Riding the High-Rise Rush
The latest real estate craze has everything Dallas loves status, sophistication, and style.
Prowling Dallas for a luxury high-rise apartment is like shopping for a hot new sports coupe. All the good stuff is there: exhilaration, prestige, and the lure of a lifestyle. Not to mention the lengthy anticipation before delivery. Even the doubts are the same: Is this me? Am I ready for this? I love it now, but what about tomorrow – or next year?
For many mid-lifers, the thought of moving into a high-rise is so appealing that they can’t wait to hand over the keys to the family home. Then there are the singles who work in the downtown area and are almost giddy over the idea of high-rise living. No traffic. No dopey little yard. In a fast-paced city like Dallas, the attraction of this maintenance-free lifestyle is almost irresistible.
But let’s not forget the gambler mentality. Most of the hundreds of high-rise buyers are not only buying on blind faith – accepting that values are sound and prices are reasonable – they are literally buying blind. Chances are, if you buy into one of the new luxury high-rises, you won’t actually get to see the place. If you want the good deals, then rumblings, renderings, and miniature models must suffice. It’s a fact in today’s bullish condo market that the most desirable units are selling pre-construction; there’s no lingering over Perrier in the hospitality suite. Units are so popular that there is no need (and no time) for dawdling.
So how does one buy with some assurance that this major investment is sound? Take some advice from the condo converts. They’ve done their homework, assessed the dirt, and asked all the right questions: Does this building/unit meet my future needs and aspirations? Are the available amenities what I want (parking, pool, spa, valet, etc.)? Is the location convenient? Does the style agree with mine? Is the price within my range? How will the neighborhood evolve in the future? What is security like? When will the unit be ready? Is the timing right for me?
With less upkeep, more amenities, and an abundance of restaurants and shops, the question at this point isn’t why, but why not? Maturing homeowners and young professionals are on the move – jumping on this fast track. One thing is for sure: Dallas has not seen anything like this since Turtle Creek was first developed in the late 1950s.
Sizing Up the Future of High-Rises
THE INSIDE SCOOP ON DALLAS TRENDIEST NEW DIGS
Northeast of downtown, new residential units are sprouting like bluebonnets in the spring. These additions, ranging from redos of the venerable Stoneleigh Hotel and Maple Terrace, to the sleek new Azure, will add a definite twist to the existing neighborhood. Factor in historic State-Thomas and the ever expanding Arts District, and the result is an upbeat composite of old and new in a pedestrian-friendly setting full of restaurants, shops, and galleries.
2900 Mckinnon St.
Buzz: It’s 65 percent sold. One of the developers, Harwood, owns 15 city blocks in the area, so don’t be surprised by future urban infrastructure.
Just the facts: 31-story tower. 202 units with one-bedrooms starting at 1,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet for a penthouse. $350-$500 per square foot. Word is that one-bedrooms will price around $400,000 to $500,000 and two-bedrooms around $560,000 to $750,000. Homeowners association fee: 45 cents per square foot per month (terraces are not included).
Dates: Move in spring 2007.
Azure Residents: Young, stylish and wealthy; the parking garage will have the
snazziest cars in town. So far, mostly local couples (a few newly engaged) as well as a dozen East and West Coast commuters with family or work in Dallas.
Notable Details: The G2 garage – one gate into covered garage, another door into your own private parking area (no one will know your comings and goings or ding your Porsche). Open floor plans with high ceilings and contemporary design – well insulated against noise and weather. Residences are pre-wired for any state-of-the-art sound and security systems. Ultra-cool water features from ex-Disney guru Mark Fuller (WET Design).
Curb Appeal: With tons (literally) of glass and limestone, and a futuristic silhouette, the Azure will satisfy those who crave Uptown style and can sacrifice hotel amenities.
2215 Cedar Springs Rd.
Buzz: They may still be leasing but we all know the building is for sale. We even have condo unit prices. But since they won’t talk on the record, we can’t tell their story.
