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In Uptown, a Meeting to Keep Hard Rock Building from Becoming a Teardown

There's a meeting this week to see if Uptowners actually want to preserve the former church that, till next week, is the home of the Hard Rock Cafe.

New Friend of Unfair Park John McKee called to let us know that on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at William B. Travis Middle School on McKinney Avenue, city councilmember Angela Hunt has called a neighborhood get-together to discuss the future of the Hard Rock Cafe. As we noted earlier this month, the Hard Rock will close up shop on March 3, and though there's been no word about what will become of the building -- which was constructed in 1910 as the McKinney Avenue Baptist Church -- there's a good chance it will get torn down and replaced by, oh, a CVS pharmacy, as has long been rumored.

To prevent that from happening, McKee and others have put before the city's Landmark Designation Committee an application for landmark status, which would forbid developers from destroying or even altering the former church without the city council's approval. The Landmark Commission, which makes its recommendations to the council concerning historic protection, meets March 5 at 1 p.m., but before that, Hunt wants to make sure folks in the neighborhood actually want the building protected.

"I want to hear from residents about going forward, if we were going to try to designate this property as a historic landmark," Hunt tells Unfair Park. "I am going to talk with neighbors and get their perspective. If we were to go forward, it's imperative that we have community support, so we're going to test the waters, alert people to the process and see what kind of support we have."

McKee, a playground equipment salesman, is definitely among the neighbors: He lives in a condo on McKinney Avenue and says he can see the Hard Rock from his window. "I means a lot to me," says McKee, who's 24. He got involved because he "heard so many people talk about wanting it saved, but there was no one doing anything." The meeting on Wednesday is open to the public. --Robert Wilonsky

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