The 41-floor downtown Austin condo tower project at 84 East Avenue has completed the demolition of existing buildings at its 0.4-acre site and officially entered the construction phase, according to its local developers at Pearlstone Partners and the New York-based investors ATCO Properties. The Rainey Street-adjacent tower, which Pearlstone announced today will be called Vesper, is expected to bring 284 condos to the district at an average size of 975 square feet per unit.
Since we’re always down to hear a developer explain the rationale behind a new building’s name, we were happy to see Pearlstone CEO Robert Lee take a stab at the East Avenue project’s “Vesper” branding: “The word ‘vesper’ means ‘evening star’ or ‘evening prayer,’ but we chose the name more for how it aligns with the vibe and concept of the project than its literal meaning,” Lee says. “Vesper will be authentic Austin, embracing the city’s unique artisan culture. It will convey a sense of unpretentious luxury, like a craft cocktail lounge, with a high-desert, Marfa feel and nods to the Rainey Street nightlife mingled throughout the building.” (Doesn’t Marfa also see a lot of Austin-inspired growth these days? Snake’s eating its own tail, man.)
Beyond the branding, the most interesting aspect of this project is its targeted pricing, which Pearlstone describes as a sort of “missing middle” for new-build residential towers in downtown — the developer reportedly hopes to price the majority of its units between the $500,000 – $999,000 range, which is nothing to sneeze at but also significantly undercuts similar condo projects in the area, bringing in a market that might otherwise be priced out of a new downtown residence. 10 of Vesper’s units will be reserved for affordable housing through the City of Austin, priced for households earning up to 80 percent of the area’s Median Family Income — that’s up to $55,400 a year for an individual or $79,100 a year for a family of four.
Anticipated common amenities include a rooftop community clubhouse, sky-deck pool, cabana, outdoor kitchen, fireplace and lounge; a resident fitness studio, featuring private spin and yoga studios; a sky dog park, lawn and dog-washing station; a community courtyard and gathering table; and a coworking space on the ground floor. The rear lobby will feature a public art gallery and mural showcasing works by local artists, with direct pedestrian access to Rainey Street and its many inviting shops, eclectic variety of restaurants and cafes, live music venues and other entertainment options.
— Vesper Announcement, Pearlstone / ATCO
A current view of the alley between Rainey Street and East Avenue, that if paved could provide significantly enhanced access to buildings around the district.
Our previous coverage pointed out the building’s location along the section of East Avenue that also serves as the I-35 frontage road under TxDOT jurisdiction presented some streetscape design challenges for the project and made the inclusion of ground-level retail difficult, but the project will still bring an interesting feature to the neighborhood by paving its section of the alley between Rainey Street and East Avenue, providing pedestrian access from the building directly to Rainey’s retail district and a rear art gallery space on the ground level of the tower. Paving this alley has been a huge priority for us as a necessary improvement to the district’s walkability for years now, so this project putting some money towards that goal is major.
Other project partners include the architects at STG Design, civil engineers at Wuest Group, interior designers at McCray & Co., landscape architects at dwg., and general contractors at AECOMHunt. Vesper is currently scheduled for delivery in 2024.