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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. On August 18, 2010, Fitch Ratings assigned a AAA rating for the City of Austin’s $145.0 million of general obligation bonds issued in 2010. Fitch Ratings conferred a stable outlook for the City of Austin and commented that the Austin economy continues to do well during the economic downturn. Specifically, Fitch Ratings stated, “In addition, Austin continues to attract new businesses, aided by the use of economic development incentives provided by the city and state; new businesses include Facebook (200 jobs); the Hanger Orthopedic Group (130 jobs); and LegalZoom.com (600+ jobs). Although city unemployment rates have risen, they remain well below state and national averages.” Each of these new business recruitments noted by Fitch Ratings were the direct result of the economic development programs led by ED.

The American Public Power Association (APPA) is the service organization for the nation's 2,000 community-owned electric utilities. Since 2004, the APPA has held annual conferences focused on economic development for its member utilities because the APPA recognizes the inherent need for electric utilities to maintain an economic development program. APPA 2004 Report - "Straight Answers to False Charges Against Public Power" cited the following: "Public power utilities provide benefits to the citizens of their communities through lower rates, responsive service, payments in lieu of taxes, economic development and other programs that benefit the community" "In establishing a public power utility, the city could have greater flexibility to offer incentives to large businesses that could promote the expansion of business and attract new business, while still protecting residential and commercial customers." APPA 2004 Report - "Q&A for Communities Considering the Public Power Option" cited the following: "A public power utility can be extremely valuable in achieving the community's goals to broaden its tax base, offset the need for increased local taxes, and improve the local economy and jobs situation. A public utility's lower rates allow consumers to spend more money on other goods and services. Public power can retain local businesses and attract new ones which helps maintain and create jobs for local residents." "And public power systems are often an integral part of efforts such as downtown renovation, business development and industrial parks and other public works projects in their communities."
For Austin Energy, new business recruited and large redevelopment projects resulted in 1.67 billion kilowatt hours of electricity sold for 2009, which translates to $44.9 million in annual electric utility revenue. Plus, the City's 10 largest arts facilities, which receive arts funding through hotel occupancy tax, produced a combined $136,236 in revenue to Austin Energy for 2009.

The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service’s EB-5 program allows individuals and their families to become eligible for green cards if they make a minimum investment in Austin that creates at least 10 jobs. For more information, visit the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services website.

The City of Austin's Economic Development Specialist at (512)-974-7833 or The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President of Global Corporate Recruitment at (512) 322-5626.

The Austin U.S. Export Assistance Center is part of the U.S. Commercial Service, a federal agency with an extensive network of trade specialists located in the U.S. and throughout the world. The U.S. Commercial Service is devoted to assisting U.S. companies expand their international business presence. Contact the center at (512) 916-5939.

There are many important factors to consider before your company begins importing/exporting. For a consultation, please contact the Acting International Economic Development Manager at (512) 974-7833. You can also attend one of our Export University Education Series courses on importing or exporting.

The Trade and Investment Program has established business connections on several continents. Contact the International Economic Development Manager at 512-974-6416 for assistance. The program also periodically hosts information sessions about how to do business in certain countries or world regions. Also, local members of our Sister Cities committees may have personal experience, cultural expertise and business contacts for you to consider. Contact the Sister Cities/International Program Coordinator at 512-974-6418 for specific information on Sister Cities committees and their upcoming meeting dates.

The International Economic Development Program frequently organizes events which enable local business people to interact with visiting trade delegations or global business experts. These events are announced through our newsletter, which you can sign up for here. Also, Austin’s various chambers of commerce offer monthly opportunities for business networking.

Art Tour Registration

A residential property may not

  • participate in a tour more than 12 days per calendar year
  • participate in more than 3 tours per calendar year
  • participate in a tour more than 3 days per week

Please consult the ordinance under § 25-2-901 (C) for more information.

The Cultural Arts Division will store the data and share it with the Austin Code Department as requested. Austin Code is in charge of enforcement of the ordinance, not the Cultural Arts Division.

