After months of assuming their businesses would be demolished due to the Texas Department of Transportation's I-35 widening plan, the Topiwala family—who own Travis Heights Wine and Spirits as well as the Whip In building—met with TxDOT in January to discuss the possibility of preserving the building.

If spared, the project would still greatly impact both businesses as it would cut through the parking lot, replace the signage and remove one of the two entrances to the shop, said Rohit Topiwala, owner of Travis Heights Wine and Spirits. Beyond the cosmetic changes, Rohit wonders if people will even want to patronize Travis Heights Wine and Spirits or Whip In amid construction.

“I want to stay [here], but if it will cut my revenue in half, what’s the point in staying?” he said.

Rohit is now faced with the decision of whether to stay or relocate, both of which he said will be detrimental to his business.

“All I do know is if I lose my building and I have to go somewhere else, then the years of goodwill [I] earned from the community after being there 20 years is going to disappear,” Rohit said.

Many businesses impacted by the expansion, including Stars Cafe at 3101 N. I-35 Frontage Road and Jimmy’s Barber Shop at 2000 S. I-35 Frontage Road, Ste. A, Austin, are also facing uncertainty with the fate of their business as the widening project looms.

TxDOT will offer property acquisition funds and relocation assistance for businesses that choose to find another location; however, a specific amount has not been determined. Business owners affected by the plan will find out more details after the project is environmentally cleared in the fall, according to TxDOT officials.