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  #941  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 8:34 PM
soleri soleri is online now
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,859
Dallas Revisited
Still Struggling After '80s Bust,
Downtown Tries to Woo Families

City Offers Incentives to Draw
Retailers and Apartments;
Competitors Build Nearby
A Place to Make Your Own Wine
By STEVE LEVINE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 28, 2005; Page A1

DALLAS -- Seventeen-month-old Beau Aveton may hold a little piece of the fate of downtown Dallas in his tiny hands.

Beset with one of the nation's most forlorn downtowns, Dallas is seeking salvation in a radical cure: a plan to convert most of the glass-and-steel business district into an upscale residential neighborhood. With his shock of brown hair, Beau is one of downtown's pioneering first babies -- the occupant, along with his parents, Noel and Zane Aveton, of the district's sole single-family home. The Avetons and others like them may be downtown Dallas's last great hope.

Lots of cities are trying to piggyback on the nation's new taste for condominiums and urban living. Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and others have encouraged developers to recycle old downtown buildings into chic residences while continuing to promote themselves as prime office locations. These areas mainly draw childless couples, couples with grown children, gays and wealthy, single professionals. But no city comes close to Dallas in residential zeal. Dallas, a city of 1.2 million, has given out some $160 million in grants and tax abatements with the goal of creating a residential haven for those seeking to escape the hundreds of square miles of sprawl that surround it.

The city's goal is to attract a critical mass of 10,000 downtown residences, which its consultants say will be sufficient to reel in a stable, tax-paying base of neighborhood boutiques and restaurants, ultimately launching a self-propelling economy. The plans don't call for swallowing up downtown's best office towers. But planners hope these buildings, which are still largely filled with office workers, will become islands in a sea of lofts, condominiums, apartments and shops.

Across the country, Americans are embracing urban living, particularly in places where they can live, work and shop all within a few city blocks. Many seek urban excitement in projects that promise clean streets and protection from urban crime. So-called mixed-use development is all the rage. According to real-estate research firms Property & Portfolio Research and Reed Construction Data, 21.6% of all new construction this year will be mixed use, compared with 17.5% in 2002.

One of Dallas's biggest challenges is competition. Just across a freeway from downtown, Ross Perot Jr., son of the computer entrepreneur and former presidential candidate, is building Victory, a $1 billion project of upscale condominiums, apartments and hotels. Even 40 miles up the road, developers are expanding Legacy Town Center, a successful urban project with $300,000 duplexes in the suburb of Plano. Both those rivals are also using the same strategy as Dallas -- set themselves apart by attracting unique shops selling brands and products unavailable almost anywhere else in the region.

If Dallas's gambit fails, its downtown may be consigned to long-term blight, as city residents, already saddled with debt for the current set of incentives, may be reluctant to take on more taxes to try anew. Instead, developers, retailers and homebuyers may turn even more aggressively to Dallas's outlying areas.

First settled in the 1840s as a trading post, Dallas became a hub for hide merchants, cotton sellers, bankers and European immigrants pouring into the flat, often blazing hot city situated 260 miles from the nearest coast.

In the 1980s, downtown Dallas was a swaggering business district. Fewer than 200 people lived there, but it buzzed with booming banks, oil companies and real-estate firms. Restaurants and shops filled the streets.

But in 1986 global oil prices plummeted, followed soon after by the collapse of the savings and loan industry. Office towers thrown up in the go-go years emptied out, and retailers fled to suburban malls. When the real-estate market stabilized, a third of the city's office space was vacant.

Today, the streets of Dallas's 1.3-square-mile downtown are largely deserted apart from homeless people toting backpacks and commuters darting between their cars and their offices. There are almost no stores, and some 20 vacant high-rises. About 160 acres of surface parking lots sit across downtown, many of them covering the ground where buildings once stood.

Signs of an apparent reawakening have buoyed downtown advocates. Cranes carrying out residential conversions dot the skyline. Hard-hatted construction crews interfere with foot and vehicle traffic on almost every street. Developers lured by grants, free rent and long tax holidays have already carved some 2,400 mostly upscale apartments, lofts and condominiums from old downtown offices and hotels, and another 2,040 or so are on the drawing board. Many of the converted buildings are almost full, and sales and rentals are brisk in many of the unfinished towers.


