As Austin rapidly changes, many of the city's oldest establishments are struggling to survive the growing pains. Today it appears that another iconic Austin space is throwing in the towel.
The Enchanted Forest, located on Oltorf Street near South Lamar Blvd., wasn’t a typical business, but rather a unique place for Austin artists and performers to gather. Now the property’s owner, Albert Deloach, is putting the Forest on the market, citing a long fight to keep the site in compliance with city code. Particularly, the Enchanted Forest had issues working with the city’s Public Assembly Code Enforcement, which works to reduce hazards and code violations regarding major events.
Located in the heart of the current South Austin development explosion, the Forest is being advertised as a mixed-use "Oltorf Development Site."
Though many issues (like noise complaints) have been minor, the constant struggle with the City of Austin has forced Deloach to refrain from hosting any major events in the past two years. In a video interview posted on YouTube in March 2011, Deloach says that the property was able to resolve almost all violations, with the exception of paved parking. Deloach also planned to put a commercial building on the property, but it appears development plans never came to fruition.
The 3.10-acre property is now listed on the Southwest Strategies Group website with a price of $3.3 million. Located in the heart of the current South Austin development explosion, the Forest is being advertised as a mixed-use "Oltorf Development Site."
The Enchanted Forest joins an increasing number of "old Austin" establishments forced to shutter or relocate in recent weeks. Arnold Oil on East Sixth Street and The Omelettry on Burnet Road are just a few examples of recent casualties as the demand for prime Austin real estate grows.
But what makes the Enchanted Forest different is it can't simply set up shop somewhere else. A gathering spot for Austin’s vibrant community of creative minds in a natural space will be difficult — if not impossible — to recreate somewhere else. Now the only question left for many residents is how much of this Austin paradise will be paved for a parking lot — or more condos.