Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee Completes Asheville Civic Center Renovations

Entertainment center gets much-needed updates, reconfiguration.

April 3, 2012 (Asheville, NC) -- Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee’s Asheville Studio in association with BetschAssociates of Greenville, SC, has completed renovations of the former Asheville Civic Center in Asheville, NC, now the U.S. Cellular Center.

The heart of downtown Asheville’s arts and entertainment scene, the 60,000-square-foot Asheville Civic Center has been a regional destination for over 35 years, hosting diverse entertainment, trade shows, and events.

To accommodate the Civic Center’s on-going schedule, renovations had to be completed in phases, beginning with movable seating replacement. Lighting and electronics replacement came next, followed by the renovation of concession and concourse areas. The final phase involved the addition of events support areas: large meeting rooms, locker rooms, media areas, and talent green rooms.

According to the architects, the arena seating was reconfigured into a bowl shape to provide a more intimate arrangement and improve accessibility.

“Growing up in the Asheville area the civic center has always been a part of my entertainment,” said Chad Roberson, AIA, director of the PBC+L Asheville studio. “We enjoyed the challenges posed by updating this community icon. Fortunately, the facility has great bones and we were able to capitalize on this aspect and give the building a renewed life.” 

The concession areas were redesigned to focus on local foods and craft beers. Outdoor areas will continue the new concession theme and include covered seating areas.

Meeting areas also have been updated to provide the Asheville community with new, large rooms for civic meetings. All public areas have been refinished and updated.

The $7.5 million renovation was completed in time for the 2012 Southern Conference Basketball League Tournament in March. Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center also has been chosen to host the league's men's and women's basketball tournaments in 2013 and 2014.

The Asheville Civic Center’s renovation follows Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee’s long track record of designing new and/or renovating cultural arts centers. Other projects of this type include: the12,000-square-foot Barton College Theater in Wilson, NC; Fayetteville Festival Park Performance Pavilion, a 6000-square-foot outdoor multi-use center in Fayetteville NC; Imperial Center Theater for the City of Rocky Mount’s active community theatre program and other uses; Seabrook Auditorium renovations at Fayetteville State University; and Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh (Memorial Auditorium’s original lobby renovation and expansion and subsequent additions for the Fletcher Opera Theater and Meymandi Concert Hall)

For more information on Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, visit

About Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee:

Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee (PBC+L) is an award-winning, full-service architectural firm specializing in academic and cultural arts projects. PBC+L has offices in Raleigh and Asheville, North Carolina. The firm’s work has been published in numerous professional journals and the firm was ranked 23rd in Architecture magazine’s Top 50 Firms in the nation. For more information, visit or find the firm on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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