"It's not department stores and big office buildings so much as it is people magnets, walkability, density and diversity that will bring downtown Dallas back," says William Hudnut, an authority on municipal revitalization at the Washington-based Urban Land Institute.

Larry Hamilton, a 64-year-old Denver developer, gave Dallas's rebirth a jumpstart when he arrived to take a look in 1997. With a friend, he bought what were Dallas's two tallest buildings when they went up in the 1920s as the headquarters for a bank and an oil company.

"We thought it was cool, two yokels from Denver buying the two coolest buildings in Dallas," says Mr. Hamilton. At first, banks didn't agree -- some 60 rejected his application to convert the boarded up old Republic Bank building into 183 apartments. To seal a deal for $16 million in financing, or half the renovation cost, he and his 38-year-old son, Ted, finally had to pull together $2 million of their own money, plus city grants, tax credits and loan guarantees. Two years later, the former bank's 1926 facade was restored, and the building rapidly reached 98% occupancy.

Encouraged by their initial success, the Hamiltons bought two more downtown buildings for apartment conversions. One, the old Dallas Power & Light building, they wanted to convert into a "real hip, edgy project" by installing a multilevel Asian bar-restaurant in the apartment lobby, with blue lights, bamboo and an outdoor pool. Their architect cautioned against it, saying they might "alienate 90% of our market." They went ahead anyway. Today, the restaurant, called Fuse, is among downtown's most popular. Dallas Power & Light's 158 apartments are 81% occupied and have become a home for some city celebrities, including three Dallas Mavericks cheerleaders.

So far, few retailers appear interested in Dallas. Louis and Peggy Davion are among the exceptions.

Three years ago, Mr. Davion, 59, a laid-off computer specialist, and his real-estate-agent wife decided to go into business for themselves. When they began looking for a place for a wine shop, landlords in Dallas's suburbs largely ignored them. Not downtown, where city officials agreed to pay half the shop's $350,000 design cost and cover the first 18 months' rent, Mr. Davion says. In July, the Davions opened a mahogany- and oak-lined shop called Swirll.

The shop's big attraction is the chance to be your own winemaker, by combining Chardonnay, Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and other varietals into your own half-barrel-size blend.

That same month, Manuel Zambrana opened Urban Market, the district's first grocery.

A year ago, Mr. Zambrana was hired by a developer who planned to convert Dallas's former trolley depot into 134 lofts and a food store. Mr. Zambrana, a 56-year-old grocery consultant, was brought on to figure out whether the store was feasible.

Mr. Zambrana realized downtown lacked sufficient population to sustain a grocery. But in the classic downtown Catch-22, many people would not move to a place where they couldn't walk to buy a quart of milk. So he devised a hybrid, a grocery-cafe-bar. Patrons would be able to grab a scotch, a quesadilla and a bag of apples, all in one place. Mr. Zambrana prevailed over skeptical state licensing officials by installing plants as barriers and designating the bar not as a unit of the grocery, but a mezzanine.

"I wanted it to become a neighborhood place to relax and share with friends," Mr. Zambrana says. "It's not a singles bar. It's not a businessman's bar. It's Cheers." Just four months after opening, Urban Market is boisterous, and Mr. Zambrana expects to turn a profit in 24 months or so.

Among Mr. Zambrana's frequent patrons are Noel and Zane Aveton, along with their toddler, Beau. The Avetons seem to have been heading downtown all their lives. As a teenager in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Zane Aveton saved $75 in waitressing money to buy a 3-foot, Empire State Building that lights up. In her 20s, ascending the crest above Dallas in her car "made my heart skip a beat." So, three years after she and Noel, a 33-year-old architect, met outside Dallas's trendy Club One and eventually married, they started looking for downtown property.

