Plans are moving forward on a major distribution center in Enka. But standing on the site is the historic American Enka Co. clock tower with it’s 60-foot-plus brick façade. The landmark harkens to the nylon fabric plant that opened in the late 1920s.
The application submitted to Asheville planners has clues indicating it could be another Amazon pick-up and delivery site. But, an Amazon spokeswoman said there’s no news to give about the Enka site.
"We are planning on making an announcement very soon on North Carolina distribution centers,” Amazon spokesperson Ashley Lansdale said. “We have growth plans in 2021.”
Plans for the Enka site show a more than 129,000-square-foot building. And applications for “AV2” list Greensboro-based Samet as the developer. In June, Samet referred to a site called “Project AV” in a posting on its Facebook page. The post came during construction on the Mills River Amazon distribution site.
American Enka Co. employed thousands for decades in the textile industry.
“It’s sad they might be taking the clock tower away,” said Roger Metcalf, who lives less than two miles from the site.
“It is a symbol to us of how important that company has been,” Roger's wife Anita Metcalf said.
The Metcalfs' parents worked for decades at the plant.
Word is spreading that project plans call for demolition of the tower to make room for parking spaces for close to 300 workers.
“We accept progress,” Anita Metcalf said. “We’re grateful for the jobs. But do not completely dismiss the historical value of what is there. It is a symbol to us, of how important that company has been to our community for many, many years.”
Roger Metcalf cited the fact three area schools were named after the manufacturing company.
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer said the city has received communications from numerous residents concerned about demolition plans.
“I will urge the applicant to preserve the clock tower,” Manheimer said.
The plans won’t come before the city council until January, but two sub-committees will review the plans as they are now in coming weeks.