AUSTIN (KXAN) - Augustin Mirelez has been renting and selling furniture and appliances at Partners Sales and Leasing along East Riverside for 14 years.
The general manager says the future looks grim.
"We're just solely here on a day to day basis," said Mirelez.
He said new construction is pushing old businesses out, and it is only a matter of time before the strip center where Partners is located will be torn down.
"I just wish things would be left the same," said Mirelez. "It would be a whole lot easier."
But that is not likely. The city of Austin is forging ahead on a plan approved last year to transform East Riverside into a more inviting place for pedestrians, bikes, bus riders and urban rail.
"A lot of it was built in the 1960s," said Erica Leak with the City of Austin's Planning and Development Deparment. "It was really just designed more for automobiles than for people."
The city's master plan for the 3.5 mile stretch between I-35 and Highway 71 includes more than road improvements. Leak believes new proposed building codes will lead to less cars on the road.
Regulations drafted by city staff ban parking lots in front of buildings, require wider sidewalks and call for buildings to be closer to the sidewalks so those walking by would be more likely to go in.
"They'll also be more likely to go into one business and walk to the next one instead of getting back in their car to drive down the way to get to another business," said Leak.
Mirelez does not see his business fitting into the future picture, and estimates his strip center will be torn down in the next two years.
"It's going to drive the price of real estate up for a business like us, it's not going to succeed," said Mirelez.
The city of Austin held an open house on Thursday night. It was the public's first chance to weigh in on the proposed building codes which would only apply to new construction.
"The Riverside corridor is just a beautiful corridor - some of the best views of Austin. A lot of people come that way from the airport and I think it just needs to be cleaned up," said Kelvin Glover, who lives on the east side.
Some residents have the same concerns as Mirelez.
"The cost of living would [probably] go up, because I know whenever they try to improve areas, their taxes go up," said Roberta Herrera.
The draft corridor regulations and proposals are available for the public to look at for two months. After that, there will be city council and planning commission hearings. Then it could go up for a vote by council some time early next year.
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Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
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