No, it is the responsibility of the tour organizer to register. The artist will need to coordinate with the tour organizer or residential owner, if applicable, to be listed on the registration.

According to the ordinance, tours in which multiple residential properties are opened to members of the public for the appreciation and study of its art/architecture and the production and incidental sale of artwork by an individual responsible for making or producing the artwork must register with the Cultural Arts Division.

No, there is no fee for registration.

The registration form must be submitted no later than 4 weeks before the first day of the tour. 

Road closures, food sales, alcoholic beverages, amplified music, and the building of temporary structures are also regulated by the City and may need additional approval or permitting. For more information on permit requirements and the permitting process, please contact the City of Austin’s Special Events Office.

Only residential properties (i.e. an artist’s home studio) must be registered. Commercial Studios, galleries, or other spaces with a current certificate of occupancy and site plan for public use do not need to be registered. Find the Amnesty Certificate of Occupancy Application here.

For questions about zoning or to obtain zoning verification of a property, contact the Planning and Development Review Department, Development Assistance Center, at 512-978-4000.

For questions about a Certificate of Occupancy, contact the Planning and Development Review Department, Building Inspections, at 512- 978-4000.

The Planning and Development Review Department is located at 505 Barton Springs Road.

Cultural Asset Mapping Project

A cultural asset is something that has value because of its contribution to a community’s creativity, knowledge, traditions, culture, meaning, and vitality. They can be the places you visit to express your cultural identity, and/or the resources one uses to pursue a creative practice. They can be tangible assets such as cultural facilities, specific buildings, or physical works of art. They can even intangible and temporal things such as annual events, shared cultural stories, or cultural landmarks and icons that no longer exist.

Cultural Asset Mapping is a collaborative process to identify and collect information about a community’s cultural resources (places, facilities, events, organizations etc.). This particular kind of mapping has emerged as an important planning and economic development tool to help cities better understand the value and impact of their cultural assets, and to help integrate them in a city’s plans for economic and community development. Cultural Asset Mapping is often a tailor-made process that fits each city’s unique needs, but commonly includes a mapping exercise that asks community members and stakeholders to define, identify, and map their own cultural assets.

Yes! We want to hear directly from YOU about where your culture and creativity lives. CAMP offers a number of ways to get involved and share you input on what you consider to be Austin’s cultural assets.

  • Attend a district meeting to take part in our mapping exercise and discussion
  • Submit new points online through our survey on the CAMP site
  • Request a DIY CAMP Kit to conduct a community mapping session on your own (A limited number of CAMP Kits are available. Contact us to reserve yours.)
  • Attend a CAMP conversation to discuss and review the maps created

Dates, times, and locations for district meetings and CAMP conversations will be posted on the CAMP website. For the latest news on CAMP events, visit our website or sign up for the CAMP email list.

We would like to thank the people and organizations that provided us with our initial data for our maps. The information in the databases we have collected to date is helping to provide baseline information to begin work on CAMP, but we need your help to identify what is missing, incorrect, or what could be identified as a new cultural asset. The list below includes our sources for our initial dataset before collecting community responses:

  • The Social Impact of the Arts (SIAP) at the University of Pennsylvania (Mark Stern and Susan Seifert). This was our largest dataset that included nonprofit arts organizations and creative businesses. The dataset for nonprofits came from the IRS Master File of Exempt Organizations 2014, and the dataset for the for-profit businesses came from a proprietary business database called referenceUSA (refUSA), July 2014.  In 2017 we hope to work with SIAP to test their Arts and Social Wellbeing Indicators here in Austin.
  • Americans for the Arts Creative Industries Reports
  • NowPlayingAustin.com and the Austin Creative Alliance
  • East and West Austin Studio Tours (Big Medium)
  • The Cultural Arts Division Cultural Funding Program

The project is funded by two national grants – The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is supporting the development and production of the final maps, focus groups, a status report, and a short list of cultural economic development strategies per council district. ArtPlace America is funding the initial district maps and the 10 district-wide community meetings as part of the “Drawing Lines” project.

