Businesses concerned about Convention Center expansion

The Austin City Council hopes to expand the convention center to keep up with the city's rapid growth.

But, that's not sitting well with some business owners. Some feel: they're being kept out of the loop about the city's plans.

Along with Austin's rapid growth come the growing pains. With the city getting more possibilities for trade shows and attractions, the expansion of the convention center was inevitable. The proposal has nearby business owners like Jason White concerned.

"It's made a lot of people very nervous to include our staff, our investors, myself to a degree. We have confidence the city will work with us," White said.

The council is expected to vote on the more than $400 million proposal. Their options are to expand east across Red River Street, west across Trinity Street, southward across Cesar Chavez Street, or simply do nothing at all.

"We did not realize the city had plans to demolish our entire block to include two blocks north of us," White said.

The owner of next door-neighbor Gus's Fried Chicken did not want to go on camera, but shares sentiments with Brass House. White says expanding the convention center is fine, but he wanted to do some expanding of his own.

"I had plans on expanding our current location to include a rooftop patio and event space. With these new plans the city's put out it's put everything on hold," White said.

At this point business owners are just asking for some more communication directly to them, and not only property owners.

"It would be great to know the long term plan for businesses that are housed on the property that they plan to take over,” he said.

Although White is not against expansion, he just wants, like many other entrepreneurs, to know his business will be okay.

"It would be great to have some information, some type of public official inviting the business owners to discuss the possible proposals,” he said.

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