Iconic Austin building has charter, building snatched

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by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and photojournalist JP HARRINGTON

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 31 at 7:42 AM

AUSTIN -- The future of an iconic South Austin building boasting one of the best views in the entire city is now unknown.

On Monday the national Elks Lodge chapter changed the locks on the local Austin chapter's headquarters. The building is located at 700 Dawson Street.

National Elks Lodge officers also dissolved the Austin Elks chapter, citing violations to the organization’s orders. However, the spokesperson wouldn’t give specifics.

Nataysha Doyel, the Austin Elks Lodge chapter president, told KVUE the reasons the national office yanked their charter and their building are two-fold. Doyel believes the national office wants to sell the property that she says is worth $4 million.

The other reason, says Doyel, has to do with the fact that she’s a woman.

“It's basically a sexual discrimination thing. This is the second time we've had our charter pulled. The first time it happened under a woman. The second time it happened under me,” said Doyel. She claims the local Austin Elks Lodge donated $20,000 to local charities last year.

The fate of the Dawson Elks Lodge is in the hand of state trustees who were on the property Tuesday afternoon taking items out of the building.

The Austin Elks 201 Lodge was formed in 1891. Local members built their present headquarters on Dawson in 1958. A swimming pool was later added in 1961.

The stellar view is why non-Elk members have rented out the space for parties and weddings for decades.

The only folks now allowed in the Austin Elks headquarters building on Dawson are employees with a local catering company who are leasing out the kitchen space.

“We're getting ready to file an appeal so that we hope that puts a stay in place so they cannot sell our property. We won't know for several weeks whether that occurs and we are granted that stay,” added Doyel.

There are six weddings, including one this weekend, scheduled to use the Austin Lodge space.

The Elks will apparently allow the wedding this weekend to go on, but the fate of the other five isn’t clear.

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