The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department Cultural Arts Division is implementing CAMP, The Cultural Asset Mapping Project in the summer and fall of 2016. CAMP will include a series of collaborative mapping exercises in each council district, an online survey and interactive map, and a series of focus groups and conversations to create a comprehensive, community-developed listing and map of Austin’s cultural assets.

CAMP will produce a series of cultural asset maps for each Council District, a cultural economic status report, and a short list of cultural economic development strategies (3-5) keyed to each district. These maps and strategies created through CAMP will also assist the integration of creative sector development into other City planning and economic development initiatives such as creative space and cultural district development. The complete listing of cultural assets collected through CAMP will also be made publicly available on the City of Austin’s Open Data Portal for public use.

CAMP is a project of the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department. The Economic Development Department develops and leads the innovative programs that increase the prosperity of Austin’s citizens, our businesses, and our diverse neighborhoods through its five divisions: Cultural Arts, Global Business, Music & Entertainment, Redevelopment, and Small Business. The Cultural Arts Division executes programs and initiatives that strengthen all art forms & cultures, and facilitates the integration of arts in economic development, tourism, community development, and commercial and neighborhood revitalization strategies.

Creativity and culture are integral to Austin’s vitality, economy, and quality of life. In order to better plan for Austin’s culture and creativity, it is important to first understand where cultural and creative resources exist throughout the city and where there are gaps. The maps created through CAMP are a first step in taking stock of Austin’s cultural assets in an effort to ensure the arts and creative sector continue to be a significant player in Austin’s ongoing development. The information collected through CAMP will help the city better understand where important cultural and creative resources exist throughout the city, where there are gaps, and where to focus possible future efforts on cultural district planning, creative facilities development, and future cultural and economic development strategies that support Austin’s culture and creativity.

CAMP is happening within the larger context of the new 10-1 Council Districts, Imagine Austin and Creative Economy Priority Program implementation, CodeNext - the Land Development Code Revision, Capital Improvement Project Strategic Planning, Music and Creative Ecosystem Omnibus initiatives, and implementation of other cultural economic strategies by the City of Austin, the Austin creative sector, and the larger Austin community.

Yes. The City will hold one public meeting in each of the 10 Council Districts. We look forward to your participation. Please visit our website to view the District-wide meeting dates. If you are unable to attend your District-wide community meeting and would like to host a small “mapping” gathering with friends and/or colleagues please contact us for your “CAMP Mapping Kit” that includes materials, host, and participant instructions. (If you are interested, reserve yours now! We will have a limited number of CAMP Mapping Kits.)

Cultural Funding

The deadline for Core Funding Programs applications is May 1, or the first weekday in May. The deadline for Cultural Expansion Program applications is June 1, or the first weekday in June. Community Initiatives Program applications are due on the first Monday of each month and must be received at least 60 days prior to the project start date.

If you mail your application, it must be postmarked by the appropriate deadline.

Consult the current program guidelines for exact deadlines.

The City of Austin invests in arts and culture by allocating a portion of Hotel Occupancy Tax revenues to eligible applicants recommended for funding as a result of an equitable process in which they are found to meet established program criteria. As defined in the Texas Tax Code, Chapter 351.101 (a)(4), revenue from the municipal hotel occupancy tax may be used for: “(T)he encouragement, promotion, improvement, and application of the arts, including instrumental and vocal music, dance, drama, folk art, creative writing, architecture, design and allied fields, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts, motion pictures, radio, television, tape and sound recording, and other arts related to the presentation, performance, execution, and exhibition of these major art forms.” (Texas Tax Code, Chapter 351.101) The complete details of the State of Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Code may be found at www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us

The Texas Commission on the Arts provides funding to local arts agencies, including the City of Austin Cultural Arts Funding Programs, for the purpose of “sub-granting” to local arts and cultural organizations.

Applicants must be incorporated, tax-exempt organizations residing in Austin or its Extra Territorial Jurisdiction. Other organizations and individuals must apply under the umbrella of a 501c3 organization. Click on the specific programs listed below for more information.

