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Old Posted Aug 4, 2003, 4:52 AM
Owlhorn Owlhorn is offline
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ZaZa Condos article
ZaZa developer to build condos next door

Condo-hotel concept to provide residents with perks like room service
Sandra Zaragoza Staff Writer

UPTOWN A high-end residence affiliated with Uptown's Hotel ZaZa promises to bring posh amenities like concierge assistance, housekeeping services and restaurant cuisine to a homeowner's doorstep.

Oklahoma-based Charles S. Givens Interest Inc., the developer behind Hotel ZaZa, is planning to edge into Dallas' condo-hotel niche with a five story, 33-unit condominium building adjacent to the hotel at 2403 Thomas Ave.

Condo-hotel units are sold as a condo but are managed by a hotel. Hotel ZaZa's management, Utah-based Gemstone Resorts International, will most likely oversee the ZaZa condo property, but the decision has not been finalized. The condo owners will have access to amenities enjoyed by Hotel ZaZa lodgers.

Hotel ZaZa, with its 146-rooms and 13 concept suites, is Dallas' first boutique hotel. The hotel community has closely monitored interest in the hip, urban hotel, which opened in the middle of a hotel slump last December.

Developer Charlie Givens says the hotel has performed better than predicted, but is not releasing occupancy rates.

Givens has specialized in high-end condominiums, lakeside resorts and upscale retirement communities over the last decade. This is his first Dallas project.

The condo project, which has no official name, is expected to break ground between March and July. The units will range in size from 1,280 square feet to 2,950 square feet and will sell for about $250,000 to $595,000.

The condo-hotel niche is not totally unique to ZaZa. The Plaza Turtle Creek in Dallas, a two-building complex with 165 units, is the only property of its kind managed by a five-star hotel, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, according to its management.

The Plaza's residences range in price from $400,000 to $3 million for 1,300 square feet to 7,800 square feet. Real estate agents say the Plaza continues to attract major traffic from buyers in the market.

A buyer's comfort level in hotel-run residential properties has played an integral part in the success of such projects, said Sissy Alsabrook, vice president at Briggs-Freeman Real Estate Brokerage.

"People can identify (with the hotel/condo concept), it is a known commodity. If it is an individual or group-owned complex they don't know what to expect as far as management, as opposed to knowing a chain hotel and knowing what they're getting," Alsabrook said.

Experts say that in the past few years, condos affiliated with luxury hotels have appreciated faster in value than condos that don't have that affiliation.

"A condominium that is associated with a Ritz-Carlton or Hotel ZaZa receives premium pricing, the services are viewed very positively in the marketplace," said David Brown of Metrostudy, a Houston-based residential advisory service.

At least one other developer, Fort-Worth based Crescent Real Estate Equities, is rumored to be considering a condo-hotel project in the Uptown area. The company declined comment.

Givens believes the market conditions are ripe for the ZaZa-affiliated condo.

"It is a unique product that will have a synergy with Hotel ZaZa itself, and that is something no one else will have," Givens said.

Condo owners will tap into the Hotel ZaZa lifestyle through an optional membership program called Club ZaZa. For an undisclosed membership fee owners receive many of the hotel's amenities. Among them: 24-hour room service, housekeeping services and the ZaSpa and Fitness Center.

Alsabrook believes that the condos will pique the interest of a small market. "But, it will find its niche," she said.

Ted Wilson, partner with consultant Residential Strategies Inc., says the high-rise residence market is extremely competitive, but targeting a specific niche "is exactly what they should be doing."

Givens believes the condos will have wide appeal, attracting both young professionals and empty nesters.

The condo's architecture will have the same "French character" as Hotel ZaZa, Givens said. Design will be handled by Oklahoma-based Richard R. Brown and Associates, but a builder has not yet been named.

Contact DBJ writer Sandra Zaragoza at szaragoza@bizjournals.com or (214) 706-7113.
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