3001 Maple Ave.
Buzz: Renovation/condo conversion. Preliminary plans are underway for a new 16-story tower replacing the old carport, with 100-150 condo units, designed with original Maple Terrace flavor. The original 80-unit building is to be renovated as well. Eight townhomes are also in the plan. Remaining rental units have been gobbled up by savvy residents hoping for insider price breaks early on.
Just the Facts: At press time, prices were rumored to be around $285 per square foot in existing building and $310 per square foot in new tower (plus optional upgrades).
Dates: Ground breaking first quarter 2006, move in late 2007.
Terrace Tenants: The same creative, eccentric people who live there now.
Notable Details: Set on 3.3 acres with a large garden, pool, and entertaining area. Amenities to include a new fitness center and club room.
Curb Appeal: No identity crisis here. Looks like a good value in a great neighborhood – if you’re into an artsy, version of the Rat Pack.
The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton
2525 North Pearl
Buzz: If you’re reading this, no matter how blue your blood, you’re probably too late – only 14 units remain, nothing under $1 million. Even the sales model is well-bred a recent ASID award was presented to Sherry Hayslip for her sumptuous design.
Just the Facts: 70 condos on floors 9-21. Square footage prices $600-$1,000. Monthly maintenance fee of 70 cents per square foot (not including terraces, thankfully).
Date: Move in summer 2007.
Ritz Regulars: Old and new moneyed, 85 percent of these buyers are local. They’re the Park Cities and Preston Hollow empty nesters tired of making their own hair appointments and resetting the sprinklers. Add a decade to the average age at the W and a little fluff, and you’ve got the group – whose toughest remaining decision is their choice of spa
Notable Details: They’re all corner units with a view, including a penthouse with a 3,700-square-foot terrace. Private entrances, custom build-outs, and Ritz-Carlton five-star service from top to bottom. Everyone gets a bat phone, aka 24/7 concierge service for pet walking, party chefs, in-room spa treatments, and, well, anything else you can think of.
Curb Appeal: The 12th Ritz-Carlton hotel/condo venture in the United States, it’ll be gorgeous inside (Sherry Hayslip) and out (Robert A. M. Stern), and a no-brainer for our city’s cognoscenti.
The Stoneleigh Residences
2927 Maple Ave.
Buzz: Hotel being renovated and building a condo next door. Word-of-mouth pre-sales at 10 percent.
Just the Facts: The new 21-story tower will have 97 units, primarily one- and two-bedrooms, between 1,250 and 3,700 square feet. Six penthouses will be sold as shells on the top two floors. $380,000 for a 1,250-square-foot one-bedroom to $2.5+ million for a 4,600-square-foot penthouse.
HOA dues: 41 cents per square foot.
Date: Move in late 2007.
The Residents: Look for those already nearby to move in, including Uptown townhouse and apartment dwellers who are tired of walking up three flights of stairs and making their own dinner. Single professional women and empty nesters will claim the rest. Not the W or Ritz crowd, this cool, eclectic group is attracted to the panache of the original Stoneleigh apartment hotel.
Notable Details: All hotel amenities and a private, resident-only outdoor-terraced entertainment area with pool, cabanas, and fireplace. Look for a full spa in the original building.
Curb Appeal: The same Beaux Arts feeling of the original building will carry over. Rumor has it that the original clay pits have been located and will be used for the new tower’s masonry and stucco fade. Some will say, it’s about time, the place needed a facelift. Others will get that this renovation uniquely bridges the old and the new in an already pedestrian-friendly area.
Dwellers along the prized boulevard, make room for your new cousins. In your wildest dreams, did you ever think a neighboring building would offer residents private elevators and spiral staircases majestically connecting hall foyers to second-floor landings? This new crop of buildings is all about custom luxuries. Joining the prime condominium crowd, (along with the likes of the Vendome, Renaissance, and Mansion-managed Plaza I and II), is Cresta Bella and condo convert, The Rienzi. Just remember, they may be fancier, snappier, and amenity rich, but any address on (or near) Turtle Creek says it all.
2700 Hood St.
Buzz: Many of these custom high-rise homes have been spoken for, at least one of which covers 13,000 square feet.