Core Funding Programs

Community Initiatives Program

Cultural Expansion Program

Capacity Building Program

Cultural Heritage Festivals Program

Downtown Redevelopment

The 2010 Census showed 7,413 people living downtown.  Since then 1,059 units have been completed, bringing the current estimated downtown residential population to over 10,000.  In addition, the 1,330 units under construction should add nearly 2,000 new residents, and another 2,700 more units are being planned.

The U. S. Census Bureau’s “On the Map” tool indicates there are 124,800 primary jobs in downtown.

You can find information at the City’s Downtown Redevelopment page.  The page has information on new “Emerging Projects” in downtown, plus links to the Downtown Austin Plan and other City of Austin Downtown-related programs.

While there is no official definition of “downtown,” the most commonly used is the 1.8 square mile area bounded by I-35, Lady Bird Lake, Lamar Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Filming in Austin

The City of Austin does not require filmmakers to get a “film permit” before filming in our city; however, specific permits may be required under specific circumstances.

Permits are necessary when

  • filming on a street or sidewalk
  • using pyrotechnic or flame effects
  • filming at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  • filming in a City park
  • a water meter is required for temporary water service
  • street closures are required
  • constructing or demolishing buildings (in some instances)

If you have questions about permitting, contact Jim Butler at 512-974-6318.

The same permits regarding use of public property for commercial films, also apply for student films.

In the event of a street closure, all property owners/residents whose property is adjacent to the area sought to be closed must be notified and provided with a map of the area, which indicates all obstructions to be placed in the closure area. The notification must indicate by signature, whether the property owner/resident approves or disapproves of the proposed closure. For additional information, contact Right of Way Management at 512-974-1150.

The City of Austin does not require filmmakers to get a “film permit” before filming in our city; however, specific permits may be required under specific circumstances.

Permits are necessary when

  • filming on a street or sidewalk
  • using pyrotechnic or flame effects
  • filming at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  • filming in a City park
  • a water meter is required for temporary water service
  • street closures are required
  • constructing or demolishing buildings (in some instances)

You can find information about how to apply for these specific permits, as well as contact information for the relevant departmental liaisons, listed on the City Department Contacts page.

If you have a question about applying for permits, or cannot find the necessary liaison, contact Jim Butler at 512-974-6318.

City of Austin Ordinance 20080306-038 states that the City will provide production crews with up to two police officers for traffic control and other public safety issues, subject to certain requirements and limitations. Contact Austin Police Department Special Events at 512-974-5032 for more information about working with the police.

If you have a question about using a particular City of Austin facility - such as the airport, a City park, or library - please contact that department’s liaison directly.

If your production is filming on a street or sidewalk, or requires the closure of a street, you must obtain permit. More information is available on the City Department Contacts page.

If you are interested in filming on property owned or operated by the State of Texas, please contact the Texas Film Commission’s Location department at 512-463-9200. The Texas Film Commission can help you find the right locations for your production, as well as help guide you through any required permitting for those locations.

If you have any further questions, contact Jim Butler at 512-974-6318.

City of Austin Ordinance 20080306-038 waives all fees for facility use and/or rental. The production company must pay the City‘s actual cost for staff, utilities, and security used in assisting with the production.

Other fees not covered by this ordinance may apply (ex: burn permit, water meter). See the City Department Contacts page for more details.

Commercial General Liability insurance with a minimum limit of $500,000 per occurrence is required on most City of Austin property, with the City of Austin named as an additional insured.

Insurance Requirements for Filming (PDF)

Other specific coverage provisions that are required by other permits, reservation agreements, or lease agreements for these City properties will also be enforced. For other details about insurance, please contact Carol Vance at 512-974-3264.

Austin Energy facilities have minimum requirements of $1,000,000 for certain liabilities. For more details about these Austin Energy requirements contact Ingrid Weigand at 512-972-9521.

Insurance Requirements for Filming at Austin Energy Facilities (PDF)

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) has minimum requirements of $5,000,000 for certain liabilities. For more details about these requirements contact Jason Zielinski at 512-530-6618.

Insurance Requirements for Filming in Airport Operations Area (PDF)

Insurance Requirements for Filming Outside Airport Operations Area (PDF)

International Trade and Investment Program

The City of Austin's Economic Development Specialist at (512)-974-7833 or The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President of Global Corporate Recruitment at (512) 322-5626.

