City of Austin officials saw a remarkable opportunity to create a visionary development that successfully incorporates the principals of sustainability and new urbanism in central Austin following the decommission of Robert Mueller Airport in 1999. Catellus Development was selected as the developer of the 700 acre, Mueller Master Plan in 2002. As of October 3, 2013, Weingarten Realty is the new, proud owner of Mueller Regional Retail Center, a 351,099 sq. ft. open-air power center located in the master development at Interstate 35 and 51st Street.
The regional pull from national tenants, ideal location, lack of competition from other sizable retail destinations ensure Mueller Regional Retail Center will continue to thrive under Weingarten Realty’s ownership. In addition, the dense surrounding population and strong daytime workforce nearby are quickly making it a major retail destination within the MSA. The center boasts strong anchor tenants that are leaders in their respective retail categories including; The Home Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Marshalls, Staples and PetSmart. The anchor tenants account for over 275,000 SF, while a popular mix of fast casual eateries, various soft goods and service retailers account for the remaining square footage.
The exceptional location along Interstate 35, Austin’s major north-south artery, offers excellent accessibility through thirteen property access points and excellent visibility to the 240,000 vehicles passing on the interstate daily. Austin’s CBD and the University of Texas, at less than three miles, are minutes away, providing a workforce composed of executives and professionals, a highly compensated group of consumers with a large amount of purchasing power and discretionary income. The recently built retail center benefits from the infill development trade area of over 700,000 residents within a 10-mile radius.
The retail component of the master Mueller plan, Mueller Regional Retail Center is an environmentally sustainable, transit oriented and pedestrian friendly retail center. The entire development is one of the nation’s largest ongoing infill re-use projects and at completion will include over four million square feet of commercial space, over 6,000 residential units and 140 acres of public open space. Construction began in 2007 with the planned design earning Austin’s Energy Building rating of three stars, similar to a US Green Building Council LEED Silver designation.
Mueller is central Austin’s premier urban gathering place; the exciting mixed-use environment gives residents a true sense of community and the ability to walk to shops, businesses, and restaurants. The development site serves as work places for Dell Children’s Medical Center, The University of Texas Health Research Campus, Seton Family of Hospitals’ new headquarters, the corporate headquarters for Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) and the Austin Film Studios. The continued construction of the master development will add additional daytime and permanent population to the site, further guaranteeing the success of the retailers in the retail center.
The purchase of Mueller Regional Retail Center marks Weingarten’s re-entry into Austin city limits. The dynamic local economy, as well as the population growth in the state’s capital city makes Austin a top-tier growth market. It is positioned to become one of the most important cities for innovation, business incubation, expansion and relocation. Austin’s exceptionally stable economic fundamentals include government, education and healthcare sectors as well as the largest technology hub outside of Silicon Valley, thus earning it the nickname, “Silicon Hills.” Dell’s corporate headquarters are located in Austin. In addition, Austin is home to regional corporate offices for Texas Instruments, Facebook, Apple, Freescale Semiconductor and Cirrus Logic among others. Furthermore, the unemployment rate of 5.3% is a full 300 basis points lower than the national average.
Austin has received numerous praises as a best place to live, due to its economic stability, job opportunities, temperate climate and much buzzed about “cool factor.” Austin boasts being the “Live Music Capital of the World,” not much can compete with that! New residents are drawn to the city for the abundance of opportunity: since 2009, the local economy has added over 54,000 jobs, representing a 7.2% increase in employment. During the expansion of the high-tech industry in the 1990s, the city’s population growth gained momentum as it nearly doubled in size.
With its ideal location within both the city of Austin and the Mueller Master planned development, Mueller Regional Retail Center will be a valued asset in the Weingarten portfolio.