It’s official! Investor and land owner Austin Stowell of KEEP Investment Group has decided to keep the Montopolis School (Montopolis Negro School) building intact safe away from demolition. Austen Stowell is willing to work with the City of Austin who wants to purchase the property for historic preservation. His goal is to seek a historic zoning category other than single family after the Historic Landmark Commission failed to reach the threshold for zoning the property building as historic last year in December 2016. Austin Stowell of KEEP Investment Group is planning to negotiate a sale to the city for a win-win resolution giving some of the members of the community what they want in an attempt of historic preservation.
The former Montopolis School could see rebirth or a breath of a fresh new life as museum and a park. His main goal is to seek adaptive reuse to preserve the structure. “The substantial community group called Neighborhood Planning Contact Team opposes any use of the site other than as a museum or a park.” said Austin Stowell. However it is unclear and unofficial as to whether or not the former Montopolis School will become a museum, community center, or a park.
Austin Stowell acquired the property in March 2015 and then in December 2016, he acquired a demolition permit for the property which was denied. Everything around the structure has been sheathed in aluminum to help preserve the school building from further deterioration. Austin Stowell refers the property as “mummified” .
However single family units will be built around the Montopolis School building. Real estate plans along with housing development will not stop. Housing development plans to build 15 single family units and other real estate plans will continue. 14 to 15 single family units will be built around the Montopolis School building instead.
On the date of September 28, 2017, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the former Montopolis Negro School site and agreed to consider changes to how the city designates historical landmarks. City staffers will now prepare a plan to restore the school “as a historic asset and museum that would attract tourists and convention delegates."
On September 29, 2017, plans for demolition are cancelled as owner Austin Stowell recognizes the significance and importance of the Montopolis School. Everything around the school building has been sheathed in aluminum to help preserve the school building from further deterioration. Austin Stowell refers the property as “mummified” .
*Austen Stowell is the same Austin Stowell of KEEP Investment Group.