Friday, November 19, 2010

Arts Reporting: Austin Playhouse Announces Move to Mueller Development

Reported by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin on the Statesman's Ausin360 'Seeing Things' blog, November 19

Austin Playhouse announces move to Mueller

After nearly ten years at its South Congress Avenue location, Austin Playhouse plans to build a $4 million new theater in the Mueller redevelopment in East Austin, theater officials announced Friday.

Catellus Development Group, the master developer of Mueller, confirmed that it had signed a letter of intent with Austin Playhouse.

The theater would be located in the Mueller town center, roughly north of Mueller’s Lake Park. The town center is planned to be a mix of retail, restaurant and entertainment venues. However, no date has been set to start that phase of the Mueller project.

“We’re excited about the opportunities the Austin Playhouse would bring to Mueller,” said Greg Weaver, managing director for Catellus Development Group, the master developer of Mueller. “The Austin Playhouse will help activate a new area of the Mueller community, draw new visitors to experience other elements of the development and provide another primarily nighttime venue to move Mueller toward a 24/7 community.”

The community theater group [SIC] plans to build a 17,000-square-foot two-theater complex with classrooms, a gallery, offices and ground-floor space to sublet to a bar or restaurant.

Don Toner, executive director of Austin Playhouse, said he expects construction to begin in 2011. He said the $4 million price tag includes about $2 million for the property and 100 parking spaces and $2 million for construction, fundraising and other project costs.

Toner said that $265,000 in pledges and cash has been raised so far.

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