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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes.  The Master Development Agreement requires Catellus to use good-faith efforts to achieve the goal of 30 percent of occupants in the Town Center to be locally owned businesses.

The Mueller redevelopment is approximately 700 acres.

It will take approximately 10 to 20 years to redevelop Mueller, depending upon market conditions.

At least 50 percent of the residential units at Mueller will be for sale.

It is estimated that more than 15,000 trees will be planted within the parks, streetscapes and private properties of the Mueller redevelopment.  In addition, more than 270 trees will be relocated or protected in place during redevelopment.

Approximately 140 acres of land or more than 20 percent of the Mueller redevelopment will be developed with parks and open spaces.

Yes. The developer bears the bulk of the risk in the Master Development Agreement.  Catellus is directly responsible for financing, constructing, and marketing the development, and will be investing a significant amount of equity into the project. 

If the redevelopment does not achieve the prices currently assumed, takes longer to develop, or the infrastructure costs more than currently anticipated, Catellus may not achieve its currently anticipated financial returns and could potentially lose money.

The City of Austin has limited risk in the Master Development Agreement (MDA). 

The City’s financial contributions will be based on tax revenues generated by redevelopment at Mueller, not from existing revenue sources that the City currently uses for other purposes.  There is some risk that the financial projections mentioned above will not be realized; however, this risk reflects a lost opportunity rather than incurred debt.

  • Tax Base Increase – The total value of new buildings at final buildout of the Mueller redevelopment is expected to be approximately $1 billion in today’s dollars, which at current tax rates will generate roughly $4.5 million in annual property tax revenues to the City.
  • Financial Implication – It is currently estimated that the City of Austin will receive approximately $10-15 million in taxes during the first 10 years, and $55-65 million during the first 20 years over and above what is required to pay for the bonds.

Once the infrastructure is complete, an increasing proportion of the taxes generated by the redevelopment will be available for the City’s General Fund. 

  • Employment – The redevelopment will support roughly 13,000 long-term jobs in medical, office and retail industries. 

In addition, the construction of infrastructure and buildings at Mueller is expected to generate approximately 10,000 total “job years.”  This means that during a 10-year build-out period, an average of 1,000 full-time workers would be employed in construction each year.

  • Affordable Housing – Of the approximately 4,600 residential units expected at Mueller, at least 25 percent will be affordable to low-income households, or approximately 1,150 affordable units distributed throughout the community.
  • Education – A new neighborhood school will be part of the redevelopment of the Mueller property.  Discussions have also occurred regarding the development of a proposed Academic Health Center property at Mueller.
  • Healthcare – The development of the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is already underway at Mueller.  Additional medical offices are expected to locate within the property, and the potential for an Academic Health Center property would make Mueller a unique location for healthcare in Central Texas.
  • Transit – Transit is essential to the goal of achieving a compact, pedestrian-oriented community.  The Mueller Master Plan accounts for possible commuter rail service in the future, as well as Rapid Bus and expanded local bus service. 
  • Open Space – The Mueller Master Plan incorporates approximately 140 acres of open space usable by the public, including neighborhood parks, a new lake, sports fields, greenways with hike/bike paths and 15,000 new trees.
  • Pedestrian-Friendly – The streets at Mueller have been designed to provide a network of pedestrian ways throughout the community.
  • Bicycle-Friendly – Mueller will host a comprehensive network of bicycle facilities to extend the existing system of bike lanes adjacent to the property, including those on Wilshire, Manor, East 51st and Berkman streets.  Overall, a total of 13 miles of new bike routes, lanes and paths are planned for the redevelopment.
  • Sustainability – Mueller’s design promotes sustainability at three levels:  Green Community Design, Green Buildings and Green Infrastructure.  The creation of a compact, walkable, transit-oriented development provides an alternative to the automobile-dominant patterns of development. 

The Mueller redevelopment also incorporates principles based on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program and the City’s own Green Building Program.

The park system has been designed to reduce off-site flooding and to treat stormwater before it is released into natural streams, while the street system has been designed to support bicycle and pedestrian circulation.

  • M/WBE – Through a comprehensive outreach effort, Catellus has achieved approximately 25 percent Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise participation at the Mueller redevelopment for the first phase of construction.

Mueller will include a diverse range of housing opportunities, including:

  • Single-family yard houses with front porches and rear garages, some of which could include carriage houses above the garage
  • Attached residential row houses
  • Attached live-work shop houses that provide a workspace at street level
  • Apartments and condominiums – some of which will be in mixed-use buildings with ground-level retail and small businesses

At build-out, there will be an estimated 13,000 jobs at Mueller and a residential population of approximately 13,000 people.

