Hendersonville is growing its tourist economy. In 2015, growth in tourist spending was at 4.9 percent, whereas Asheville tourist spending grew by slightly less during the same time period, according to a study from the UNC School of Government. Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway wants to capitalize on that momentum to grow downtown beyond Main Street. The Grey Hosiery Mill can move people deeper into the historic downtown and create a connection between Main Street and the 7th Avenue district, which includes an iconic train depot and two breweries (one forthcoming). The city of Hendersonville, which owns the building, partnered with the School of Government and released a request for qualifications in November, explaining to developers who would be a good match. Holloway said they’ve gotten some bites from hotel developers who work in Asheville and beyond. City Council will select a developer in April and pursue a partnership meant to result in construction by late 2017 and early 2018.