Approximately 17 years into its transformation from an Austin airport to a master-planned neighborhood, you might say Mueller is running out of surprises — most of its sprawling 711 acres are now built out on behalf of its master developers at Catellus. We’re excited to see how an expected future apartment project fits around the iconic former Mueller Airport’s preserved control tower, and it was nice to finally see the neighborhood’s first boutique hotel plan a while back — but to us, one of the area’s biggest game-changers lately will be the completion of Parkside at Mueller, the first major condominium development of its kind in the neighborhood by the locals at Pearlstone Partners and New York-based ATCO Properties.
The future home of the Parkside condos at 1701 Simond Avenue.
There are some qualifiers to consider, of course — there are other condos at Mueller, notably in the 36-unit Greenway Lofts community constructed back in 2010 at 1320 Robert Browning Street, but the Parkside project is different for a few reasons. The new development will contain a much larger count of 200 condo units, but most importantly, it’s what you call a “stacked” or “stacked-flats” structure, laid out like a downtown-style residential building with units accessed from a central lobby.
This type of community is more likely to have on-site amenities and more communal spaces due to its interior unit access — you’ll notice the condos at Greenway Lofts are more townhome-style, with doors for each unit opening directly to the sidewalk. It’s sort of like the difference between a hotel and a motel, except in this case the distinction doesn’t imply quite as large of a difference in quality. It may seem like an arbitrary distinction, but what’s important here is the addition of yet another housing type to the neighborhood’s diverse mix of residential options — specifically one that opens ownership at Mueller to a demographic who might otherwise find themselves buying a condo downtown or in one of the denser pockets of East Austin.
Parkside’s location, directly adjacent to the dining and nightlife that makes the Aldrich Street entertainment district Mueller’s most active area, should attract buyers interested in a more high-energy lifestyle than the mid-density and single-family character of other parts of Mueller — and this specific area previously only offered rental living at communities like AMLI on Aldrich, which doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of every potential resident.
It’s also notable for the district that Parkside, in keeping with Pearlstone’s stated perspective of “attainable” housing development, will reserve 15 percent of its units — that rings up to 30 condos total — for families earning 80 percent of less of the current Austin area median family income, which pencils out to about $78,000 a year for a family of four. Other pricing isn’t yet released for the community, but Pearlstone suggests the gap between its affordable units and market-rate residences might not be quite as enormous as you’ll see in other projects around town:
Pearlstone calls its projects “attainable” to differentiate them from “affordable” units, which are subsidized by grants; tax credits; and city, state and federal funds. Pearlstone’s developments are priced below the market at the time of delivery, but are not subsidized. The developer is able to construct attainable condominium homes in highly desirable locations through the use of smart design—efficient floor plans with high style and functional amenities sized according to the number of units in the community. This allows for future residents to not be burdened by the high HOA fees needed to cover over-the-top, high-maintenance amenities.
— Pearlstone Partners, Parkside at Mueller
Even if Parkside’s trying not to be too flashy, judging by the renderings of the building from its architects at STG Design, the project’s doing pretty well for itself just the same, at least on the outside parts we’ve seen — that curve in the facade, which we love, is supposedly inspired by the delightful midcentury design of the former Mueller Airport by those crackerjacks at Fehr & Granger:
Parkside at Mueller will feature a mix of contemporary architecture and mid-century design, a nod to Mueller’s former days as home to the city’s main airport. Condominium residences will boast high-quality finishes and fixtures curated by Kim Lewis Designs, including modern cabinetry, quartz countertops, tile backsplashes and stainless-steel appliances. Parkside’s amenities will include coworking spaces, a resort-style swimming pool with outdoor kitchen and cabanas, a cardio and fitness studio, a clubhouse and a rooftop deck with expansive views of Mueller Lake Park. The building will feature controlled access to its own parking structure, with reserved parking and on-site bike storage.
Parkside at Mueller will also offer eight ground-floor office units for sale, ranging from 2,000 to 3,500 square feet each. An additional 5,000 square feet of retail space with views of Mueller Lake Park will be available for lease. The building will feature controlled access to its own parking structure that will be surrounded by the condo units, with reserved parking and on-site bike storage.
Pearlstone Partners has selected STG Design as the architect for the project and Bartlett Cocke as the general contractor. The development will feature a variety of green building elements to help pursue a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and an Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) three-star rating. The project is set to break ground during the second quarter of 2021, with construction anticipated to be complete by mid-2023.
— Pearlstone Partners, Parkside at Mueller
The fact that Pearlstone includes a resort-style pool in this project’s amenities makes you wonder which of the aforementioned “over-the-top” amenities they decided against when trying to drive down the cost of this building — virtual golf? We’ll see for ourselves once this extremely welcome newcomer to the neighborhood hopefully makes its scheduled completion date in 2023.