The Rainey Street Historic District—a 12-acre wedge of land that forms the southeast corner of downtown—has for decades garnered an outsized level of interest in its development. As it has transitioned, predictably, from contested single-family neighborhood to entertainment district/civic cultural space to the locus of a dense cluster of high rises (mostly hotels and residences), that scrutiny has only intensified.

Recent discussions about the neighborhood have included the possibilities of making it a car-free zone and/or extending Red River Street to allow better traffic flow of all kinds. The city's granting of height variances for three new towers led to a conversation about revamping the area's density-bonus regulations. That process, in turn and somewhat unpredictably, led to a larger discussion of removing all limits around floor-to-area ratios—the crucial element in the density equation—in the downtown area and excising the Austin City Council's role in the downtown bonus program altogether.

In the meantime, one of the three new high-rises that helped start the fire, so to speak, is moving forward with construction and has been christened with an official name. Formerly known by the placeholders "84 East" and "East Tower," the building soon rising at at 82 and 84 East Avenue has been officially dubbed Vesper.

Yes, that word (usually in its plural form) still refers to evening prayers—or, more loosely, evening events/rituals/what have you that happen around the emergence of the evening star. We don't know if the Vesper team knows this, but, according to old friend Merriam-Webster, the word "vespertilian" can refer to bats and their dusk-timed emergence and therefore loops around to the whole Austin thing, kind of. And no, we don't know if the naming will have any effect on Vesper Austin, a church-connected Eastside community and events space that already exists.

Adjacent to the Homewood Suites on IH-35, the 270,000-square-foot Vesper (the new one) will rise to 446 feet, with 41 stories featuring 283 condos, a rooftop swimming pool, a fitness center, co-working space, a dog park, a 24-hour concierge, valet parking, and a ground-floor art gallery. Ten of the units will be city-designated as affordable housing and reserved for buyers who earn up to 80 percent of the Austin median family income.

Vesper is a project of Central Texas' Pearlstone Partners and New York-based ATCO Properties and Management. STG is designing the building, with Austin firm DWG handling the landscape design and McCray & Co. on interiors. AECOMHunt is the general contractor, and Wuest Group is the civil engineer. Prospect Real Estate is marketing the property.