The Austin U.S. Export Assistance Center is part of the U.S. Commercial Service, a federal agency with an extensive network of trade specialists located in the U.S. and throughout the world. The U.S. Commercial Service is devoted to assisting U.S. companies expand their international business presence. Contact the center at (512) 916-5939.

There are many important factors to consider before your company begins importing/exporting. For a consultation, please contact the Acting International Economic Development Manager at (512) 974-7833. You can also attend one of our Export University Education Series courses on importing or exporting.

The Trade and Investment Program has established business connections on several continents. Contact the International Economic Development Manager at 512-974-6416 for assistance. The program also periodically hosts information sessions about how to do business in certain countries or world regions. Also, local members of our Sister Cities committees may have personal experience, cultural expertise and business contacts for you to consider. Contact the Sister Cities/International Program Coordinator at 512-974-6418 for specific information on Sister Cities committees and their upcoming meeting dates.

The International Economic Development Program frequently organizes events which enable local business people to interact with visiting trade delegations or global business experts. These events are announced through our newsletter, which you can sign up for here. Also, Austin’s various chambers of commerce offer monthly opportunities for business networking.

Mueller Redevelopment

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.

Public Art at the Airport

The artists for the Airport Entrance Project and the Terminal Expansion Project were selected through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process.  The RFQs were open to professional visual artists living in the United States who submitted applications through PublicArtist.org, an online application system.  For each project, a Selection Panel of visual art and design professionals was established for the purpose of selecting an artist and an alternate. Selection Panels are aided by Project Advisors who represent the project stakeholders. The Selection Panels’ recommendations were approved by the Art in Public Places Panel and the Austin Arts Commission.

Airport Entrance Project: Selection Panel + Project Advisors

  • Miguel Rivera, architect, Miro Rivera Architects (Austin, TX)
  • Ann Gardner, visual artist (Seattle, WA)
  • Chris M Stevens, arts and culture manager, Denver Intl Airport (Denver, CO)
  • Carolyn Law, visual artist (Seattle, WA)
  • Christy Ten Eyck, landscape architect, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects (Austin, TX)
  • Matt Coldwell, exhibit coordinator, Aviation Department, City of Austin
  • Ilse Frank, project liaison, Art in Public Places Panel
  • Robert Hengst, engineering and construction manager, Aviation Department, City of Austin
  • D’Ann Johnson, commissioner, Airport Advisory Commission
  • Joe Medici, principal planner, Aviation Department, City of Austin
  • Janice White, project manager, Aviation Department, City of Austin

Terminal Expansion Project: Selection Panel + Project Advisors

  • Amy Hauft, visual artist/professor of art, University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX)
  • Mike Guidry, curator, University of Houston Public Art Collection (Houston, TX)
  • Amy Landesberg, visual artist/architect (Decatur, GA)
  • Murray Legge, architect, Murray Legge Architecture (Austin, TX)
  • Shelly Willis, director, Sacramento Public Art Program (Sacramento, CA)
  • Robin Camp, project manager, Public Works Department, City of Austin
  • Matt Coldwell, exhibit coordinator, Aviation Department, City of Austin
  • David Epstein, project architect, Gensler
  • Robert Hengst, engineering and construction manager, Aviation Department, City of Austin
  • Chris McCray, project liaison, Art in Public Places Panel
  • Janice White, project manager, Aviation Department, City of Austin

Art in Public Places staff work closely with Aviation staff to identify unique artwork opportunities for each capital improvement project. Artwork budgets and particular site conditions strongly influence staff recommendations. These recommendations are then reviewed and approved by the Art in Public Places Panel and the Austin Arts Commission.

This is a guiding concept used by artists who are commissioned to create works for the airport and does not have a strict definition. As each person living in our city has a different daily experience, each one of us will have a different impression of Austin’s innate character. The artist is asked to draw upon available resources (resident surveys, local publications, visitor guides, City data, and others), as well as the input of project advisors and stakeholders, to discover Austin’s nature and character.

