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AUSTIN-The redevelopment of Robert Mueller Municipal Airport into a mix of homes, apartments, office buildings and retail centers will be Austin’s biggest real estate project. To help make way for the redevelopment, the city is in its biggest deconstruction project–the teardown of the former airport’s 190,400-sf terminal.

“It’s a reuse program,” Nonnie Nutting, interim property manager for the Mueller property, tells GlobeSt.com. “It keeps materials from landfills.”

Among the equipment and materials salvaged for resale are air conditioning chillers, mechanical equipment structural iron, roofing, sheet metal, windows, fixtures, windows, cabinetry, magazine racks and railings. Even the 390-foot long concourse and the two-story, 22,000-sf rotunda, where the American Airlines’ gates were, are being taken apart carefully for resale. The deconstruction companies estimate those sections could be bought for 60% of what it would cost to build similar structures. The contractors say that the rotunda and concourse would be suitable for rebuilding as warehouses or other commercial or industrial applications.

The city closed Mueller Airport three years ago when it opened Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at the site of the former Bergstrom Air Force Base. The 709-acre site is to be redeveloped over the next 20 years. Catellus Development Corp. is overseeing the project.

The Mueller deconstruction has been underway for about eight months and is scheduled to wrap up in September. While it’s taking longer than a normal demolition, the project is more than a dollars and cents payoff for the city. “The benefits to the city are some of those intangible benefits that you really can’t put a dollar amount on,” Nutting says about the capability of reusing materials and equipment.

She says several proposed airports in South Texas have expressed interest in some of the Mueller items. Some things such as the air conditioning equipment were pretty much sold when the contractors when to work, she says. “That’s their business,” she says of the contractors. “They keep on top of that stuff and know who’s buying what.”

Two companies are handling the deconstruction. ICE Contractors of Dallas is taking care of the main terminal and Lopez Building Material Recovery and Deconstruction Services of Austin is working on the concourse and rotunda. Those companies won bids for the work and are selling the reusable materials, Nutting says.

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