South Congress businesses moving to make way for development

For Lizelle Villapando, co-owner of the South Congress boutique Parts & Labour, seeing hot pink surveying spray paint on the sidewalk is a sign the "end is near." 
               
The unique shop filled with homegrown Austin goods has been on South Congress since 2004...at their current spot since '08.

"It is a small local shop but it's really...you know...somebody is making this who lives in town, she's cutting the fabric, making the entire thing," Villapando said.

But again, as Villapando puts it, "The end is near."  At least when it comes to Parts and Labour inhabiting that building.  This summer she got word the boutique couldn't stay beyond their current lease that ends in January.

"I was living with it for awhile before I announced it to my crew and I think that's where I processed the shock and the up and down of it all and we were really fighting to stay but we were forced to cease doing that because we didn't have the money to continue.

According to the City of Austin's Planning Department, a developer has submitted the paperwork for a mixed-use office retail development called "Music Lane" on the one and a half acre site, affecting the properties starting at Docs Motorworks on down to the House of  Wax.

"The word[s] "being forced out" is not far from the truth.  I mean when you have no choice, you have no choice," Villapando said.

Villapando isn't giving up.  She's looking at moving Parts and Labour to another property nearby.  But it's not easy.  They recently had a fundraiser and are still fundraising on their website.

"I need to keep my employees on payroll even though they won't have work for a month and I really want to keep them," she said.

Docs Motorworks next door is having a final happy hour on December 23rd before it says goodbye to South Congress. 
               
Villapando has a little bit longer: January 31st. 
               
She says she's already dealt with the shock of being told to pick up and move.  Now it's time to keep going until closing time.

"The stress is just an ongoing thing that you live with.  I think I quit wishing to get rid of it and now manage it..just keep working, keep doing the thing, keep doggy-paddling to the deadline," Villapando said.

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