AUSTIN (KXAN) – Some businesses along I-35 are scrambling to figure out next steps after finding out they have to relocate because of TxDOT’s plans to expand I-35 through Central Austin.
Deadline fast approaching
One of those businesses, The Glass Coffin: Vampire Parlour, told KXAN they have just over a month to pack up and move.
The clock is ticking for the owner, Joey Slayne. He created the business six and a half years ago.
But now, during his busiest time of year, Slayne has to figure out where he’s moving in just five weeks.
“Holiday season – October, November, December – that’s when we get most of our clients,” Slayne said. “Pack this stuff up and move to a different location is bad timing really.”
He said in August, he received a 90-day notice from TxDOT saying he needed to be out by November 15.
“They’re putting a lot of like rules and regulations. If we’re going to find a new, another place, they have to approve that place,” Slayne said.
Now, he said he is not able to grow his business because of this expansion.
“My whole idea or plan was to, you know, be a bit of a, like a franchise,” Slayne said. “Unfortunately, that’s not the case, because we’re being forced to close down now. So I don’t know what I’m doing.”
59 displaced commercial properties
Slayne isn’t alone. TxDOT officials said there will be 59 commercial properties displaced.
Stars Cafe is another one. Meredith Stickler just started working there a month ago.
“It’s been here since 1966. It has a ton of history,” Stickler said. “It’s disheartening. We know that change is the only thing that’s inevitable. However, it’s bittersweet to see things that have a legacy go.”
The cafe’s management told KXAN if they can afford a new lease within the area, they will try to relocate. But, so far they said leases are three to five times more than what they’re currently paying.
“We have been diligently looking for leases to see what range we can afford,” the management said. “Leasing right now is just so expensive so we do not know what will happen once we are eventually forced out.”
The expansion also impacts Meredith in more ways than one.
“I myself – I’m staying next door. So if I don’t have a job, and I also don’t have a motel, I will have to figure out something different,” Meredith said.
Yet, with a lot of things up in the air, she is optimistic about the future.
“I believe that if you can stay clear headed and treat others well, opportunities just come up all the time,” Meredith said.
TxDOT said timeframes for vacating properties vary depending on factors like construction timeline and property location.
Still, even with an uncertain future, Slayne remains dedicated to keeping his business alive.
“This is my livelihood. This is my passion. This is what I do to survive, you know, so I’m not about to give up,” he said.
Slayne said it’s also been difficult for him to find a new location as well because rent is so expensive.
He’s hosting a Halloween Market this Saturday between 2pm to 8pm to help raise money towards getting a new place.