Developer Parks Hospitality Group (PHG) had once aimed to complete a $24 million Embassy Suites hotel by March 1. Eight stories high, it would be a handsome gateway to Asheville’s central business district, offering a pool, a rooftop bar, meeting space, and a 200-car parking facility, all within walking distance of the US Cellular Center. PHG had applied for a conditional-use permit, and having done well throughout the design review process, the plans were defeated in the eleventh hour by city council. Councilors wanted the hoteliers to build 60 additional public parking spaces and donate $250,000 to the city’s affordable housing trust fund before they would grant the permit. PHG sued, saying it had met the seven standards for a permit, and Superior Court Judge William H. Coward agreed, ordering the permit to be issued. The city then notified the applicant it intended to appeal the decision. Estimating he would lose $4 million from what would now be two years of delays, and believing his case would stand up in court, PHG President Shaunak Patel filed for a demolition permit to remove the existing building on the site. The city responded by asking for a stay on his permit.