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Heritage tree removal okayed for quirky hotel

Might Union group to repurpose Carpenters Hall for boutique hospitality

The city’s Environmental Commission on Wednesday approved a proposal to remove two heritage pecan trees from the site of a planned hotel that, somewhat ironically, strives to preserve Austin’s heritage, according to a Friday Austin Monitor story.

The Mighty Union, the group responsible for the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon, and other insanely popular quirky hospitality properties (including a Wes-Anderson-themed lodge), plans to create just such a hospitality destination out of Carpenters Hall at 400 Josephine Street, in South Austin’s popular Zilker neighborhood close to Butler Park and Auditorium Shores. The building was originally home to a carpenters union.

According to the Monitor’s Cate Malek, Mighty Union owner Jack Barron told the commission that the group wanted to preserve the existing hall and “as many trees and as much green space as possible” but that it could not do that and build a viable boutique hotel without removing the two trees.

Commissioners approved removal of the trees with a vote of 7-1, according to Malek, with Commissioner Peggy Maceo opposed and commissioners Mary Ann Neely and Michael Moya absent.

Commissioners asked Barron to reuse wood from the trees in the hotel, which is to be called The Carpenter, as a nod to the trade whose members once used the building. Barron noted that the Mighty Union’s ““very quirky hotels … are embedded in a deep sense of place,” Malek wrote.

Hotel strives to preserve Austin’s heritage, but not all of its heritage trees [Austin Monitor]