Key physics issues in the design of a high-beta quasi-axisymmetric stellarator configuration are discussed. The goal of the design study is a compact stellarator configuration with aspect ratio comparable to that of tokamaks and good transport and stability properties. Quasi-axisymmetry has been used to provide good drift trajectories. Ballooning stabilization has been accomplished by strong axisymmetric shaping, yielding a stellarator configuration whose core is in the second stability regime for ballooning modes. A combination of externally generated shear and non-axisymmetric corrugation of the plasma boundary provides stability to external kink modes even in the absence of a conducting wall. The resulting configuration is also found to be robustly stable to vertical modes, increasing the freedom to perform axisymmetric shaping. Stability to neoclassical tearing modes is conferred by a monotonically increasing i profile. A gyrokinetic delta f code has been used to confirm the adequacy of the neoclassical confinement. Neutral beam losses have been evaluated with Monte Carlo codes.