The City of Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission approved a permit this week for the demolition of the Dunham & Jones law offices located at 1800 Guadalupe Street, and it’s kind of a funny story. The building, a handsome former apartment structure dating back to 1923, was originally determined in a report from city staff to be an exceptionally well-preserved example of Colonial Revival-style architecture, worthy of historic zoning — however, further research by the applicant reversed this conclusion by proving that the most defining cosmetic elements of the building were actually added during a renovation in 1984, as a replica of that architectural style. Whoops.
With conclusive documentation of the building’s non-historic status now slapped boldly on the table, the site’s new owners at Nashville-based real estate firm Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners are free to clear the existing structures from the property, preparing it and its neighboring tract at 410 West 18th Street for an approximately 0.84-acre new development.
While we can’t exactly prove the upcoming project at the site is an Austin outpost of the college-minded Graduate Hotels chain, all the stars seem to be aligning in a suspiciously neat pattern pointing that direction — in addition to our previous conspiracizing from earlier this year, we can’t help but notice the architecture firm listed on the demolition permit for the site is Chicago-based studio Hartshorne Plunkard, which also recently designed the 12-story Graduate Hotel Nashville.
Whatever gets built here, it’s going to have local roots despite the Nashville origins of its developers. A financing statement from earlier this year indicates the Adventurous Journeys-connected LLC that owns both addresses at this site obtained a loan of at least $15 million from New York-based private equity firm MSD Capital, better known as the investing outfit of well-known Austin billionaire Michael Dell.
Construction financing has been arranged by @JLLHotels for the development of Graduate Auburn, a 177-key hotel in Auburn, Alabama. https://t.co/F0q9RZ1XiA #hotels #hospitality #hoteldevelopment pic.twitter.com/hf7oi1hAst
— LODGING Magazine (@LodgingMagazine) November 16, 2022
Assuming the project here ends up being a Graduate Hotel after all, we’re guessing it could look something like the outpost of the brand now planned for Auburn, Alabama — these tend to be attractive masonry buildings, so even if you’re bummed to see the (non-historic!) structure at 1800 Guadalupe Street face the wrecking ball, there’s actually a good chance you’ll like the replacement. Just hide and watch, as they say.