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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Texas & Southcentral > Austin

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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2008, 8:20 PM
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Austin: Childrens' Museum leaving downtown

Obviously I think this is a horrible move - click the link for my reaction.

From the Statesman:

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The Austin Children’s Museum, which has been seeking a new home, plans to move to Mueller, the former city airport that is being turned into a new community of businesses, stores and homes.

The museum’s board of directors has voted to begin negotiations with Catellus Development Corp., the master developer for Mueller.

The museum would be in Mueller’s town center, at the heart of the 711-acre development.

“We’re excited about the possibility of building a new facility at Mueller,” said Mike Nellis, the museum’s executive director. “As a family-oriented community with a commitment to diversity, Mueller shares our values and we feel it’s an ideal location for the new museum.”

The museum is now at the corner of Second Street and Colorado, but has been planning for several years to move to bigger quarters.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2008, 8:31 PM
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Ouch!

Children's Museums are often combined are closely associated with other attractions (Portland: The zoo, a massive park; San Antonio: Riverwalk and its "mint in box, don't touch, do nothing to this" downtown; Seattle: Seattle Center) and are often linked by transit (Portland: Washington Park MAX; San Antonio: "Trolleys", future Streetcar; Seattle: Monorail, Monorail, MONORAIIIIIL!!, future Streetcar)... not something I'd consider a suburban attraction.

Disastrous move for them.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2008, 9:24 PM
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Suckage.
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  #4  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2008, 10:00 PM
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This is no bueno.
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  #5  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 1:46 AM
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I thought it's a strange move too. It doesn't much help downtown's image as a family friendly place either.
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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 1:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Obviously I think this is a horrible move - click the link for my reaction.
Just out of curiosity do things ever work out the way you want them do when it comes to the city? hm.

I do believe I remember reading in the statesman that they ACM moved out of downtown because it was too expensive for them to move to the location that was they chose (21c I believe). They weren't expecting it to cost so much so they couldn't make the move. I don't know what went on inside the ACM's decision makers but Mueller seems to me the next best bet for them. It already has a lot of families there, if the light rail gets approved it will have transit to the community from downtwon etc, rapid bus is supposed to be there eventually, and it's really not that far from downtown (3 miles). So I don't see it being a terrible move just not exactly what they wanted to do.
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 2:01 PM
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What Austin needs is a Museum district like in Houston
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  #8  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 2:42 PM
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The 21C development and the city were going to heavily subsidize their move. If you were to ask me to guess, I'd say it had more to do with the folks running the museum wanting to be closer to Dell folks up in Round Rock.
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 2:46 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
The 21C development and the city were going to heavily subsidize their move. If you were to ask me to guess, I'd say it had more to do with the folks running the museum wanting to be closer to Dell folks up in Round Rock.
I don't know what they were thinking as I wasn't there. But.... I would disagree with you on this assessment. I know it was a money thing according to the Statesman article I read awhile back. It was going to cost them a ton of money they weren't expecting even with the subsidizes from the city.
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  #10  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 3:04 PM
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I remember the Austin Children's Museum before this one, on West 5th near where Tapelenders is.
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 3:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsjv View Post
I don't know what they were thinking as I wasn't there. But.... I would disagree with you on this assessment. I know it was a money thing according to the Statesman article I read awhile back. It was going to cost them a ton of money they weren't expecting even with the subsidizes from the city.
I'm not seeing that at all. I remember the same Statesman article, and everybody was saying that money wasn't going to be an issue - the city was kicking in a ton of money and the landlord was giving them a sweetheart deal, so everybody was wondering what, exactly, the ACM had in mind. Now we know - they wanted to move somewhere more convenient for the folks in Round Rock (after whom the place is named, after all).

Moving to Mueller won't be free either, and I would think (I would hope) not subsidized by the city.
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  #12  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 4:14 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
I'm not seeing that at all. I remember the same Statesman article, and everybody was saying that money wasn't going to be an issue - the city was kicking in a ton of money and the landlord was giving them a sweetheart deal, so everybody was wondering what, exactly, the ACM had in mind. Now we know - they wanted to move somewhere more convenient for the folks in Round Rock (after whom the place is named, after all).
Well I wouldn't speculate like that. You'll only get yourself in trouble. The fact is you don't know (nor do I) what their reasonings were behind them moving to Mueller. We weren't there when they made the decision.

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Moving to Mueller won't be free either, and I would think (I would hope) not subsidized by the city.
Well I'm going to go out on a limb and say it must be cheaper than 21C. Guess we'll see when/if they report how much it is going to cost them.
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  #13  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 4:23 PM
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Originally Posted by paulsjv View Post
Well I wouldn't speculate like that. You'll only get yourself in trouble. The fact is you don't know (nor do I) what their reasonings were behind them moving to Mueller. We weren't there when they made the decision.
We do know that the city and 21C said their costs would basically be covered. We also know that no such promise has been made with Mueller.

Dude, I'd benefit personally if Mueller moved to my neighborhood, too, but that doesn't make me somehow not able to be objective about it if they did it, nor should you somehow lose your objectivity here because you're moving to Mueller. The new location will actually be easier for our family to drive to, and like I said in the post, we drive there most of the time (at least for now). But it doesn't make it any better for the city.
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  #14  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 4:36 PM
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Well, it certainly doesn't help for any future hopes of a "museum district", and probably doesn't say anything good about the health of the 21C project...