The notion of integrating the unique character of Austin into the design and operations of the airport was codified in the final report of the New Austin Terminal Task Force, a committee created by City Council in 1994. In this report, several recommendations were made to ensure travelers would have a uniquely Austin experience while at the airport. The recommendations included the use of local concessions and retail, live performances by local musicians, integration of architectural details by local artisans, and permanent visual art that reflects regional issues and themes.

Public art at the airport is funded through airport revenues and bonds. The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport operates as a self-sustaining facility. The airport generates revenue to pay for its operating costs and fund future improvements.

Funds for the Public Art Masterplan, Airport Entrance AIPP Project, and Terminal Expansion AIPP Project come from the Terminal/Apron Expansion Project funds.

By ordinance, 2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets, like the Terminal/Apron Expansion Project, are allocated to commission or purchase art for that site. Austin’s Public Art Collection is found at sites such as the airport, convention center, libraries, parks, police stations, recreation centers, and streetscapes, enhancing public spaces for all residents and visitors to our city. The ordinance is administered through Art in Public Places (AIPP), a program of the Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department.

Seaholm District

The Seaholm District is an 85 acre former industrial section of Downtown Austin. It is generally bounded by Lamar Boulevard on the east, 5th Street on the north, San Antonio Street on the east, and Lady Bird Lake on the south. The Seaholm Power Plant Redevelopment is a 7 acre site in the heart of the Seaholm District. It is generally bounded by Walter Seaholm Drive on the west, 3rd Street on the north, West Avenue on the east, and Cesar Chavez on the south.

The substation property has been consolidated to accommodate the extension of 2nd Street to West Avenue and provide a site for the New Central Library. The site underwent extensive soil remediation in 2012. The substation will remain north of 2nd Street and be surrounded by a screen wall delivered as an Arts in Public Places project.

The trail has been closed on and off for various utility upgrade projects that would make use of the trail too dangerous during construction. Projects have included a 24” waterline, an electrical pole relocation, and the construction of a portion of the Downtown Wastewater Tunnel that will allow the lift station on the New Central Library site to be demolished. The trail will need to be closed for approximately two years while the 2nd Street Bridge and New Central Library are constructed. When complete, the trail and Shoal Creek parkland will be completely rebuilt between 3rd Street and Cesar Chavez and will feature new connections to 2nd Street and the New Central Library.

Seaholm Power Plant Redevelopment

The Master Development Agreement between Seaholm Power Development, LLC and the City of Austin allows some combination of office, retail and restaurant uses in the generator building. There will also be spaces reserved in the building that will allow public access and views into the turbine hall.

Sister and Friendship Cities Program

Contact the Sister Cities/International Program Coordinator at 512-974-6418 or the chair of the Sister City Committee you are interested in. Contact information for committee chairs is available on the individual Sister City pages.

Sister City designation is a citizen-driven process and is built upon existing relationships between individuals or institutions in Austin and the sister city. The Sister Cities/International Program Coordinator will meet with interested parties to discuss the different options for international partnerships. In March 2012, the Austin Sister Cities International committee and the International Economic Development Program developed a recommended path for creating relationships between Austin and international cities. Click here to learn more. Sister Cities partnerships must be approved by the City Council and the Sister Cities Agreement will be signed by the mayors of both cities.

Although the terms Sister City and Friendship City are often used interchangeably, at the City of Austin a Friendship City relationship means a partnership that is more limited in scope. Friendship City relationships are mayor-to-mayor agreements that do not require City Council approval. Sister Cities participate in at least 3 exchanges annually, while Friendship Cities participate in at least one. Only Sister Cities are members of the Austin Sister Cities International committee which meets monthly. Both types of relationships are certified by Sister Cities International and call for long-term commitments from the community.

Interested parties should consult with Marianne Martinez, Sister Cities/International Program Coordinator at (512) 974-6418. A meeting will be scheduled to discuss the various options in establishing an international partnership between the two cities.

