Journal Profile: Intracorp’s Brad Stein builds high-rises, community connections in Austin

By   –  Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal

No job is too big or too small for Brad Stein, president of Intracorp Texas.

The attorney-turned-real-estate-developer started his working days delivering food for an Italian restaurant when he was a teenager. Nearly 30 years later, he is one the developers at the vanguard for creating a new downtown Austin skyline.

His company is building 44 East, a 49-story residential tower at the southeastern-most corner of downtown, in the Rainey Street area. The first units are expected to be ready for move-in at some point in spring 2022 and nearly 60% of the 309 units have already been sold.

Intracorp, based in Vancouver, Canada, sought to hire a local leader for its Texas operations — and they selected Stein.

The 44 East project is just one of many high-rise developments proposed or underway right now. Stein, his colleagues at Intracorp and the rest of the 44 East development team represent a major shift underway in Austin around urban living, community, natural environment and nightlife.

“They made the decision to open an office in Austin, and it was very important to them to find a local leader for its Texas operations. I was introduced to them in March 2018 and officially started the job two weeks after,” Stein said. “We see the world in the same way and share values.”

What was your first job? Is there anything today’s Brad would tell younger Brad on the first day of that first job? My first job was delivering food for an Italian restaurant when I was 16. I would have a lot of advice for 16-year-old Brad, but primarily to take pride in doing the small tasks just as you would the big ones, and don’t go too fast.

What has been your biggest disappointment, and what has been your more significant success — and what lessons have you taken away from each? Last May we were able to close a $194 million construction loan for 44 East Ave. in the midst of a pandemic, with Michael Dell’s MSD Capital and Bank OZK. If you focus on developing a quality project that your homeowners, partners and lenders will believe in, then they will stick with you through hard times as everyone has with 44 East Ave.

We were working on another [condo project on Lamar Boulevard] and made a difficult decision to pull the plug in March of 2020. We spent a lot of our energy, time and money and it was disappointing to walk away. This pandemic has forced people to make bigger sacrifices, and my heart goes out to people faced with dire financial or health crises.

Austin has been undergoing a lot of changes for years now. How would you define Austin’s evolution to date? The growth we have experienced in Austin has been explosive. It has been such a fast evolution that has come up with some growing pains.

What is the future of Austin? Austin’s rapid growth will continue. This is a city where people want to live no matter what age, where companies want to relocate and do business, where investors want to place capital, and where travelers want to visit.

What is Austin’s personality and how is this personality reflected in 44 East? As we grow as a city, there are essential pieces of Austin’s fabric that we need to ensure can flourish — connection to the natural environment, our creative culture, and our helpful attitudes toward one another and our community. Austin’s personality is changing, without a doubt — there is always that discussion about the old Austin and the new Austin, but what amazes me is that we have this vibrant, livable and walkable downtown that is very rare for American cities, and something that we did not have even 10 years ago. 44 East Ave. celebrates the best of Austin’s active, urban lifestyle by taking advantage of downtown and the Rainey St. district, but also incorporating the natural elements of Butler Trail and Lady Bird Lake outside our front door.

What part of your own personality/life is embedded or intertwined with Austin? Being an active participant in the Austin community is something I take very seriously. The importance of music and the creative industry to this city cannot be understated, and I was honored to chair the Austin Music Commission for eight years and help lead the Austin Music Foundation for nine years. I am thrilled to have joined the board of the Trail Foundation, which manages the 10-mile Butler Trail, a city treasure that is more important today than ever for the health and well-being of all Austinites.

What advice would you give someone contemplating or committing to a move to Austin? Embrace the public process and know that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Be a community builder [and] do your part to preserve the cultural institutions that make Austin unique. Get out and enjoy all that Austin as to offer. Be open, helpful and friendly.

Austin is known for its live music. What’s your favorite sound and where have you experienced the best live music? There is so much talented and creative music here. My favorite sound is the type of music that gets people up on their feet. So many of Austin’s music venues feel like home to me, and I cannot wait to get back to Empire, Mohawk, Continental Club, Antone’s and Flamingo Cantina, to name a few.

Austin is also known as a culinary destination. Any hotspots or hidden gems you like to frequent? Too many to name. TLV, Backspace, Loro and Tacodeli are just a few of my favorites. [Also,] Magnolia after a night out and Daily Juice the next morning.

Who’s had the most influence on your life and why? On a daily basis, my children. Having children makes you think bigger picture about wanting to make your community and the world a better place for them and their children. My children and my wife give me hope and strength every day.

How is your work with Intracorp an extension of Austin? At Intracorp we build extraordinary homes, but we are also very involved in our communities. Austinites value quality, creativity, thinking big and giving back, which is what we’re all about. For example, when we had our groundbreaking at 44 East Ave., we made it a fun and interactive demolition party fundraiser and matched funds to raise money for the Trail Foundation [to make improvements to a city-owned park and the trail connection at the end of Rainey Street].

Brad Stein

Title: President, Intracorp Texas

Family: Wife, Lynne; son, Max, 18, and daughters, Abbey, 16, and Jordan, 12

Age: 46

Hometown: St. Louis

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Michigan; JD, St. Louis University Law School