2024 is the final year of the City of Austin/Catellus joint-venture to redevelop the former airport. Mueller closed on May 22, 1999 with an overnight caravan of airport operations vehicles out to the new ABIA. Here’s a bit of the earliest happenings after the last plane departed.
Soon after, Sandra Bullock’s “Miss Congenality” was the first major production partially filmed in one of the general aviation hangars on E. 51st. In 2000, the Austin Film Society leased the 20-acre site from the City to create the Austin Film Studios campus. The same year and very nearby, Robert Rodriguez reincorporated his former production company as Troublemaker Studios when he leased the State’s former Aircraft Pooling Board hangars for production space.
The first new construction at Mueller was the Combined Transportation, Emergency & Communications Center (CTECC) on Old Manor Road, completed in 2003, and not a part of the not-yet adopted Mueller Master Plan. Its 74K square feet houses dispatch facilities for Austin Fire, EMS & Police and the Travis County Sheriff’s office, TXDOT’s Austin District transportation management offices, and a 4,200 square foot Emergency Operations Center to facilitate communications between a multitude of entities when needed.
As for the future, the Browning Hangar seems set to provide needed amenities in a venue that will keep some open-air space for both patrons and activities. Most of Mueller is built out, so this next year will see the completion of many projects already underway, and construction starts on the few sites that remain undeveloped. However, there’s still no news regarding the 7.5-acre mixed-use/commercial block at the northwest corner of Berkman & 51st, and a bit to the west, the 14-acres between Lancaster and Mueller Boulevard that UT leased from the City is short three buildings that were part of the terms of their lease. Those are the primary physical parts of the development that remain undetermined and of interest to the Commission.
The Robert Mueller Municipal Airport Plan Implementation Advisory Commission next meets on Tuesday, January 9th at 6PM at the Shudde Fath Conference Room, Austin Energy Building, 4815 Mueller Blvd. Enter the parking garage via Garcia Street. For the RMMAPIAC agenda and other information, visit austintexas.gov/rmmapiac