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Hotel Plans for Green Pastures Deemed Historically Appropriate

Iconic property development

With little fight or fanfare at its final 2016 meeting, the city Historic Landmark Commission gave its blessing to development plans for the grounds of the historic Green Pastures Restaurant in South Austin's Bouldin Creek neighborhood.

Plans for the now-urban five acres include two three-story hotel buildings maxing out at 38 feet high, according to Clayton + Little Architects, who applied for a certificate of appropriateness on behalf of the owners. The Landmark Commission reviews plans in relation to a property's historic qualities and zoning only; it does not review site plans by any other criteria or grant building permits.

In addition to the hotel buildings, the approved plans feature a 39-foot-high parking structure, a two-story laundry/office facility, and a one-story greenhouse. Owners also plan to relocate a historic smokehouse to a different spot on the property under the supervision of the Texas Historical Commission.

All the structures are designed to be unobtrusive and to blend in with the iconic former farm and its elegant Victorian house, built with original-growth pine, cypress, maple, and oak in 1835 and former home to families with deep Austin roots. Most notable of these were Faulks—raconteur, 50s-blacklist battler, and city library namesake John Henry Faulk grew up there—and the Koocks, the family Faulk's sister Mary married into. Mary converted the home to a restaurant in 1946.

The restaurant was forerunner in Austin fine-dining (as well as civil rights—it was a place open to all in the deeply segregated South from the day it opened) and soon became an institution and go-to for weddings and other events. It has been designated a landmark by the state Historical Commission and is entered into the National Registry of Historic Places.

Owner Bob Burslett sold the house and grounds to a local hospitality partnership last year. Plans for modifications to the current structure and additions to the property began shortly thereafter. Below are a few of the plans and renderings that, with a few minor exclusions, the commission approved 8-0.