Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

Possible strip club makes museum wary of deck

With a proposed Congress Avenue strip club drawing fire from groups across the city, it might not be the right time for other tenants of 422 Congress Ave. to ask for changes.

Though the owners of Shiner’s Saloon explained that they had nothing to do with any strip clubs, last week their Historic Landmark Commission case to build a rooftop deck was postponed over concerns from the neighboring Mexic-Arte Museum.

Stuart Hersh, who has worked as a consultant for Mexic-Arte Museum and serves as the chair of the building committee at the museum, asked the commission to postpone the case until “all outstanding issues concerning alcohol beverage permits and a proposed adult-oriented business” are resolved. Hersh pointed out that the museum teaches classes to children. He said they are currently in talks with staff about whether the adult oriented businesses are prohibited for that reason.

Hersh said that if the building’s owner files an acceptable restrictive covenant prohibiting adult-oriented uses, the museum would withdraw the postponement request. City Council is also expected to vote in April on a code change that could prohibit a strip clubs from opening within 1,000 feet of a museum or library. That change was inspired by the possibility of a strip club at 422 Congress Ave.

Mexic-Arte Founder and Executive Director Sylvia Orozco also spoke in favor of the postponement, and told the commission that there were a “lot of issues and questions at this time” that needed to be resolved before the project moved forward.

Jim Herbert said that he was representing just one of the building’s four businesses, the Shiner’s Saloon. He explained that business had been there for almost seven years, and the deck request was coming from the saloon, which is not associated with any of the other businesses at 422 Congress Ave.

“I think they are a nice stable, responsible business,” said Herbert. “I just think it’s unfair to put them under the knife because one of their neighbors is under review.”

Shiner’s Saloon owner David Jalufka reiterated that his business had nothing to do with the other business in the building. He told commissioners that since media reports of a Congress Avenue strip club had emerged, there had been “a lot of confusion with news crews, people at our front door, and people showing up to ask us questions.”

“Anything that is associated with that adult entertainment industry is not us,” said Jalufka. “I’d like to exchange cards with these guys so we can help each other throughout this process and kind of nip this thing in the bud if at all possible.”

Commissioners voted to postpone the case their to April 27 meeting.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Congress Avenue: Congress Avenue is the central-most road in downtown Austin. It runs from the Texas State Capitol to Lady Bird Lake, where it turns into South Congress Avenue. It is also a historic district first listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Historic Landmark Commission: The city’s Historic Landmark Commission promotes historic preservation of buildings and structures. The commission also reviews applications and permits for historic zoning and historic grants.

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