With a general real estate bonfire and more specific downtown Austin condo and apartment tower boom well underway in Austin, there’s never been a better time to obsess over the names of new buildings. It might seem trivial to you, but the branding of these projects is something a lot of people think about — both on the developer’s end, and for people like us on the other side making fun of names like “The Avenir.”
— The Real Deal (@trdny) December 22, 2021
So it was extremely relevant to our interests when well-known national real estate news outlet the Real Deal ran a story late last month profiling the local efforts of our exceedingly polite Canadian friends over at Intracorp Homes, which now runs an office here and has multiple projects cooking at the same time all around the city, with its 44 East Avenue condo tower topped out and nearing completion. Though details are fairly scarce for now, Intracorp has spent the last year quietly planning a tower for a land assembly within shouting distance of our beloved Austin Convention Center at the southwest corner of East Second and Trinity Streets, containing a hotel and an unknown number of residential units — most likely condos — in a building designed by Chicago-based architects Pappageorge Haymes, also behind the design of the fetching new tower proposed at 80 Rainey Street.
The 0.57-acre site includes Micheladas Café y Cantina — a Tex-Mex joint so mediocre it’s downright upsetting to think about how many convention visitors from around the globe have experienced this style of food for the very first time here — along with a historic house at 307 East Second Street, built at an unknown date but moved to this site in 1928 and most recently used as office space. (Don’t worry, the house in question is being relocated once again to a new location in East Austin.)
Friday’s announcement also teased what will be Intracorp’s fourth Austin project: a 50-story Downtown hotel-residential tower called the “Extraordinary.”
All this detail aside, the part of the Real Deal article that got us all stirred up was the supposed name of this latest tower: “Extraordinary,” or perhaps “The Extraordinary.” It’s right there in the article, and the project’s new site (and newly-established sales center at West Third and Guadalupe Streets, the same spot where Intracorp ran its sales center for 44 East) seems to confirm this name as well, at least to a casual observer: dubya dubya dubya dot “Extraordinary Rising” dot com. Unfortunately, that’s not the case — what Intracorp’s saying is they build extraordinary buildings as their motto, and this one will be equally extraordinary or perhaps even more extraordinary than ever. But it’s not called extraordinary. Does that make sense?
Extraordinary is not the name of the downtown project . . . https://extraordinaryrising.com/ is just the coming soon teaser website.
— Brad Stein, President, Intracorp Texas
Stein also went on to note that the tower is not 50 stories tall — in the plans we’ve seen, it’s somewhere closer to 64, although that number could change:
What’s truly, heh, extraordinary about this plan is how relatively calmly we all receive a building this size in downtown these days. A tower with 60-odd floors would likely make the structure exceed 700 feet in height, blowing past the current record at the 690-foot Independent condos but probably a little shorter than the 875-foot Sixth and Guadalupe project now under construction, which will also eventually lose its crown to the Waller Creek supertall waiting in the wings to crack the 1,000-footer mark.
The dizzying arms race for height downtown is something to watch, but we admit we’re actually kind of disappointed that Intracorp isn’t really naming this building “The Extraordinary.” In a sea of towers called The Quincy or The Avenir or The Loren or simply their address like 70 Rainey and 405 Colorado, just calling your building Extraordinary would honestly be pretty unique. It has a sort of whimsical magic show “presto chango” vibe, like maybe you go to the website and the logo is a GIF of a magic wand waving around. The branding of so many new buildings strives to exude class and elegance befitting their downtown price tags, and the result is rarely memorable — we’d like to see one of these new towers really lean into something weird. Anyway, if you want some ideas, just send us an email. We think about this stuff all day.