Kicked Out for Nothing

Little City left Congress way too soon

The historic building that once housed the bustling Little City coffee shop is now for sale.
The historic building that once housed the bustling Little City coffee shop is now for sale. (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

916 Congress Avenue – former home to the beloved coffee shop and Downtown institution Little City – is back on the real estate market. Infamously conservative think tank the Texas Public Policy Foun­dation bought the building in 2009 and refused to renew Little City's lease when it expired in 2011 – much to the chagrin of the loyal following the coffee shop had built up over the course of 18 years. At the time, TPPF said it had big plans to convert the building into new offices. However, the property has remained vacant for a year, and TPPF has said that the building no longer suits its needs. In a statement, TPPF Executive Director Arlene Wohlgemuth said the foundation's staff had expanded so quickly between buying the property and removing Little City that they need more space. She said: "Simply put, our extraordinary success grew us out of 916 before we ever set foot within it. That's a good problem to have." Instead, TPPF will be moving out of its current space at 900 Congress across the road to 901 Congress and into the former offices of Sneed, Vine & Perry. They'll be passing up on an architectural gem: Built around 1875, 916 Congress is listed by the city of Austin as a historic landmark and forms part of the Larmour block – named after Jacob Larmour, the only architect listed in the original 1872 city of Austin directory.

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Little City, coffee shop, Texas Public Policy Foundation, TPPF

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