July 31, 2017
When the first businesses opened shop in Mueller’s regional retail center in July 2017, Mueller was in the very early stages of development. The Dell Children’s Medical Center had just opened its doors and the Northwest Greenway and Lake Park were still under construction.
No one was living in Mueller at that time, except for a set of barn owls that made their home inside the former control tower. However, there were already tens of thousands of residents within a five-mile radius of Mueller, many of whom were eager for more convenient places to shop for a variety of goods and have new restaurant options.
Places like Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Marshalls — the center’s first tenants to open — recognized the lack of retail options that existed in this part of Austin, and they were eager to be a part of Mueller’s first retail center. Meanwhile, Catellus and the City of Austin recognized the important need for regional retailers to serve not only as destination anchors of the retail center to attract other businesses, but also as the financial anchors to fund Mueller’s overall infrastructure costs.
It didn’t take long for additional retailers to follow suit, including popular destinations like Staples, Old Navy, The Home Depot, Starbucks and Chipotle. In time, local businesses also opened, such as Yo So Cool, Tino’s Greek Café and Dental Smiles.
These businesses quickly became the foundation for Mueller to serve as an economic engine for the entire development. Sales and property tax revenue generated early on by these and other retailers and restaurants helped (and continue to help) support Mueller’s community goals for sustainability, open space, affordability and community diversity by generating the dedicated tax base required to cover the substantial costs associated with Mueller’s infrastructure. Mueller’s regional retail also began fulfilling the overall goals of Mueller by providing new employment opportunities and services east of I-35, helping meet the needs of residents in Austin’s historically less advantaged communities.
The Mueller regional retail center has been built according to urban design principles and standards that improved substantially from previously developed shopping centers in the area. For example, the layout of the center is designed in blocks, allowing for internal streets to be converted into permitted streets with ample sidewalks and more shade trees than required by city code if the center is ever converted from retail into a different use. Additionally, each building features “four-sided architecture,” with attention to design on all facades within public view and service areas screened from view.
These design features, coupled with the taxes to fund all of Mueller’s infrastructure, allow the regional retail center to help fulfill Mueller’s vision as a sustainable, compatible and fiscally responsible community to the benefit of the entire area, independently of how often area residents shop or eat there.
Come on out and get to know Mueller. To get acquainted with the full vision for Mueller, please visit our information center, Mueller Central, located at 4550 Mueller Blvd. Click here for address and operating hours.
To download your copy of the Mueller Development Plan, click here.
For more information regarding Mueller's Design Book, click here.