South Austin ‘Slackerville’ center clearing out for storage facility

Get ready to say so long to “Slackerville.”

A funky assortment of South Austin retailers are heading to new homes after the shopping center they’ve inhabited for years was acquired by a developer who is reportedly planning a storage facility.

The Slackerville center, at 2209 S. First St., is home to the End of an Ear record store and the New Brohemia and Amelia’s Retro Vogue & Relics boutiques.

Michael Poulson, who sold the center last month, said he has kept tenants in the loop since he first listed the property. Poulson, who owned Slackerville since 1979, said rising property taxes were the primary reason he decided to sell.

A purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

Figures from the Travis Central Appraisal District show the center, which was originally built as a grocery store in 1946, went from being appraised at $960,225 in 2014 to almost $1.5 million this year.

Taxes due on the property this year, according to the appraisal district, are expected to be about $34,000.

“They’ve hit just about every commercial property hard,” Poulson said. “They’ve been jumping the values up higher and higher. Fifty percent was just too much.”

Poulson said he’d also been spending more and more time repairing the aging structure. That also factored into the decision.

“I’m 68 years old,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about moving, slowing down for a while now.”

The new owner is Austin-based developer World Class Capital Group, Poulson said. The company owns several high-profile downtown Austin properties, as well as self-storage facilities across the nation.

World Class Capital Group did not respond Tuesday to a message from the American-Statesman seeking comment.

Documents submitted to the city indicate a storage facility is planned for the site. Poulson said he was told it would be four levels – one below ground and three above ground.

The new owner is seeking permission to remove a heritage tree and as many as eight “protected” trees from the site, according to an application submitted by a Georgetown engineering firm.

Tenants are expected to be gone from the center by December, Poulson said, with construction likely starting in February.

Owners of End of an Ear, New Brohemia and Amelia’s Retro Vogue & Relics all say they plan to relocate.

New Brohemia is heading for a site near Airport Boulevard and East 46th Street. So is Amelia’s Retro Vogue & Relics, which will also beef up its online presence.

End of an Ear co-owner Dan Plunkett said the store is close to landing a site “about five minutes south,” but wasn’t ready yet to reveal where. He called Poulson a “super good guy.”

“For a starter business, he was great,” Plunkett said. “He’s always been really good to us.”

This time around, Plunkett said he and co-owner Blake Carlisle are interested in owning their own building rather than leasing.

“We think the store has a good 10 years left in it, at least,” Plunkett said. “We will announce the new store when we have the keys in hand. Owning the building means you control your own destiny and (the cost) was about the same as we are paying now in rent. We are under contract, the bank stuff is good and we are hoping to announce after the first week in July.”

Plunkett and Carlisle opened End of an Ear on South First Street in 2005. Previously, Plunkett was co-owner of the record store 33 Degrees on Guadalupe Street from 1995 to 2004. The store quickly built a loyal customer base thanks to a wide selection of underground music, friendly service and frequent in-store performances from touring acts. End of an Ear also caught the vinyl boom just as it was taking off.

End of an Ear’s current location is about 3,200 square feet. Plunkett says the new location will be about 5,000, which will allow for a greater selection of vinyl, a wider array of stereo equipment and a permanent stage for in-store performances.

“We just want to make it a little nicer,” Plunkett said. “It will seem a lot roomier.”

Plunkett said he is confident the store’s customer base will follow them to the new location.

“You always worry about that,” he said, “but we think about 30 percent of our base in located in the 78745, the ’04 or even further south. We have always drawn from all over town and the new place has easy access from Ben White.”

American-Statesman staff writer Joe Gross contributed to this story.

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