Once a Sister City is approved, citizens then form a volunteer-run Sister Cities committee, a 501 (c) 3 organization. This committee is responsible for maintaining the partnership, and each Sister City relationship is unique. Sister City committees have hosted exhibitions of art from Sister Cities, organized educational exchanges, contributed to charitable organizations in the partner city, created international business development offices for Austin companies, established training exchanges for city workers, organized cook-offs featuring traditional cuisine, and more. For more information about specific Sister City exchanges or events, visit the individual Sister Cities pages.

Soul-y Austin Business District Incubator

Support services include:  education and coaching towards the formation of merchants associations; engagement of interested businesses; commercial district visioning, charetting, and planning; business development and training; business loans and music venue loans; marketing and promotion tools; monetary district activation awards; market analyses; Envision Tomorrow analyses; district assessments; and district videos.

An activation award of $10,000 with parameters on how it can be spent is provided to the districts once the Merchants Association is formed.

Merchant Association dues are established by the members of the association. Prior to the drafting of the association bylaws, members meet and decide on membership eligibility and dues. 

A merchants association is a group of business owners that exists to anchor and stabilize neighboring businesses around beautification efforts, marketing and promotions, business retention, and economic development activities within a commercial district.

In Texas, there are two different nonprofit entity options available to merchants associations: (1) a nonprofit association and (2) a nonprofit corporation. Traditional merchants associations qualify for both of these organizational options, since they are typically engaged in work that is of a nonprofit nature, by providing civic services to benefit a community and utilizing revenues in furtherance of the merchants association’s mission.

A business improvement district (BID) or public improvement district (PID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries. The majority of taxpayers within a proposed BID/PID must petition the local government to form a BID/PID.

Soul-y Austin is a self-help pilot initiative that seeks to empower motivated, Austin-area brick-and-mortar businesses of all sizes and types throughout the city’s commercial areas. This includes local, chain, and franchise businesses.

In addition to being all-inclusive, Soul-y Austin fosters independent collaboration between businesses and provides an array of support services towards the formation of self-sustaining merchants associations.

Support services include:  education and coaching towards the formation of merchants associations; engagement of interested businesses; commercial district visioning, charetting, and planning; business development and training; business loans and music venue loans; marketing and promotion tools; monetary district activation awards; market analyses; Envision Tomorrow analyses; district assessments; and district videos.

An IBIZ District is geared towards independent, locally-owned businesses that exist in eight distinct areas throughout Austin. These businesses enjoy the benefits of shared marketing and promotion tools, monthly networking opportunities, and local business advocacy provided by the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA). For more information visit: http://austinibiz.com/.

The City’s Economic Development Department supports and collaborates with the AIBA. AIBA currently receives funding from EDD.

Pilot areas were chosen based on initial program funding and expressed interest from business owners in the formation of merchants associations. Initial funding will allow the City to shepherd three areas through this process so long as there is continued cooperation from business owners. The program is voluntary and has limited resources per year.

Soul-y Austin will work with city staff from a number of departments including Transportation, Public Works, Planning and Zoning, etc.  

The larger Commercial Stabilization Program will focus on businesses stability, retention, and support services as needed on a case by case basis.

Soul-y Austin has created a “Merchant’s Script” to be utilized by the pilot areas business owners at this time.

Soul-y Austin is a pilot initiative of the City of Austin Economic Development Department’s emerging Commercial Stabilization Program. Under the pilot initiative, business owners receive a flexible set of tools to assist in the formation of merchants associations and organized commercial districts.

 

Soul-y Austin seeks to strengthen the connections between businesses and the places they share through education on merchants associations. As Austin continues to grow and evolve, business owners can play an active role in influencing positive change and preserving the unique culture and environment of their respective districts as members of merchants associations.

A best practice report on Merchants Associations is in the works.

The pilot areas were chosen by the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

At this time, the pilot initiative is limited to three commercial areas. In keeping with the purpose and goals of the pilot initiative, additional commercial areas may be considered under the larger (and emerging) Commercial Stabilization Program in 2016 based on the business community’s expressed interest, not City Council.

Imagine Austin centers and corridors are eligible for participation should businesses express interest.