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The Grove Arcade, located in downtown Asheville, is located in a five-story, 269,000 square feet structure completed in 1929. It was the brain child of E. W. Grove, who conceived the arcade as a grand commercial and residential structure meant to give a boost to the downtown area and be at the center of the community. Grove died before the arcade--which originally was supposed to include a fourteen story residential tower--could be completed. At the time, though, it was the largest building by far in the region. The first occupants were fruit stands, grocers, clothiers, and barbershops, in the tradition of the covered markets found in European cities like Paris.
During World War II, seventy-four shops and 127 offices were forced out of the arcade so the government could use it for the war effort. Afterwards, the structure became home to the National Climatic Data Center. Around this time, citizens of Asheville began to push for the arcade to be returned to its original state as a market, and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Arcade opened in its current incarnation as a home for shops, restaurants and apartments in 2002.
Today you'll find a wide variety of stores ranging from bath accessories to children's apparel. A sizeable portion of the building is given up to crafts vendors, who have a rich tradition in the area. Fine restaurants abound with cuisine from all over the international spectrum.
Perhaps truer to the original intentions of the Grove Arcade is the Portico Market, a large section of arcade operated much like a farmer's market. It is Asheville's only permanent outdoor market, where you'll find handmade crafts and fresh produce.