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Broken Spoke owner not worried, despite impending development

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TWC News: Broken Spoke owner not worried, despite impending development
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A South Austin landmark is going to be getting some new neighbors.

Over its 47-year history, the Broken Spoke on South Lamar Boulevard has distinguished it's self as Austin's, if not Texas', top country dance hall.

"When you go inside the Broken Spoke, you know you're not in Carnegie Hall, you're at a real Texas honkey tonk," owner James White said.

When White first opened the doors in 1964, the bar and dance hall wasn’t technically within the city limits, but that didn’t stop the club from bringing in some of the biggest names in country music.

"They call it the 78704,” White said. “When I grew up there wasn't no zip codes, we just said we were from South Austin and darn sure proud of it."

Now, that zip code equals prime real estate.

Plans are in place to build a mixed-use development, including hundreds of apartments, offices and retail space surrounding the Broken Spoke.

White says while there will be development to the north and to the south, everything in the middle will stay the same.

"You figure about 450 people so, hopefully they'll like country music, chicken fried steak and drinking cold beer and they'll come out to see us,” White said. “That's the best of two worlds."

White says he's not worried that, at least on the surface, those two worlds don't mix. He points to another Texas shrine as an example.

"You go to the Alamo and you get up alongside the Alamo, it's still the Alamo even though you've got big buildings all around it," White said. "I don't really like to change a lot of stuff."

According to the Austin Business Journal, the $60 million project will have nearly 400 apartments and 20,000 square-feet of retail space.

Construction on 704 at the Spoke, what the project is currently known as, should begin this summer.

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