Number of potentially significant buildings, structures, or sites recommended for historic landmark designation by the Historic Landmark Commission, but for which a demolition permit was released
In 2020, demolition permits were released for two buildings recommended for landmark designation by the Historic Landmark Commission. Both are significant sites in women’s history. The Wyse House (Wyseacre) at 2816 San Pedro Street is a 1920s house associated with writer, editor, and entrepreneur Ellen Wyse. The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Headquarters Building at 416 W. 12th Street is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, but that designation is primarily honorary.
The number for 2020 is consistent with the number for 2019. Data has not been compiled for prior years.
Note: To see the underlying data for the chart, please select the "View Source Data" link.
Additional Measure Insights
Under city code, the only means to prevent demolition of a significant historic property is through landmark designation. To qualify, a property must meet at least two of five criteria for significance. Most of the time, this means a building must be both historically important and architecturally distinctive. In relatively few cases does the commission vote to recommend historic zoning over the owner’s objection.
Additionally, state law set a supermajority requirement for landmark designation without owner consent, requiring that a ¾ majority of both the Historic Landmark Commission and City Council vote in favor. Both cases from 2020 were recommended for historic designation by staff and received majority—but not supermajority—votes from the Historic Landmark Commission.
This indicator is the annual number of demolition requests for properties that meet the high bar set by the landmark criteria but fail to meet the higher bar of supermajority support in the face of owner opposition. Landmark designation without owner consent is exceedingly rare.
As a result, the Historic Landmark Commission must release most demolition permits it considers. This includes demolitions within National Register Historic Districts, over which the commission has only an advisory capacity unless a property independently meets the historic landmark criteria.
Voluntary local designation, particularly through the creation of historic districts, remains the most effective tool for protecting historic properties. Many more properties could qualify for designation as a contributing part of a historic district than meet the landmark criteria. Historic districts treat historic resources more holistically in their context, which allows more neighborhoods that reflect underrepresented communities to be recognized and protected.
Measure Details and Definition
1) Definition: Number of potentially significant buildings, structures, or sites recommended for historic landmark designation by the Historic Landmark Commission, but for which a demolition permit was released.
2) Calculation method: Calculated the total number of potentially significant buildings, structures, or sites recommended for historic landmark designation by the Historic Landmark Commission, but for which a demolition permit was released.
3) Data Collection Process: Data collected from Historic Landmark Collection records and city building permit demolition records.
4) Measure Target Calculation: There is no target for this measure, but the City of Austin is monitoring this as a community measure.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Calendar Year)
Date page was last updated: December 2021