Just the Facts: 55 large units (minimum square footage 2,600) in a 22-floor building adjacent to and managed by The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Units priced from $1 to $11 million. Maintenance fees: approximately 40 cents per square foot.
Cresta Clients: Shh…. With private elevator service into your foyer, you will never know your rich neighbors. Local interest has come from empty nesters, Fortune 500 execs in the second home market, SMU parents who can’t say goodbye to their kids, and roosting grandparents who can.
Date: Move in 2007.
Notable Details: These are truly empty shells awaiting custom floor plans and build-outs. Four to six condos in the works, with only one under contract. Although residents get all Mansion amenities, hotel guests can’t crash the private spa, pool with cabanas and attendant (very Beverly Hills Hotel), or his and her workout rooms.
Curb Appeal: Think Old World, Italian with limestone and granite exteriors, wrought iron balconies, and a grand portecochere entrance. Exclusive, pricey, and prestigious; if you ante up with these big boys, everyone will come to your (Mansion catered) dinner parties.
Rienzi at Turtle Creek
3500 Fairmount St.
Buzz: This recent condo conversion has two units sold. The Rienzi was close to 90 percent occupied prior to the change in ownership and about 20-25 percent of tenants are expected
Just the Facts: Comprising 154 condos, the building originally went up in 2001 as leased units. Condos range from 812 to 3,446 square feet and are priced from $215,000 to $1 million. Custom units of 4,000+ square feet available.
Date: Move in now.
Rienzi Residents: Turtle Creek-type folks who love the address and feel of a smaller condo building. From young professionals to empty nesters. The building must have passed the white glove test: a former Rosewood Hotel CEO is currently decking out a custom unit.
Notable Details: Lots of amenities for a non-hotel affiliated condo. Valet, 24-hour concierge, porter, business center, club room, fitness center, terrace, and pool. High-end finish out.
Curb Appeal: Designed to look like an Italian villa, this feels very luxurious for a not so over-the-top price.
This $3+ billion, 75-acre, mixed-use development on the edge of downtown will make a stunning addition to Dallas burgeoning urban repertoire as well as to the skyline. Vertical tiers of sophisticated housing, hot restaurants and unique retail – not to mention the already successful American Airlines Center. Pay attention to this enormous venture. Victory is raising the live, work, and play concept to a new level.
W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences
2425 North Houston St.
Buzz: The south tower is all that’s left and 25 percent of it is reserved. There might be one penthouse left in the north tower. Expect 10 penthouses in the south tower, most bi-level.
Just the Facts: The 61 units of the north tower (on top of hotel) will be connected to the 15-story, 83-unit south tower by a dedicated residents-only passageway on the second floor of the garage. All W Hotel amenities, including skip-to-the-front-of-the-line privileges in hotel restaurants and bars. South tower units range from 1,000-5,000 square feet and from $375,000 to well over $1 million. HOA fee: 60 cents per square foot per month, including terrace square footage.
Cool Company: Meet the arena chic, a very active 35-50-year-old crowd who loves the nightlife and hip retail. Sophisticated empty nesters, into minimalist design and maximum entertainment possibilities, as well as a few high-profile families, will temper the effect of all those single men at this dude ranch.
Notable details: Floor-to-ceiling glass walls, Varenna kitchen systems, and stone bathrooms with seamless glass shower enclosures. Love the hamper pick-up/closet-delivery laundry service and weekly plant maintenance. Pool and fitness center on the south side.
Curb Appeal: If you want Old World, this is not your stop. David Cadwallader Design is involved. Contemporary, urban hip in a lively setting.
The Terrace at Victory Park
2323 North Houston St.
Buzz: Part of Victory Phase II, The Terrace is one of several residential condominium buildings planned. It will be a 95-unit, seven-story building above 24,000 square feet of specialty retail. Insiders have already grabbed 60 units.
Dates: Sales to the public began early-June. Move in summer of 2006.
