AUSTIN (KXAN) — The empty lot that currently sits across from the former Mueller airport control tower will be turned into a mixed-use development.
On Monday, Catellus Development Corp. announced it selected Austin Modern Lofts to build Mueller’s next edition, which will start construction in early 2018. The new residential and retail development at the northwest corner of Berkamn Drive and Tom Miller Street will have 91 for-sale residential units comprised of 35 condos and 56 townhomes.
According to a press release, 29 of the for-sale units will be a part of Mueller’s affordable homes program that sets aside units for low-income households. Pricing information will be available once the project is fully designed.
The building will also have 6,000 square feet of retail space. Within the project, there will roof and patio terraces as well as open spaces. Mueller expects the first move-ins to happen in early 2019.
The entire Mueller development covers 700 acres in east Austin. Upon completion of all the lots, the development will feature nearly 6,000 single-family and multi-family homes.
Mueller, the massive redeveloped master-planned community on the former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, is adding another housing element to its mix.
Austin Modern Lofts, a for-sale residential condo project that includes high-rise and townhome-style units, will be built on the northwest corner of Berkman Drive and Tom Miller Street.
The 3-acre site is across the street from the former airport control tower — an historic landmark of a bygone era.
Catellus Development Corp. has been redeveloping Mueller for the past decade. In the past several years, construction is cranked up to a rapid pace with an eclectic mix of commercial and residential uses.
JTM Development, headed by J. Thomas Mercer, was selected to build Austin Modern Lofts, which will include 91 units. Some 35 units will be condos in a mixed-use building, which incorporates about 6,000 square feet of street-level retail. The 56 adjacent townhouses within the project include five units that have floor-level commercial space in a live-work scheme.
Austin Modern Lofts will participate in the Ready, Set, Own affordable homes program with 29 units reserved for income-qualified households.
Pricing of the units has not yet been set.
MWM Design Group, an Austin-based company headed by Julia Harrod and Eduardo Mendez, is the architect on the project.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 with the first elements completed in early 2019. A contractor has yet to be selected.
JTM Development has a wide array of projects — both commercial and residential — ongoing in Austin. Mercer brings an intriguing mix of talents, according to a bio on the JTM Development website.
He handled build-to-suit developments on behalf of AMB Corp., a San Francisco company, and later became a partner with Panattoni Development Co. overseeing projects in Colorado. For about five years he was in charge of development in North America for ProLogis Trust — coordinating about $1.5 billion in construction in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
JTM's path leading to Austin appears to have some back story — Mercer has an MBA from the University of Texas.
In August, Austin Business Journal reported that JTM Development is building Walsh Tarlton Overlook, a 55,000-square-foot Class A office space set to deliver by the end of the year.
Mueller, like The Domain, is a city within a city — growing daily. Here is a snapshot of what else is currently underway around the development:
• Texas Mutual Insurance Co. is building its corporate headquarters.
• AMLI, Greystar and DMA Cos. are finishing multifamily projects and have started preleasing.
• Town Center Park, a 3.5-acre open space and public park, is under construction.
• Several new retailers and restaurants have recently opened or will soon, including Kay Jewelers, Pokeatery, Spirit Halloween, Total Wine & More and University Federal Credit Union.
• A variety of single-family homebuilders are delivering new units at a consistent pace.
• Foundation Communities, one of the city’s most active affordable housing developers, has obtained state tax creditsfor another development in Mueller.
By Gary Dinges - American-Statesman Staff
Prices for the condos and townhomes haven’t been set yet, pending final design of the project, according to Catellus Development Corp. About a third of the residences – 29 – will be set aside as part of Mueller’s income-based affordable housing programs.
Catellus is the master developer overseeing the transformation of the 700-acre site, which was previously home to the city’s now-closed Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. The tower was among just three structures — along with a 1940s-era wooden hangar and the private terminal that was converted into the Mueller Central visitors center and office building — left standing when the old airport was demolished after its closure in 1999.
“There is so much going on at Mueller, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” J. Thomas Mercer, founder of JTM Development and a representative of Austin Modern Lofts, said in a written statement. “Austin Modern Lofts is thrilled to bring another unique development to a community that has already distinguished itself with a wide variety of home types. Set near the historic control tower, we aim to carry on the great neighborhood character that Mueller has become known for.”
The mixed-use development marks Austin Modern Lofts’ Mueller debut.
“We’re pleased to welcome a new homebuilder who appreciates Mueller’s goal for more dense and diverse home products that appeal to a wide variety of homebuyers,” Catellus senior vice president of development Ken Blaker said. “Austin Modern Lofts has a strong reputation and tremendous experience in this type of product. We look forward to seeing this new, thoughtfully designed project join the Mueller community.”
The project is one of many in the works at Mueller, including a new $50 million headquarters for Texas Mutual Insurance Co., the region’s eighth Kerbey Lane Café and a 132-unit affordable housing complex called The Jordan.
Already, the development is home to Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, administrative offices for the Seton Healthcare Family, The Thinkery children’s museum, a variety of residences and dozens of local and national shops and restaurants.