But, I can see some sense in it. They are moving it to basically the same location as the new Children's hospital. That will be nice for families with visiting kids.. and realistically more family friendly than parts of downtown.
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  #15  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 4:51 PM
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Mueller makes the baby Jane Jacobs cry
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  #16  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 5:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
We do know that the city and 21C said their costs would basically be covered. We also know that no such promise has been made with Mueller.

Dude, I'd benefit personally if Mueller moved to my neighborhood, too, but that doesn't make me somehow not able to be objective about it if they did it, nor should you somehow lose your objectivity here because you're moving to Mueller. The new location will actually be easier for our family to drive to, and like I said in the post, we drive there most of the time (at least for now). But it doesn't make it any better for the city.
Oh I don't disagree with you. I'd rather see the ACM downtown too! I think it's rather stupid of them to move from there. It's the only real family friendly thing downtown. Other than that there really isn't anything down there for families to do. I also like the idea of a museum district and now that's pretty much gone. It would have been really cool to see it on the same block as the (hopefully) new AMOA.

All I'm arguing is that we don't know their real intentions or reasons as to why they chose Mueller unless they have come out with a statement we haven't seen yet. I do know that they did get a sweet deal from the city and developer of 21C but something happened and it was going to cost them too much money for them to make the move there. I guess Mueller was the next best option for them? Guess we'll see.
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  #17  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 5:41 PM
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Originally Posted by paulsjv View Post
but something happened and it was going to cost them too much money for them to make the move there.
This is the part that you keep saying that I don't ever remember hearing. And even if they had said it, it's not that credible, given what the city and 21c said.

On the other hand, maybe they saw that the 21c project was likely to collapse.

As for attractions downtown, I love walking around downtown with my 4-year-old - there's gelato right down 2nd, there's the lake, we've also hit the farmers' market on the way to/from, etc.
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  #18  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 6:14 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
This is the part that you keep saying that I don't ever remember hearing. And even if they had said it, it's not that credible, given what the city and 21c said.
I found the article. It's the Austin Chronicle not the Statesman.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrob...d=oid%3A546559

Quote:
Austin Children's Museum: No go on Block 21
BY ROBERT FAIRES



ACL, but no ACM

Green light. Red light!

Like the kid who's "it" in the playground game, the Austin Children's Museum abruptly called a halt to its 2-year-old plan to be part of the sexy Block 21 development due north of City Hall. When Stratus Properties won the highly sought bid to develop the block in 2005, the Children's Museum was included in the plans for the 35-story structure, along with a home for public-television station KLRU and Austin City Limits, a W Hotel, 200 residential condos, and retail space. The city was intent on having a nonprofit in the project and even sweetened the deal for the museum by dedicating $4.9 million from the block's sale to assist it in securing a 30,000-square-foot foothold in the space. The museum appeared to be moving forward on the project right through this summer, finishing its selection process for an architect and naming Santa Monica, Calif.'s Koning Eizenberg Architecture as the firm of choice in August. Then, last week, the museum pulled out of the $260 million project altogether, with Executive Director Mike Nellis stating that "the developer's needs for the project and our needs were incompatible." One factor in the decision, as put forth by Stratus Chief Executive Officer William "Beau" Armstrong, was the project's cost, which he estimated in the $9 million to $10 million range. With the money kicked in by the city covering roughly half that amount, $5 million may have been more than the museum wanted to raise. Still, with Austin Children's Museum eager to expand beyond the 15,000 square feet of its space at Second and Colorado, the museum will keep shopping around for a new home. It just may do more looking at neighborhoods other than Downtown, where the cost of real estate and construction delivers such a painful one-two punch. As for the now-vacant ground-floor space on Block 21's northwest corner, it's up for grabs by more retail and restaurants, which means it's on the tax rolls and can generate another $8 million to $10 million a year in revenue for the city. And the city's $4.9 million earmarked for the museum? It's back in play to support other projects and improvements Downtown. Stratus has been preparing the Block 21 site for an official ground-breaking on Friday, Oct. 12. The development is projected to open in 2010.
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On the other hand, maybe they saw that the 21c project was likely to collapse.
You really think it is going to collapse? I thought they secured their funding? Wonder who they went with? I hope not any of these banks that are going under.

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As for attractions downtown, I love walking around downtown with my 4-year-old - there's gelato right down 2nd, there's the lake, we've also hit the farmers' market on the way to/from, etc.
Exactly there really is much down there. There's the art festival once a year, the bats, the farmers' market on the weekend, and the lake. Not too much else for families to do downtown which is filled with adult activities. I'll be taking my 2 year old down there when she gets a bit older but there are no play scapes for her to play on downtown unless you go to Whole Foods, which I won't be doing because it's a pain in the rear using public transportation! haha
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  #19  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 6:17 PM
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I wonder how viable it would be to have 2, one downtown and then another one at Mueller. I guess it would have to find a way to generate a lot more money.
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  #20  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2008, 6:34 PM
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Exactly there really is much down there. There's the art festival once a year, the bats, the farmers' market on the weekend, and the lake. Not too much else for families to do downtown which is filled with adult activities.
You misunderstood me. I think there's already enough to do downtown to make a nice half-day (as we do sometimes) - while there will NOT be a similar density of attractions at Mueller. (I would not bet against the Town Center and most of the rest of Mueller being delayed or even cancelled at this point given real estate conditions).
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