A groundswell of assist for a beloved Austin skate store didn’t fall upon unsympathetic ears on the Historic Landmark Fee.
Austin Neighborhood School was searching for a allow to demolish No-Comply Skate Store at 812 W. twelfth St. to make manner for a parking storage. The college wants permission from town’s Historic Landmark Fee. The fee can provoke historic zoning for the constructing, which might stop its demolition if authorized by Metropolis Council. On Monday, commissioners voted unanimously to postpone it to their August assembly.
On the assembly, commissioners have been flooded with testimony concerning the function that No-Comply performs locally. Audio system highlighted charitable contributions, mentorship and assist for the humanities, and requested commissioners to do what they might to save lots of the store.
“We’ve by no means had this type of outpouring of assist earlier than,” mentioned Chair Terri Myers, who famous that along with the audio system, the fee had obtained greater than 4,000 emails objecting to the demolition. In all, 70 audio system signed as much as communicate on the proposed demolition – two in assist of the allow, 68 in opposition to.
Talking on behalf of ACC, CFO Neil Vickers pointed to the latest $80 million preservation of the historic Austin Excessive College simply subsequent door for example of the varsity’s dedication to preserving Austin’s heritage.
“We’re very a lot supportive of attempting to keep up the legacy of Austin in any manner we will,” he mentioned.
Nonetheless, he mentioned that ACC had bought the West twelfth property with the intention of demolishing it to increase the campus. A letter from Chancellor Richard Rhodes explains that the constructing was recognized for razing in 2007 and was formally included in ACC’s grasp plan in 2011.
“The neighborhood the place it might have match at one level, it’s not the identical neighborhood,” Vickers mentioned. He urged commissioners to separate assist for the tenant of the constructing – the skate store – with assist for preservation of the constructing itself.
Myers acknowledged the distinction, however mentioned not taking the outpouring of assist for the enterprise into consideration could be a mistake. “Whereas the residential space is likely to be gone, there’s a group of people that do frequent this constructing, and it’s a part of their group,” she mentioned.
No-Comply proprietor Elias Bingham spoke in opposition to the demolition. He requested commissioners to delay the demolition with the intention to give the enterprise time to discover a new location, if granting historic designation wasn’t attainable.
“What has been constructed round this constructing within the final 14 years is taken into account of nice significance to the Austin group and past,” he mentioned. “No-Comply Skate Store exists, not simply as a small enterprise, however as a group member and a platform of and for Austin.”
Lots of the audio system shared that sentiment.
Mark Jackson, the chief growth officer of Central Texas Meals Financial institution, instructed the fee that through the pandemic, the store raised $200,000 “to assist folks going through starvation and make Austin a greater place to name residence.”
Alejandro Castro, who recognized himself as a skateboarder and former pupil on the ACC Rio Grande campus and UT Austin, spoke in opposition of the demolition and in favor of the group. He referred to as No-Comply’s present location “a miracle.”
“This heart and centroplex has helped not solely the Austin group, however it retains numerous massive manufacturers coming again as a result of one of many issues that retains Austin bizarre is that their skate park is actually proper across the nook from the skate store,” Castro mentioned. “It shouldn’t be moved.”
Michael Sieben, the managing editor of Thrasher journal, targeted his testimony on the function of mentorship the store performs.
“I believe we’d be sending a really bleak message to our youngsters if we demolish this property,” Sieben mentioned. “Within the age of smartphones and digital media, No-Comply is one thing tangible for our youth. It’s a bodily area the place the children can meet up in individual and share real-life experiences, and I believe that’s invaluable.”
Metropolis preservation workers members assist historic zoning for the constructing. Historic Preservation Officer Steve Sadowsky instructed the fee that whereas there are “lots of” of buildings just like the 1946 store in different Texas cities, they’re comparatively scarce in Austin.
“This can be a essential constructing sort,” Sadowsky mentioned. He defined they supported historic zoning for the store primarily based on architectural benefit and group worth, that are standards for landmark designation underneath town guidelines.
Sadowsky, who indicated he would proceed speaking to ACC about its plans for the property over the following month, puzzled whether or not there was a technique to construct the parking storage above the constructing to save lots of the store.
Commissioners urged Vickers to debate plans with No-Comply as nicely.
“It looks like a wasted alternative for the faculty,” Commissioner Ben Heimsath mentioned. “To have this type of power – clearly the very constituency that you simply serve – to be this upset, it simply looks like there was some breakdown in communication.”
Vickers mentioned they might proceed to work with the store on the way forward for its operation, however ACC wished to press on with its plans. “All of this caught us a little bit off-guard, to be sincere,” he mentioned.
Following the listening to, ACC launched an announcement to the media that learn, “ACC is listening to our group. Tonight, we heard considerations concerning the future for the No-Comply Skate Store and of the deep sentimental worth this store holds amongst our skating group. The school has been and can proceed to work with the tenant to know their wants. It’s our purpose to develop a timeline and course of that works greatest for everybody concerned.”
Heimsath mentioned the case is “a reminder why preservation isn’t a easy factor.”
“It’s not simply ‘discover a couple museum items’ as a result of we’re going to cross that, and nothing else, on to the following technology. This is a chance to essentially look deeper,” he mentioned. “Excellent structure doesn’t essentially imply it’s on the quilt of some structure journal.”
Commissioner Kevin Koch appeared to agree, saying, “So many occasions whenever you hear discussions about preservation and what Austin is shedding, it’s the establishments that persons are lamenting moreso than the buildings, however I believe we want an appreciation for a way that historic cloth actually fosters that community-level, that neighborhood-level interplay.”
Commissioner Witt Featherston, who made the movement to postpone, referred to as the choice to listen to testimony from the general public “a blessing” and mentioned it was simply too late within the night time to present the case justice.
“I believe we have to discover a manner, as preservationists, to harness the power that this constructing dropped at the assembly right this moment,” Commissioner Kelly Little mentioned.
Myers agreed. “I’m pondering of taking on skateboarding,” she mentioned.
The Austin Monitor’s work is made attainable by donations from the group. Although our reporting covers donors sometimes, we’re cautious to maintain enterprise and editorial efforts separate whereas sustaining transparency. An entire record of donors is accessible here, and our code of ethics is defined here.
This text has been up to date.