Ready for takeoff

350 new apartments to land near Mueller’s iconic air traffic control tower

350 new apartments to land near Mueller’s air traffic control tower

Mueller tower rentals rendering
Mueller lands more housing. Courtesy of Lake Flato

The iconic air traffic control tower at Austin’s former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport is getting a new neighbor.

Real estate developer Ryan Companies US announced April 29 that it is building a 350-unit apartment community at Central Austin’s Mueller mixed-use development. The development sits on land previously occupied by the airport, which closed in 1999 when Austin-Bergstrom International Airport opened in Southeast Austin.

The apartments will be spread among two three- to five-story buildings. The buildings will be separated by a tree-lined walkway that will connect the 89-foot-high control tower and a proposed public plaza to nearby John Gaines Park. The project will include about 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space at Berkman Drive and McCurdy Street. Construction is expected to get underway in late 2021.

Fifteen percent of the apartments will be reserved for households earning up to 60 percent of the Austin area’s median family income.

Ryan says the apartment buildings will be set back from Berkman Drive to allow more visibility of the 60-year-old control tower — preserved as a physical reminder of the old airport — from one of Mueller’s main roads.

“Ryan has created a thoughtful, well-designed addition to Mueller next to a beloved Austin structure that represents iconic midcentury style,” Sergio Negrete, vice president of Catellus Development, master developer of Mueller, says in a news release.

The control tower was rehabbed in 2010, revealing the original light blue and dark blue panels.

“The structure remains as a distinctive symbol not only for the Mueller neighborhood, but also the city of Austin,” according to the Mueller website.

Ryan is the developer and general contractor for the apartment buildings, and Ryan Architecture + Engineering is the architect. Ryan has enlisted Lake Flato, GarzaEMC, Integrity Structural, Aptus Engineering, Land Design Studio, and Ink+Oro as design consultants. The project will feature a variety of green building elements.

The 700-acre Mueller development is witnessing a flurry of activity. For instance, groundbreaking is scheduled in May for Pearlstone Partners’ 200-unit condo Parkside at Mueller project. Meanwhile, construction is underway on:

  • A 406-unit apartment project developed by AMLI.
  • The 120-room, five-story Origin Hotel, developed by the Thrash Group.
  • Austin Energy’s four-story, 275,000-square-foot administrative offices, developed by Catellus.
  • A six-story, 235,000-square-foot office project developed by Shorenstein.
  • A 130,000-square-foot, five-story medical office building by Gemdale USA.

Upon completion, Mueller will feature at least 6,200 single-family and multifamily homes, a mixed-use town center district, 4.5 million square feet of commercial space, and 140 acres of public parks and open space. Mueller is home to Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin Film Studios, Thinkery Children’s Museum, and the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.