First look: Inside the next skyscraper to rise off Rainey Street

Construction could start as early as October on 44 East, the latest condominium tower set to rise near Austin’s Rainey Street Historic District.

It is the first Austin development for Intracorp Projects Ltd., a Vancouver, Canada-based company known for building urban residences. Brad Stein, senior vice president and managing director for Intracorp, said the 49-story tower would set “a new standard in Austin” in terms of location, design, views and value.

This week the developer unveiled renderings of what the units will look inside the tower just steps from the hike and bike trail along Lady Bird Lake. The company also released a more detailed rendering of the exterior of the tower seen from street level.

Page Southerland Page Inc. designed the building and its 322 units. Michael Hsu Office of Architecture designed the common areas and amenity floor. DWG is the landscape architect. A general contractor hasn’t been hired yet.

Larry Speck, senior principal at Page, said the building site is special because it’s across lightly trafficked Cummings Street from the network of trails that ring Lady Bird Lake.

“We are really close to the park like no other condo building in town,” he said. “We wanted to really take advantage of that.”

Two heritage trees on the site were preserved and incorporated into the design, Speck said.

The tower was also designed to take advantage of spectacular views, he said. The building juts out to the northwest to allow for panoramic views of the skyline and the water. It also juts out to the southeast to take advantage of 270-degree panoramic views.

“At  that southeast corner there are some living rooms where you have a view from three directions,” he said. “You are looking west, south and east.”

Speck said the attention to detail extended even to designing the parking garage. It will be sheathed in glass, metal and planters.

Sales at 44 East will begin in early September with the opening of a 5,000-square- foot sales center at 401 W. Third St. Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors will market and sell the condos.

The tower will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom residences as well as four-bedroom penthouses. Some of the smaller one-bedroom units will list for less than $400,000. The penthouses will list for $2 million to $4 million.

“I think it shows that we have something for everybody,” Stein said. “That is another thing that is really unique about this project.”

There’s ground-floor space for retail and restaurants that will take advantage of the nearby trail. A 500-space parking garage will serve residents and the public.

Market dynamics

Intracorp’s project is getting off the ground at the same time most of downtown’s new condo towers are selling out. There are less than 70 units left to be sold between 70 Rainey, The Independent and Austin Proper, Stein said.

“For us that shows great absorption in the market and great demand right now, and we still think a limited supply,” he said.

Other projects are also planned or underway elsewhere on Rainey Street and nearby. Here are updates on a few:

  • Kevin Burns, founder of UrbanSpace, is developing his own 51-story high-rise with 290 apartments and a 293-room hotel at 90-92 Rainey St. The project is just beginning the entitlement process with the city of Austin.
  • Construction has started on The Quincy, Endeavor Real Estate Group LLC ‘s 30- story apartment tower at 91-93 Red River St. MetLife Investment Management, MetLife Inc.’s (NYSE: MET) institutional asset management business, recently signed on as an equity partner. The building is expected to be finished in the third quarter of 2020. The tower will contain 72,997 square feet of office space, 10,545 square feet of retail space and 347 apartment units.
  • Construction will start next week on Natiivo Austin — a new hotel-like concept created by Miami, Florida-based NGD Homesharing in a partnership with California- based Airbnb Inc. Pearlstone Partners is also a developer of the the 33-story high- rise at 48 East Ave., which will offer condos for sale that can’t be lived in full time. Buyers are encouraged to list their units on Airbnb when they aren’t using them.
  • Genesis Real Estate Group is developing a 50-story apartment tower overlooking Lady Bird Lake in the spot of the old Villas on Town Lake property.
  • The 164-unit condo tower 70 Rainey by Sackman Enterprises Inc. is complete and most of the units are sold.
  • WeWork Companies Inc. owns 4.7 acres at Red River and East Cesar Chavez streets, where it could develop up to three mixed-use towers with office, hotel, multifamily and retail uses, based on the site plan.