|HUD No. 15-037
March 31, 2015
AUSTIN, TEXAS WINS PRESTIGIOUS HUD SECRETARY AWARD
Mueller Redevelopment and Reuse Plan to redevelop former municipal airport
WASHINGTON - For nearly 70 years, Robert Mueller Municipal Airport thrived on the east side of Austin, Texas but as the city grew, Austin needed a modern international airport to serve its residents. While Austin Bergstrom International Airport is now the state capital's airport, the challenge facing city planners is what to do with the 711 acres of land now situated in the heart of Austin.
Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the American Planning Association (APA) recognized the City of Austin with the 2015 HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award (www.huduser.org/portal/about/OppEmpowerAward_2015_1.html) for its Mueller Redevelopment and Reuse Plan. The plan called for the conversion of the former Mueller Municipal Airport into a mixed-use, mixed-income community to help revitalize East Austin.
Presented jointly by HUD and APA, the HUD Secretary's Award recognizes a plan, program, or project that has been in effect for at least three years and improves the quality of life for low- and moderate-income community residents. Emphasis is placed on how creative housing, economic development and private investments have been used in or with a comprehensive community development plan to empower a community.
"The City of Austin has developed a plan for progress," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "It transforms an unused municipal space into an asset that will provide local residents with employment, entrepreneurial and housing opportunities for generations to come. I congratulate and commend all those who came together for this common vision, and applaud their commitment to shaping a future full of new and inclusive growth."
Neighborhood demand and voter approval set the foundation for moving the Mueller Municipal Airport and starting redevelopment efforts on the 700-acre site. The Mueller Redevelopment and Reuse Plan was adopted in 2000 and included six redevelopment goals including fiscal responsibility; economic development; and East Austin revitalization. The city engaged in a public-private partnership with master-developer Catellus in 2004 to help implement and finance the plan.
Mueller Airport is now being transformed with a mix of housing, jobs, services and mobility improvements that reconnect adjoining neighborhoods. Since 2006, 2,300 residential units of the projected 5,900 homes have been completed or are under construction. Twenty-five percent of the homes are affordable, and offered to income-qualified households. And more than 4,850 jobs are available of 13,000 anticipated, reflecting a range of income levels.
The Mueller Redevelopment and Reuse Plan is an example of a community-led vision over coming challenges to become a compact, mixed-use, livable community. First, the plan is an example of an enduring successful public-private partnership. Second, it addressed regulations that hindered or prevented compact development. Third, it included a diversity of housing types.
"The Mueller Redevelopment plan is a model of a public-private partnership working for the public good," said W. Shedrick Coleman, 2015 APA Awards Jury chair. "The community came together, envisioned a future and is working towards the plan's realization."
"The Mueller Community reflects the initial vision first stated 30 years ago: a sustainable, diverse, affordable community that could spur economic development, be compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods, be fiscally responsible, and help revitalize East Austin," said Mayor Steve Adler of the City of Austin. "We believe our efforts, and this award, confirm that neighborhoods dream big when they are empowered and those dreams can come true with effective planning, partnership, and execution."
"Mueller is a wonderful example of the imagination and creativity of the citizens of Austin. It's a prototype of how cities of the future might grow," said Kevin Johns, Economic Development Director of the City of Austin. "And we believe it's a fusion of the best of city planning and economic resiliency and could be replicated internationally."
The Mueller Redevelopment Plan and additional APA award winners will be honored at the 2015 National Planning Awards luncheon April 20, 2015, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington.
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The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science, and profession of good planning-physical, economic and social-so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit www.planning.org.