Store owner frustrated after I-35E expansion moves business for 2nd time

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on October 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 26 at 4:56 PM

LAKE DALLAS -- After more than 20 years of planning and prepping, construction on the Interstate-35E expansion project will begin Monday.

The $4.8 billion project will be constructed in phases, rebuilding the entire 28-mile corridor stretching south from Denton to LBJ Freeway in Farmers Branch.

“You can get on 35E at any time and experience a lot of congestion,” said Kimberly Sims, a spokesperson for the project.

While it’s a dream-come-true for a lot of people from North Texas who despise the congestion, it's turned into a nightmare for one store owner.

Jasper Quintana of Lake Dallas opened up a Mexican pottery shop, called LD Décor, several years ago.

He received a letter from TxDOT notifying him that his building would be bought out to make room for the I-35E expansion. So he says he got out of his lease in Lake Dallas in February and packed up to find another location.

Quintana told News 8 that TxDOT paid to help him move and store his merchandise; a cost with a price tag of $80,000.

Four months later, he found another location about a six-tenths of a mile down the road, bordering the Stemmons Freeway.

Quintana said he learned early last week his current building would also be affected by the expansion.

“It’s really really frustrating to go through it the first time, and really depressing to go through it a second time,” Quintana said.

He said a project rep came to his shop and said roughly 15-to-20 feet of the frontage road in front of his store would be “acquired” for the project. That takes away part of his parking lot.

“If they block access to it, nobody can use it!” Quintana said.

TxDOT could not speak specifically to Quintana’s dilemma, but is aware of it. Sims said TxDOT is currently in negotiations with more than 100 property owners in Phase 1 to purchase land.

“We’re still in negotiation, and I can’t speak to his situation,” she said.

Quintana said he gave TxDOT his new address, a condition to him receiving money for moving costs. Quintana even said a rep came into his store.

“They came in and inspected the building to make sure it was going to be a store front," Quintana said. "You would think they would mention this was going on."

A couple spaces over from LD Décor, Rick Larkey got a letter to relocate his shop, Quality Surplus. He said it’s the price for having I-35E practically be your store-front.

“I’m not saying he shouldn’t have know,n but on the highway you know things are coming,” Larkey said.

Quintana said he hasn’t received any word about when he needs to move out of his current building.

Construction for the I-35E expansion project will begin on Monday. A spokesperson for the project says drivers should see little-to-no impact to traffic because contractors are doing a lot of “prep work.”

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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