Just the Facts: Designed by Zero 3, condos will range from severe modern to soft contemporary. Prices look to be much lower than down the block at the W. One-bedrooms start low $200,000 and two-bedroom, two-baths start at or below $400,000.
Terrace Tenants: So far they’re all insiders…hip, young to middle-aged professionals in the know. Eco-boomers (baby boomers with a conscience).
Notable Details: This condo/retail location overlooks a park and sits on a pedestrian-only street. Cool lounge, downtown patio dining, pool, and fitness center. Very pet friendly. Nearby grocery store in the works. Technologies such as digital thumbprint entry. Private underground parking.
Curb Appeal: Anything and everything about Victory is going to be fabulous. Consider this area the sun in an urban solar system.
NEWEST DOWNTOWN DEALS
The rebirth of downtown is really happening, whether you’ve noticed or not. With tax incentives and growing retail/restaurant enthusiasm, the residential outlook is decisively up. Several commercial buildings have been remodeled into high-rise condos and at least six others are slated to start as rentals (with future condo conversion dreams) including the DP&L (just opened its doors for leasing), Mercantile Tower/block, Republic Bank Buildings, Gulf State Building, Union Tower Complex, and the Continental Building. Restaurants like Iron Cactus are building clientele as is the much publicized grocery store, Urban Market (with 134 lofts located above).
1505 Elm Residences
1505 Elm Street
Buzz: One of the first true high-rise condo offerings in downtown, this building makes a strong case for luxury life in the city.
Just the Facts: It is 90 percent sold to upwardly mobile young professionals. Comprised of 67 luxury units, priced $200,000-$370,000. Recently polished up by new owners Rick Sapio and Calvin Carter, the building has 24-hour concierge and valet, underground wine vault, swimming pool and party deck, dog run, private movie theater, fitness room, sauna, massage room, and a variety of common areas. One of the first true high-rise offerings downtown, this building makes a strong case for condo life in the city.
1200 Main St.
Buzz: 283 condominiums and 10,000 square feet of new retail planned. Sales and marketing began in June. Units will start under $150,000.
SoCo Urban Loft Condominiums
Buzz: One of the recent condo conversions in downtown, 11 stories, 203 units, from mid-$100s. Ready to begin closing now that more than 30 percent have been reserved.
What? Yep, these are the first of many that will elevate residential living in neighborhoods outside of the immediate in-town area. Including hotel affiliated buildings and condo-converts, these developments prove that there are truly no boundaries for our vertical growth.
The Residences at Hotel Palomar
5656 North Central Expwy.
Buzz: Twenty-five percent were sold within the first three weeks, and there’s not even a model available yet.
Just the Facts: This is the original Hilton at Mockingbird and Central, reinvented as a mixed-use property, including the four-star Hotel Palomar and restaurant, a nine-story condo tower with four first-floor villas, 12 lofts, and 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space. Kimpton Hotels, the high-end San Francisco-based boutique hotelier, will operate the hotel and Sommerset Management Company will manage the residential components. 71 units. 1,000 square feet for lofts to more than 5,000 square feet for penthouses. Prices range between $350,000 and $2.5 million, depending on elevation
Date: Move in spring 2006.
Palomar People: Park Cities, Lakewood, and M Street folks who like hotel amenities and don’t relate to the Ritz old school or the mod squad at the W. Young professionals are putting dibs on the 12 low-rise lofts.
Notable Details: They provide complete hotel amenities, including room service, concierge, private parking, and valet. Condos share spa and fitness amenities with hotel guests but have private entrances, parking, terraces, and outdoor/pool area. Oklahoma flagstone around the pool, layered planting, wrought-iron gates, stone courtyard, cool gardens, and Southwestern theme, courtesy Linda Tycher. Interior design by Paul Draper & Associates in soft toned woods, carpets, limestone tiles, and granite countertops.
Curb Appeal: There’s a little something for everyone here, including value. You’ve got DART, the expressway, Katy Trail extension, shopping, and restaurants – not to mention a boutique hotel chain with a proven record. Need we say more?
