Longtime South Austin wedding venue unveils closing plans due to soaring property taxes
If you've lived in Austin for the past 15 years, chances are you've attended an event at South Austin's Mercury Hall. The picturesque site, tucked away off South First Street, has played host to thousands of weddings, galas, fundraisers, and other engagements since opening in 2005.
Now, the venue faces an uncertain future. On November 22, Merc Properties, Ltd. announced it is closing the venue in 2021, the result, it says, of Austin's rising property taxes.
The South Austin site hosts almost 300 events a year, thanks, at least in part, to the darling whitewashed church that was relocated from the small town of Mercury, Texas, in the 1990s. In 2005, Merc Properties, Ltd. tapped Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to reimagine the space and transform it into an event venue.
Under Hsu's eye, the four-acre site was designed to seamlessly integrated indoors and out, taking advantage of the property's natural landscaping. In addition to the church, the team added out buildings, dressing rooms, tiered outdoor space, and additional landscape elements.
“We have really been proud to own and operate such expansive green space in the heart of the city. Unfortunately, our property taxes have tripled over the last five years and it is becoming clear that an event venue is not a viable use on a property of this size and central location," says Mercury Hall partner Daryl Kunik in a release. “We have held on for as long as we can and are taking our time to find new owners who will be excellent stewards for this beautiful piece of land."
With the search for a new owner underway, Merc Properties, Ltd. says it is looking for a one that will continue the property's legacy. Says Kunik, "Mercury Hall has touched a lot of lives and we want that to live on in some way.”
Mercury Hall will close under its current ownership in June 2021, but those who have booked the venue between now and the closing date don't need to worry. Mercury Hall will honor all new and existing contracts "with the same services and support," ownership notes in a release.