Construction on Fondren hurting businesses

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Fondren Road is undergoing major improvements from widening to improved drainage.

Fondren Road is undergoing major improvements from widening to improved drainage. The Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone is including new sidewalks and other amenities as part of the huge project it's overseeing.

It's progress, but at the corner of Fondren and Harwin, two gas station managers say their businesses are paying part of the price.

For more than 30 years Hamid Makvandi, known as 'Mac' to his customers, has seen the area grow from a suburban community to an urban area inside the Beltway. He doesn't argue that the roads needed improvement.

As part of that construction, he says his business has lost a lot of income.

"About $500 a day, everyday," he told us. "Our survival is based on selling gas and people coming in for service."

It's hard on those who work at the businesses. Reduced income has meant going from full-time to part-time for employees. "

Some of them are using their credit cards to pay for rent," he said.

Across the street at a Conoco store, it's a similar story from that manager. Part of the project is to better control flooding that would plague the area during heavy rains. For Jose Mathew, there is irony to be found in his current predicament.

"Floods come through and then leave. We've been dealing with this construction for weeks," he said.

A TIRZ representative told us city regulation require an 800-foot section of the project to be completed at a time. Eventually, the project at Harwin and Fondren will move on down the road to the north. When it does, the businesses at the intersection hope their customers, who they say have been driving alternate routes, will return.

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