330 E. Las Colinas Blvd. Irving.
Buzz: First high-rise condominium in Las Colinas, this is a condo conversion of a property that originally started leasing in June 2002. Enough commitments have been made (probably over 30 percent) for closings to have started ahead of plan.
Just the Facts: The 17-story high-rise has 247 units ranging from 730 to 3,070 square feet. Prices begin at $150,000, with a three-bedroom penthouse going for $1 million.
Date: Move in now.
Condo Converts: We’re talking Las Colinas young professionals, Fortune 500 empty nesters, and others who make the DFW trek on a regular basis.
Notable Details: Amenities include rooftop swimming, garden terrace, spa, concierge, fitness center, doorman, and valet.
Curb Appeal: A big step up from the neighborhood garden apartments, this is currently the only high-rise game in Las Colinas.
Galleria North Condominium Tower
Northwest corner of Alpha and Noel Roads
Buzz: A 20-story condominium tower from the Mockingbird Group.
Just the Facts: 126 units. One-, two-, and three-bedroom condos from 850 to 3,500 square feet in a contemporary Mediterranean style.
Date: Groundbreaking and sales pavilion set for fall 2005.
Galleria Shoppers: Expect young, upwardly mobile professionals who like North Dallas. Some early empty nesters and business travelers who frequent Dallas.
Notable Details: On-site amenities to include pool, spa, Sky Club, fitness center, valet, concierge, and puppy park.
Curb Appeal: Shop and eat your heart out at the newly renovated Galleria.
The Amalfi Addison
(no street address at Press time)
Buzz: Sharif-Munir and Redwood Residential Properties will break ground spring 2006 on an 11-story high-rise next to The Village on the Parkway.
Just the Facts: 80 units, from 1,900 to 6,000+ square feet. Prices will start in the $600s. These will be large units, on average 3,000 square feet.
Dates: Marketing center scheduled to open in August. Move in slated for fall 2007.
The Tenants: North of the loop empty-nesters, young retirees, and some young professionals. This will be one of the first high-rise opportunities for Plano, Frisco, and McKinney locals.
Notable Details: Amenities will include two parks, pool, outdoor entertainment area, spa, library, and club room. Won’t have to wait for restaurant or retail development with Village on the Parkway right next door.
Curb Appeal: This is a new luxury option in an already established neighborhood.
As always, it’s a numbers game.
If you think you’re seeing signage for brand-new luxury high-rises popping up everywhere, it’s not your imagination. North Texas Real Estate Information Systems reports that in the first three months of 2005, local condominium sales were up at least 10 percent over the same period last year. More notably, square-footage prices have been climbing. Records from research firm Foley & Puls, Inc., show that at the end of 2004, luxury condos were selling for an average of $325 per square foot at an average unit price of $865,000. Today, just seven months later, the newest crop of uber-swank condos are selling for an average of $485 per square foot at an average unit price of over $1 million. That’s compelling math.
And, of course, Dallasites love their amenities, which means the hotel-affiliated units are in greatest demand, as evidenced by quick – make that, breath-taking – sales success at the residences at the Ritz Carlton and W Hotel. (At time of press, only 20 percent of the units remained at the Ritz, and the north tower of the W was virtually sold-out. The Was new south tower is 25 percent committed.) The Residences at Hotel Palomar, managed by boutique hotel operator Kimpton, hadn’t even opened its marketing center when buyers started calling for floor plans and prices. Market research from Virginia-based Delta Group indicates that hotel residences appreciate in value much faster than non-affiliated condos – up to 22 percent faster. They also typically cost between 20-40 percent more than conventional units. (But what do you expect when you’re getting a valet, concierge, butler, housekeeper and a pet walker?)
Net, net: Dallasites are discovering what New Yorkers have known all along – high-rise living is easy, elegant, and civilized. And we certainly aren’t the only ones: San Diego, Denver, and Phoenix are reporting phenomenal urban growth and escalating residential resale figures. Buyers in Miami line up overnight to get in on pre-construction, high-rise condo sales. So forget any Chicken Little-like reservations lurking in the back of your mind. No one thinks this skyline is falling anytime soon. – LZ