Will The MACC Build A Tower In The Rainey Street District?

Will The MACC Build A Tower In The Rainey Street District?

It’s called Nahua Tower, and it’s a mixed-use tower design by Bercy Chen Studio.  “Bold” is an appropriate adjective to describe this design. Perhaps this is simply a conceptual exercise. But, if this or something like it were to ever get built, I believe it could be a showpiece for the city. Click the image and you’ll be taken to the Bercy Chen website where you can watch video of virtual ‘fly overs’ of the rendered building.

Nahua Tower Design By Bercy Chen Studio, Background Rendering by Mopacs @ SkyscraperPage

The Nahua Tower is being designed in collaboration with the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in Austin Texas. The tower will be built as an annex to the existing cultural center and provide an extension to the MACC’s existing facilities as well as residential condominiums. The base of the tower contains event, retail, and restaurant spaces, while the upper 28 floors are primarily residential condominiums.

The project takes inspiration from pre-colombian pyramidal architecture and incorporates these vernacular precedents into a modern tower using many traditional materials such as copper, onyx, and pit-house style bermed construction.

Thanks to KevinFromTexas for the heads up – the Nahua Tower concept/vision has been on the books for a while now.


About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. Bercy Chen are amazing. I hope the financing comes together.

  2. Will it get built? chances are no. Capital markets have dried up along with alot of demand for high rise living in austin. Until the current buildings under construction sell out which may be 2 years from now, nothing is going to get financing to start up.

    I would think the most optimistic view is this building could be ready in 2015.

    • Below is an update from Ryan Michael @ Bercy Chen Studio:

      “My understanding is that the project is on hold, mostly due to the difficulty of obtaining financing right now. The project was originally proposed as an extension of the MACC – the idea was to build the tower on their existing parking lot, then provide some spaces in the tower for their use. The images on the website were prepared during our discussions with the MACC board, who (if I remember correctly – this was a few years ago) were supportive of the
      idea. Unfortunately, the recession has made it slightly more challenging to build in general, and especially for large projects like this.

      Michael Casias is the developer we were working with on this, and the last time I spoke with him about the project he indicated he was still planning to pursue it once the lending / investment environment picked up a little bit.

      Hope that answers your questions, let me know if you need any more info. -Ryan”

      Thanks, Ryan!

  3. During the 30 years it took to build the MACC — it was first proposed in the 1970s — community backers consistently rejected collaborations with developers of residential or office towers. If that mindset has changed, and it may well have, given the presence of other towers in the neighborhood, then this conceptual project might have a chance to rise when the market rebounds.

  4. That’s a really cool concept. Plus the MACC could really use some additional exhibition space.

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