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Former skate shop cleared for demolition after successful relocation campaign

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 by Kali Bramble

With No-Comply Skate Shop successfully relocated a stone’s throw from its prior home, the proposal to demolish the now vacant storefront at 812 W. 12th St. has returned to City Hall.

The lot, owned by Austin Community College, inspired controversy when news broke of plans to replace the building with a brand-new student parking garage. The backlash put the project on a temporary hold, buying time for No-Comply to negotiate a lease at a neighboring garage storefront also owned by ACC.

With the Historic Landmark Commission’s blessing, the project can now move forward. Commissioners approved the demolition in a 7-0-3 vote last Wednesday, with commissioners Witt Featherston, JuanRaymon Rubio and Roxanne Evans abstaining.

“We are currently planning for the future development of all of those properties we have” on 12th Street, said Molly Beth Malcolm, ACC vice chancellor of operations and public affairs. “When we bought these properties and the others alongside it, it was always with the intention of improving our Rio Grande Campus. … 812 is the very last building that needs to be cleared.”

The 1946 building was home to a number of small businesses throughout the mid-20th century, including a beauty salon, a paint and wallpaper store, and an ice cream parlor. No-Comply Skate Shop occupied the space from 2008 until earlier this year, when it moved to neighboring 824A W. 12th St. The new space is still just blocks from House Skate Park, from which skaters of all stripes make their way to grab coffee and talk shop.

“I am thankful for ACC and their willingness to work with me to identify a new location that will allow my business to continue to support the Central Texas skating community,” said owner Elias Bingham in a statement of support for the demolition request.

The past decade has seen Austin Community College break ground on a number of large-scale investments, including the $49 million renovation of its historic Rio Grande Campus building and the rapid expansion of facilities at the former Highland Mall. Last November, voters approved an additional $770 million bond for workforce training programs and facility enhancements laid out in the college’s Districtwide Campus Master Plan.

Malcolm says that while the master plan currently calls to raze the former storefront to make way for an expanded parking garage for its Rio Grande Campus, the path forward is not set in stone. 

“At the present time, the master plan calls for extending the garage … but as we all know, traffic is changing, and that may never happen,” Malcolm said. “There is no money presently in the bond (for that project). … It does include $40 million for a new building on some part of the campus that will house cybersecurity and general education, and the decision hasn’t been made on where that will be yet. It could be in this space … or on some other property that we own.”

To learn more about ACC’s upcoming projects, visit the 2022 Bond Project web page.

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