Popular area for UT students seeing a lot of changes

An area frequented often by UT students is seeing a lot of changes. UT reporter Liliana Llamas has more on why a large number of small business owners are closing their doors on Guadalupe.

After almost four decades Manju's owner Kavita Sajnani will close her doors this March.

"We have been on campus for 37 and a half years," Sajnani says, "We found out in early December that Urban Outfitters had taken over the whole thing. It was sad that, you know, some big corporation can just come and take over all."

Sajnani says she knew something was happening when her landlord would not renew her lease but moving out was not what she expected.

"We really didn't think what was happening. We always thought we would have a chance to be here as a part of whatever this renovation is," Sajnani says.

In the last two years at least 18 businesses have closed down on the Guadalupe strip from MLK to 30th Street.

Retail Solutions President David Simmonds studies real estate and market value and says he doesn't find this surprising.

Simmonds says, "These corporations can afford it, will pay those prices, so it just drives the market up."

It all leaves little room for small business owners.

"Because the prices are so high, it squeezes out the mom-and-pop, the ‘Keep Austin Weird' tenants," Simmonds says.

Sajnani adds, "Small stores like this which have been in the part of the drag for so long, they have to go just because of them."

Simmonds says limited parking and targeting UT students also play into who succeeds and who doesn't. But for Sajnani feels that wasn't the case.

"A lot of people could not make it here, but I mean, I did for so long. Hopefully we will be back some day," Sajnani says.

Urban Outfitters bought out the leases of five stores, including Mellow Mushroom and Manju's.

Chase Bank is the only retail space whose lease was not affected.

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