Why Mueller is flying high a decade into its development

Oct 23, 2014
Austin Business Journal

New residents to Austin might not even realize that one of the fastest growing areas in the metro area is the master-planned Mueller neighborhood a stone's throw from downtown. The 700-acre community is rapidly evolving on the former site of the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport near I-35 and Airport Boulevard

Though the initial development began a decade ago, the community is now in the midst of intense building activity

New home communities are breaking ground, additional roads are being punched out to major arterial thoroughfares, new retail is debuting, the Austin Independent School District's stunning new performing arts center is nearly complete, another large apartment complex is under construction and the highly anticipated Aldrich Street mixed-used urban center is in the planning stages

Dell Children's Medical Center is a prominent presence along with other health care-related uses such as Seton Healthcare Family headquarters and research facilities affiliated with the University of Texas. The Austin Film Studios is expanding its activities there and Rathgeber Village — home to Austin Children's Shelter and other non-profits — provides more depth to the overall community

Some 140 acres is set aside for parks and open space. And, in the midst of it all, a cultural draw has emerged as a popular destination

"It's been amazing what The Thinkery has done for Mueller," said Greg Weaver, the senior vice president of Catellus Development Corp., the master developer

The Thinkery is the new version of the Austin Children's Museum, which left its original location downtown last December for a bold red cube in a prominent location at Mueller. The amenity has drawn thousands of people to Mueller who never visited the community before

But they're also discovering that Mueller is changing rapidly — the expansive retail offerings, including a regional retail center along with more boutique offerings. HEB Grocery Co. opened one of its largest and finely designed stores at Mueller. Torchy's Tacos will open one of its most spacious restaurants in November with an expansive outdoor patio and full bar. It will be the first restaurant in Mueller to feature the full spectrum of alcoholic spirits

Yet even with all of development over the past decade and current construction activity, Mueller still is only about 40 percent built out. The next major push will be the development of Aldrich Street in the heart of the community — a dense mixed-use area that will be retail rich and emulate the ambiance of the Second Street District downtown

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