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AUSTIN EDITION HRA gives right of first refusal to three flood-damaged businesses

By Roxana Orellana

rorellana@postbulletin.com

Three businesses in the flood plain can have the first say on land in northeast Austin.

The Housing and Redevelopment Authority gave purchase options to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Lakeside Properties and B &; J Bar for the Milwaukee Roundhouse Addition, a vacant 9-acre parcel owned by the city.

The options last until June.

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Structural damage to each business is at least half of the total market value of the property. Each business has been flooded at least two other times.

The city is targeting several businesses that have reached the 50 percent mark or are close to it. The HRA applied for a federal grant of more than $1 million to use to help those businesses move.

Until the city finds out whether it received the grant, it's hard to negotiate any type of purchase or relocation cost, said Craig Hoium, community development director. Word on the grant won't come until the end of March.

In total, the three businesses would use about 53,000 square feet of building area in the roundhouse addition.

Jim Baldus, owner of Jim's SuperValu and Lakeside Properties, is looking to create a retail center just north of his store on 11th Street Northeast in the railroad property.

SuperValu would use 17,000 square feet in the middle of the strip mall; there would be 5,000 square feet on one end for a bank and 10,000 square feet for a retail store on the north end. The rest of the center would be five spaces of about 1,200 square feet each, available to lease.

B &; J Bar would be at the north end, next to the retail store space. The bar would have 2,500 square feet. The Eagles, required to have its own building, would be kitty corner from B &; J.

"The whole development is of a conceptual nature, and it could change as we go along," Hoium said.

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Baldus said he has talked to other businesses that might be interested in leasing space in the retail center.

Baldus, B &; J Bar owner Patti Ball, and members of the Eagles were at Monday's meeting.

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