More cranes on the horizon: New buildings to go up near Mueller control tower


AUSTIN (KXAN) — More buildings will start going up in Mueller soon.

In a press release Thursday, Ryan Companies US, Inc., announced it will build a “350-unit, mixed-use, multifamily community in the Mueller redevelopment,” next to the former airport’s control tower in east Austin.

The project is expected to break ground by Q4 2021, which begins in October.

The company said 15% of units will be reserved for Mueller’s Affordable Homes Program for families earning up to 60% of the Austin area’s median family income.

The project will also include two mid-rise buildings of three to five stories. A tree-lined public path between buildings will connect the control tower and a plaza to John Gaines Park.

According to the release, the development will also include about 2,500 square feet of retail space next to a new public plaza at the corner of Berkman Drive and McCurdy Street.

Catellus Development, the master developer of Mueller, is expected to hold a public information session in the next few weeks to share more details about the plaza.

The release indicates there are already nearly 10,000 people living in the Mueller community.

Mueller, which sits on the 700-acre site of Austin’s former airport, is a joint project between the City of Austin Economic Development Department and Catellus Development.

According to the most recent press release, once the Mueller development is complete, it will have at least 6,200 single-family and multifamily homes, including more than 1,500 affordable homes.

It will also include 4.5 million square feet of commercial space, 140 acres of public parks and open space and house Dell Children’s Medical Center, the Austin Film Studios, The Thinkery Children’s Museum, H-E-B and the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.

Affordability in the Mueller neighborhood

The Austin Board of Realtors said the median sales price in the metro area jumped nearly 30% between March 2020 and March 2021.

Realtor Paul Smith said in the Mueller development, it’s up 42%.

“The Mueller development specifically is outpacing Austin,” said Smith, owner of Twelve Rivers Realty.

Even with the new project by the Ryan Company, Smith said it won’t do much to alleviate the demand, especially for affordable housing.

“I think it’s very tough, because people are people are wanting to purchase a home because the fear that if they wait a year, the homes are going to be out of their price point,” he said.

It’s a tough spot James Walker finds himself in.

“Trying to take advantage of the fact that we can sell our house for a lot and maybe get into another neighborhood before we get priced out forever,” said Walker, who currently lives in University Hills nearby.

Walker has just entered parenthood and is now also entering the real estate market.

“With a newborn… looking at school districts, looking at just, general space,” he said.

He’s eyeing the Mueller neighborhood.

“It’s got a little bit of everything you need with nice new builds, walkability and the neighborhood is quite lovely,” Walker said.

But he said not only are they pricey — those new homes get snatched up quick. Smith said it’s a popular area.

“Offers a lot of kind of outdoor features, specifically during COVID and the pandemic, people wanted to have the ability to get out of the house more,” Smith said.

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