Hooray for Muellerwood?

The Austin Film Studios find a Home at Mueller

Suzanne Quinn, Austin Studios
Suzanne Quinn, Austin Studios (Photo By Kenny Braun)

Long ago in the New Mueller planning process, the name "Muellerwood" was suggested in jest, given the airport's proximity to neighborhoods such as Cherrywood, Delwood, and Wilshire Woods. But with the success of the Austin Studios -- the film soundstage complex located in Mueller's abandoned hangars and sheds -- the name takes on a whole new meaning.

Indeed, the Studios' so-far stellar run has made Mueller stakeholders rethink the long-term impact of what was originally an "interim" use (though that "interim" period may last 15 years). "We feel tremendously lucky to have the opportunity, because lots of other groups wanted to use this property," says Studios director Suzanne Quinn. "For it to be as successful as it has is good, because that's probably why it was 'interim.'"

If, as is likely, the Studios become a more-or-less permanent anchor of the New Mueller, the project gains a new identity as a nascent hub of the entertainment industry in a town that, despite having a lot of industry people, has had no such place and has wanted one. "There are so many ancillary uses -- hotels, restaurants, post-production facilities, suppliers of goods and services to the industry," says Quinn, who also mentions several joint opportunities with UT's expanding film, music, and media departments.

The obvious comparison is with the Las Colinas project outside Dallas, which developer Trammell Crow anchored with what was, 20 years ago, a state-of-the-art film production complex, much more self-consciously swanky than the recycled pre-fabs at Mueller. But Las Colinas has faltered both as a production location and as an industry hub, partly because it met Trammell Crow's needs better than the film community's, and partly because the Metroplex isn't as gung-ho about film as Austin is. Given that the city really wants the film industry here, and really wants anchor tenants to help the New Mueller fly, these two co-stars should show a lot of chemistry.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Mike Clark-Madison
Austin at Large: Back (and Forth) to the Future
Austin at Large: Back (and Forth) to the Future
At some point Austin history will stop looping upon itself. Until next time …

March 17, 2023

Austin at Large: The Train Can’t Be Too Late
Austin at Large: The Train Can’t Be Too Late
It’s going to be sad, so sad, when Mayor Pete’s money comes if Austin’s not ready

March 10, 2023


Mueller Airport, Austin Film Studios, Suzanne Quinn, Las Colinas

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle