Restaurant owner sues city over construction delays

(AP Photo/John Hanna)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Construction in Austin is seemingly on every corner, but for one restaurant owner, fed up is an understatement.

“I spent years building up these businesses that were effectively wiped away,” said Michael Girard, president of the entity that owns Ten Oak, Speakeasy and Imperia.

Girard says he’s been through hard times, but nothing like the Colorado Street Project. “They literally could not get to my front door some days. Most days at best it was difficult to get to my front door.”

Now he’s suing the City of Austin. He claims he lost $2,100,961 during the construction. He cites problems like access signs being continually down, and sidewalk access not being provided.

“Frustration is, this is the Warehouse District, it’s been around for 15 years,” said Girard. “There was no effort put forth by the city to mitigate the impact of this construction on these business owners. Most of these businesses down here are local. Local small business owners.”

According to the lawsuit, every single business in the corridor has lost massive amounts of money. It also claims that once vibrant businesses were forced to close due the construction’s impact.

The city told KXAN in a statement that it has not yet been served.

“The City has yet to be served with the lawsuit but is aware of the allegations. We are prepared to defend the City once presented with the lawsuit.”

According to the City of Austin, the anticipated completion date was March 23, 2013 and actual completion date was Nov. 20, 2013.

The project also went over budget:

  • Original budgeted cost:  $5,766.645.20
  • Current/actual cost:  $5,828,199.41 (less retainage)
  • Projected final cost:  $6,168,472.62

Girard says he’s lucky his businesses survived and he has a recommendation for business owners in his position. “My advice would be to sell your business before they start this construction.”

Girard says business has picked up since the project ended, but that it is still slower than before. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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