One day in 2002, Zane, 39, spied a "for sale" sign outside a boxy, peeling, two-story printing factory. Some might have disregarded the 6,000-square-foot factory, filled with asbestos and stinking from printing chemicals. But Zane saw an ideal fixer-upper. After some haggling, the owner settled for a price of $260,000.

Though six years into the city's ostensible regeneration drive, it wasn't clear that Dallas was ready for the Avetons. A dozen banks pre-approved a loan but reversed themselves after seeing the building's condition. The couple was forced to revert to the seller, who agreed to proceed with the sale in exchange for a year of interest payments while the couple continued to hunt for a courageous lender. Ultimately, the couple gave up on Dallas banks and went to Houston, where photographs of other urban-loft renovations persuaded a bank to make the loan. The loan included an additional $30,000 to clear out the asbestos and tens of thousands more to make the building habitable.

In 2003, the Avetons moved in. Mrs. Aveton was three weeks pregnant.

Though there are no elementary schools downtown and the district has no playgrounds, the couple never considered moving elsewhere. "People thought when we were moving downtown that we weren't going to have children," says Mrs. Aveton, who is director of sales for Voicecom Telecommunications LLC. "But I don't believe that. I believe the family is what you create." Though three or four more families with young children also have moved downtown, it still sometimes seems Beau is the district's only kid, a colorful presence on the gray streets as he walks or is pushed in a stroller to Zambrana's or elsewhere.

Dallas faces competition from developers who have long been creating a cleaner, more convenient downtown experience throughout Dallas's suburbs. Plano's Legacy Town Center, for example, offers plums that were previously the sole preserve of big cities, such as a walking promenade, ritzy restaurants, cool boutiques and a busy nightlife. Farther north on the very fringes of the Dallas suburbs, the town of Frisco is doing the same thing, even subsidizing rent on Main Street's pizza joint to tide the owner over until a critical mass of people move in.

Against these forces, Dallas's original downtown needs to find another 5,500 or so people seeking a hard-core urban life. The city is pushing ahead, confident that it can. Recently, it agreed to its largest payout ever -- $70 million toward a more than $200 million refurbishment of nine blighted downtown structures by Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises. The company plans to build about 840 apartments and condominiums.

Housing prices are working in Dallas's favor. While the condo boom has pushed up prices in many cities and raised concerns about a possible bust, the boom has passed Dallas by. A two-bedroom condo can go for about $260,000. Karl Zavitkovsky, director of Dallas's Office of Economic Development, says that downtown Dallas won't be much affected by a market reversal because "you haven't had anything close to a condominium bubble here."
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  #942  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 8:34 PM
soleri soleri is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,859
Dallas Revisited
Still Struggling After '80s Bust,
Downtown Tries to Woo Families

City Offers Incentives to Draw
Retailers and Apartments;
Competitors Build Nearby
A Place to Make Your Own Wine
By STEVE LEVINE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 28, 2005; Page A1

DALLAS -- Seventeen-month-old Beau Aveton may hold a little piece of the fate of downtown Dallas in his tiny hands.

Beset with one of the nation's most forlorn downtowns, Dallas is seeking salvation in a radical cure: a plan to convert most of the glass-and-steel business district into an upscale residential neighborhood. With his shock of brown hair, Beau is one of downtown's pioneering first babies -- the occupant, along with his parents, Noel and Zane Aveton, of the district's sole single-family home. The Avetons and others like them may be downtown Dallas's last great hope.

Lots of cities are trying to piggyback on the nation's new taste for condominiums and urban living. Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and others have encouraged developers to recycle old downtown buildings into chic residences while continuing to promote themselves as prime office locations. These areas mainly draw childless couples, couples with grown children, gays and wealthy, single professionals. But no city comes close to Dallas in residential zeal. Dallas, a city of 1.2 million, has given out some $160 million in grants and tax abatements with the goal of creating a residential haven for those seeking to escape the hundreds of square miles of sprawl that surround it.

