a private dog park. There will be underground parking decks for condo owners.

The number of hotel rooms hasn't yet been decided. Hotel guests will valet park, and there will be 217 parking spaces. 

The Cedars sits on the highest point in downtown. From the top floor, views reach all the way out Four Seasons Boulevard in addition to great mountain views, Shipman said.

The Cedars got its name from the cedar trees on the property. The plan is to save existing trees where possible and plant more trees after construction is complete.