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YMI (Young Mens Institute) Renovation Asheville

39 S Market St, Asheville, NC 28801, USA


The YMI Cultural Center (originally called the Young Men’s Institute) in Asheville, North Carolina, first opened its doors in 1893 to provide cultural, educational, social, and business opportunities for the African-American community. The original YMI building featured an auditorium, swimming pool, meeting rooms, and a reading room. Black-owned businesses operated in the building’s storefront spaces, including a library, drug-store, doctor’s offices, and a pharmacy. The YMI was the nucleus of black commerce and social activities in the Eagle Market Street neighborhood, affectionately known as “The Block.” Today, the YMI remains a non-profit organization led by and for the African-American community, making it one of the longest-standing such organizations in North Carolina.

The YMI Cultural Center is renovating and updating its historic building at 39 South Market Street. Existing building uses include several office spaces rented by small businesses and nonprofits, three storefront retail spaces, a 250 seat auditorium, a conference room and an art gallery. Looking forward, YMI seeks to expand its cultural programming, provide modernized spaces to host events and meetings, better serve its retail and office tenants, and highlight the history of the African-American community in Asheville. This project scope will provide an assessment and conceptual renovation plans for the 18,000 square foot building.

The YMI partnered with Self-Help’s Real Estate Development team to conduct a feasibility study for the renovation of the existing building. Neighboring Concepts was the architect on the team that performed a visual assessment of the building and generated a conceptual renovation plan, including a conceptual cost estimate for facility upgrades, a conceptual project schedule, and a project management plan for the renovation. Neighboring Concepts is currently completing the construction documents to complete the work recommended by the study.

In progress


18,900 sqft


Young Mens Institute

External Team:

Services Provided:

Interior Design,
Construction Administration

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