Prices for single-family homes at Mueller have yet to be determined; however, the diverse housing will help ensure that homes will be available in a range of prices, including affordable housing.

A total of up to 4.4 million square feet of commercial development is anticipated at Mueller, including:

  • Approximately 2.5 million square feet of office, institutional and other commercial space
  • Approximately 1.1 million square-feet for the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas (at build-out)
  • Approximately 800,000 square feet of retail
  • Approximately 20 acres for the Austin Film Studios complex

The Mueller redevelopment will have approximately 5,700 residential units, including:

  • Approximately 1,100 single-family detached homes
  • Approximately 1,200 attached row houses, shop houses and Mueller houses (four-to-six-unit buildings)
  • About 3,400 apartments and condominiums

In the Master Development Agreement (MDA), both the City and Catellus have committed to fund the cost of constructing the Mueller Master Plan and each will realize financial gains from the successful redevelopment of Mueller.

At the beginning of the project, Catellus will mostly use its own money to finance early infrastructure construction.  The City will defer its land-sale proceeds and issue debt that is supported by project-generated tax revenues for the first few years of the development, providing “seed money” that can help finance the costly infrastructure improvements. 

Once land sales begin, the proceeds from those sales will be used to repay Catellus’ previous infrastructure investments and future infrastructure costs.  The City may issue more tax-based financing later in the project if the land-sale proceeds are not sufficient to cover the various costs of redevelopment. 

All public financing for Mueller will be repaid out of sales taxes and property taxes generated by development at Mueller.  City General Fund dollars are NOT committed to any expenditures for the Mueller redevelopment costs.

At the end of the redevelopment, after all costs and land-sale proceeds are known, there will be a final accounting, and Catellus will realize its investment returns through the money generated by land sales.  While the City may also share in land-sale proceeds, the City’s primary source of financial gain will be the ongoing property and sales tax revenues generated by the project.

The Master Development Agreement is the agreement between the City and Catellus, which governs the transfer of land, the deconstruction of existing improvements, the construction of infrastructure, sales to third parties and numerous other development obligations and responsibilities.

The Robert Mueller Municipal Airport Plan Implementation Advisory Commission was formed in June 2000.  It has held regular meetings to discuss specific aspects of Mueller’s redevelopment, made recommendations to Council and has acted as the primary vehicle to address neighborhood concerns.

The Commission will continue in its current capacity to make recommendations to Catellus and Council regarding the implementation of, or any changes to, the Master Development Agreement.  To provide a sense of ownership, as residents move into Mueller, members of the Commission will be replaced by these residents of the redevelopment.

Earnings for large-scale land developers such as Catellus are dependent on a number of factors, such as the amount of money they must invest, how long that money will be outstanding, the complexity of the project and how much risk they are taking on in the redevelopment.

Catellus will invest a good deal of money in the Mueller project, particularly in the early years when major infrastructure must be built in advance of revenue-generating development.  And, that money will be at risk for a long period of time. 

Beginning in 2002 and extending through 2008, Catellus is currently projected to have invested approximately $30-35 million of its funds in the Mueller project.  At the end of the development phase, Catellus is currently expected to recoup that initial investment and earn a 15 percent return on that investment.  

This return is consistent with real estate industry standards for projects of this scale, complexity and duration, which range from 15 to 25 percent.

During the redevelopment period (currently estimated to be 10 to 20 years), much of the taxes generated by the Mueller redevelopment will be used to pay off bonds used to finance infrastructure investments. 

It is currently estimated that the City will receive roughly $10-15 million in taxes during the first 10 years, and $55-65 million during the first 20 years over and above what is required to pay for the bonds.

Once the infrastructure is complete, an increasing proportion of the taxes generated by the project will be available for the City’s General Fund.  Current projections suggest that all of the City’s bonds for Mueller could be repaid by 2032.

In addition, as development occurs, the City will receive development and permit fees.  Catellus will not receive any fee waivers and is expected to pay $5 million in City development fees.

The community’s vision for Mueller contains many features that add significant and nonstandard costs to the redevelopment, including affordable housing, extensive open space and parks, bike/pedestrian facilities, street design, alleys and structured parking near the Town Center. 

Due to the lack of infrastructure in place, the cost to demolish existing buildings and runways and the high level of amenities, the City has always known that public financing would be required to fulfill the vision.  No private developer would construct the Mueller Master Plan as envisioned by the community without significant public financial participation. 

The most comparable projects around the country have also required public financing, including the City of Denver’s airport redevelopment (Stapleton).

Yes.  Mueller will include a new 10-acre neighborhood school.