Have you driven down Baylor Street? It’s a curious place. There is a vacated street between 9th and 10th. There is a strange concrete structure that resembles something out of Blade Runner. Above this curiosity sits a castle which is part of the “Nice Turret No Moat” subdivision which was established in 1885. I did some digging around and this is what I found.
This is the 1.2 acre site of an unfinished mixed-use project. Owned by Rooknoll LLC which is managed by Victor Ayad and local developer/architect Dick Clark. This unfinished foundation work dates back to a 1980s condo project. In 2007, Austin City council approved the upzoning of the the lot on Baylor to accommodate a small mixed-use development. But it’s doubtful anything will be done with it soon.
1111 W 11th “The Castle”
Also owned by Rooknoll, LLC, this is the former Texas Military Institute castle. In fact, this property is likely the root of the neighborhood named “Castle Hill”. For decades it has been used on and off as a residence or office. The view of downtown is spectacular. It appears occupied right now, but as recently as a couple of years ago it made for interesting an subject for local urban explorers. The structure is the oldest existing college building in Texas.
There is much more history to both of these properties, so please feel free to share what you know. The zoning map below shows that many of the properties on Baylor are zoned for small multifamily use, but I haven’t found much information on the raison d’etre for the vacated street.
-flickr for “texas military institute”
-http://www.dupontcastle.com/castles/tmi.htm (this is a very fun site!)