Construction On 14th Street Frustrates Business Owners

(Photo by WUFT News/Jessica Korina)

The recent construction on University Avenue and 14th Street is frustrating business owners as their revenues sink due to the decrease in parking spots in the area.

Burrito Brothers, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year, is struggling to find business after all of its parking spots were eliminated due to the construction for The Standard at Gainesville.

“I’m a 40-year-old restaurant that has been strangled by the construction project,” said Burrito Brothers owner Randy Akerson. “In particular, I’m being seriously terribly impacted by the fact that the city has simply eliminated every single parking space that was available, every one of them.”

Dave Scott speaks about his frustration with the construction, however he knows it will benefit him in the long run. (Photo by Jessica Korina)
Dave Scott speaks about his frustration with the construction, however he knows it will benefit him in the long run. (Photo by Jessica Korina)

Akerson runs into customers in other places and they tell him they tried to go to Burrito Brothers, but couldn’t get anywhere close, he said.

His revenues have gone down by 25 percent since last year, he said. This decrease has a lot to do with 14th Street being closed.

Dough Religion Pizza and Oozoo Bar, a newer business on University Avenue and 14th Street, is also struggling with the construction in the area.

It is difficult to compare exactly how the road closure has affected the business because it has only been open for a few months, said manager Dave Scott.

However, the sales do not come close to what they were during the spring semester, he said.

“We have a great relationship with The Standard, both on a professional and on a personal level. They are great people, the owners of the company are fantastic,” Scott said. “We understand what they are doing. We understand the project. We’ve been on the other side.”

The Standard spoke with the businesses in May to tell them about the construction, telling them it will take place during the summer. However, construction started a week before football season, a prime time for restaurant owners in the area.

“That’s the most frustrating part, but we understand its construction,” Scott said.

The Standard was not available for an interview, but stated in an email that they regret the impact it’s had on other businesses.

“We regret any impact on Burrito Brothers and other local businesses as we conduct required street and infrastructure improvements as a part of building The Standard,”  Landmark Properties spokesman Brian Brodrick said. “Our contractors are working as quickly as possible to complete the work.  We expect that Burrito Brothers and all nearby businesses will benefit tremendously from the addition of hundreds of students and additional retailers nearby.”

About Jessica Korina

Jessica is a reporter for WUFT News. She can be reached at news@wuft.org or 352-392-6397.

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