The American Enka Company, incorporated in 1928, built what became the nation’s largest rayon-producing factory. The Dutch name of the rayon company was Nederlandse Kunstzijdefabriek, and it is from the Dutch phonetic pronunciation of the initial letters N and K of the firm’s name that “Enka” is derived. The alternative explanation that Enka stands for “Eerste Nederlandse Kunstzijdefabriek Arnhem” is incorrect. In 1929 the company began developing a community plan that included employee houses and became known as Enka Village. Enka Village is now a historic community and is part of the city of Asheville.
On July 6, 2010, the city of Asheville began looking at a proposal for Enka Center, which will take an estimated 14 years to complete. The clock tower of the former American Enka plant would be the centerpiece of a retail center on the northwest section of the 192-acre (0.78 km2) site. Portions of the plant still stand, including a campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College; these would remain. Offices, warehouses and industrial areas would locate in the southeastern part of the complex. 29 acres (120,000 m2) would remain open space, and a greenway would follow along Hominy Creek.
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