The Austin Chronicle

Splash Inc. Finds a New Place to Party

By Tony Cantú, March 13, 2015, 1:32pm, Newsdesk

In the cast of characters that make up the Jumpolin saga, at least one player has achieved a happy ending.

New York City-based party planner Splash Inc. – which had scheduled a SXSW-timed party at the site of demolished piñata store Jumpolin before succumbing to community pressure and abandoning those plans – has found an alternative shindig locale at 310 E. 3rd St. in Downtown Austin (scheduled to take place tomorrow, March 14). Jumpolin had been an Eastside fixture, offering piñatas and other party favors to a predominantly Hispanic clientele. But shortly after buying the property, F&F Real Estate Ventures commissioned a wrecking crew to pulverize the place and ready it as a party site during this year’s SXSW. Business partners Jordan French and Darius Fisher (the two Fs of F&F Ventures) then lured fellow Vanderbilt University grad, Splash Inc. CEO Benjamin Hindman, to stage a party at the freshly bulldozed site. Following community outcry over the demolition – undertaken without notice, Jumpolin’s owners contend – Hindman pulled out while conveying to community advocates he had no prior knowledge of F&F Ventures’ machinations.

Splash Inc.’s alternative site is described on LoopNet – an online commercial real estate marketplace – as a 3,680-square-foot shell of a building easily configured for myriad uses. The former warehouse space is across the street from the Austin Convention Center within walking distance of several Downtown hotels. “Indeed. We were able to find a new location – and we made sure that it was not in a residential zone!” Hindman told the Chronicle via email. “Once we did, the city was incredibly helpful with the relocation process.”

Also taking place tomorrow, at noon, is a protest at the former Jumpolin site, intended to show the "values of exploitation and disregard for the community are not welcome here," according to the Facebook event page.

Meanwhile, Sergio and Monica Lejarazu, the husband-and-wife entrepreneurs who operated Jumpolin, were forced to start over from temporary quarters at 4926 E. Cesar Chavez – two miles east of their neighborhood base of eight years – where they're painstakingly rebuilding after losing their piñata inventory to the wrecking ball. Like Hindman, they, too, hope to be made whole, securing the services of attorney Doran Peters for a scheduled July trial seeking damages. From the rubble, the couple hopes maybe they, too, might reach their own happy ending.

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