The city's goal is to attract a critical mass of 10,000 downtown residences, which its consultants say will be sufficient to reel in a stable, tax-paying base of neighborhood boutiques and restaurants, ultimately launching a self-propelling economy. The plans don't call for swallowing up downtown's best office towers. But planners hope these buildings, which are still largely filled with office workers, will become islands in a sea of lofts, condominiums, apartments and shops.

Across the country, Americans are embracing urban living, particularly in places where they can live, work and shop all within a few city blocks. Many seek urban excitement in projects that promise clean streets and protection from urban crime. So-called mixed-use development is all the rage. According to real-estate research firms Property & Portfolio Research and Reed Construction Data, 21.6% of all new construction this year will be mixed use, compared with 17.5% in 2002.

One of Dallas's biggest challenges is competition. Just across a freeway from downtown, Ross Perot Jr., son of the computer entrepreneur and former presidential candidate, is building Victory, a $1 billion project of upscale condominiums, apartments and hotels. Even 40 miles up the road, developers are expanding Legacy Town Center, a successful urban project with $300,000 duplexes in the suburb of Plano. Both those rivals are also using the same strategy as Dallas -- set themselves apart by attracting unique shops selling brands and products unavailable almost anywhere else in the region.

If Dallas's gambit fails, its downtown may be consigned to long-term blight, as city residents, already saddled with debt for the current set of incentives, may be reluctant to take on more taxes to try anew. Instead, developers, retailers and homebuyers may turn even more aggressively to Dallas's outlying areas.

First settled in the 1840s as a trading post, Dallas became a hub for hide merchants, cotton sellers, bankers and European immigrants pouring into the flat, often blazing hot city situated 260 miles from the nearest coast.

In the 1980s, downtown Dallas was a swaggering business district. Fewer than 200 people lived there, but it buzzed with booming banks, oil companies and real-estate firms. Restaurants and shops filled the streets.

But in 1986 global oil prices plummeted, followed soon after by the collapse of the savings and loan industry. Office towers thrown up in the go-go years emptied out, and retailers fled to suburban malls. When the real-estate market stabilized, a third of the city's office space was vacant.

Today, the streets of Dallas's 1.3-square-mile downtown are largely deserted apart from homeless people toting backpacks and commuters darting between their cars and their offices. There are almost no stores, and some 20 vacant high-rises. About 160 acres of surface parking lots sit across downtown, many of them covering the ground where buildings once stood.

Signs of an apparent reawakening have buoyed downtown advocates. Cranes carrying out residential conversions dot the skyline. Hard-hatted construction crews interfere with foot and vehicle traffic on almost every street. Developers lured by grants, free rent and long tax holidays have already carved some 2,400 mostly upscale apartments, lofts and condominiums from old downtown offices and hotels, and another 2,040 or so are on the drawing board. Many of the converted buildings are almost full, and sales and rentals are brisk in many of the unfinished towers.


"It's not department stores and big office buildings so much as it is people magnets, walkability, density and diversity that will bring downtown Dallas back," says William Hudnut, an authority on municipal revitalization at the Washington-based Urban Land Institute.

Larry Hamilton, a 64-year-old Denver developer, gave Dallas's rebirth a jumpstart when he arrived to take a look in 1997. With a friend, he bought what were Dallas's two tallest buildings when they went up in the 1920s as the headquarters for a bank and an oil company.

"We thought it was cool, two yokels from Denver buying the two coolest buildings in Dallas," says Mr. Hamilton. At first, banks didn't agree -- some 60 rejected his application to convert the boarded up old Republic Bank building into 183 apartments. To seal a deal for $16 million in financing, or half the renovation cost, he and his 38-year-old son, Ted, finally had to pull together $2 million of their own money, plus city grants, tax credits and loan guarantees. Two years later, the former bank's 1926 facade was restored, and the building rapidly reached 98% occupancy.

Encouraged by their initial success, the Hamiltons bought two more downtown buildings for apartment conversions. One, the old Dallas Power & Light building, they wanted to convert into a "real hip, edgy project" by installing a multilevel Asian bar-restaurant in the apartment lobby, with blue lights, bamboo and an outdoor pool. Their architect cautioned against it, saying they might "alienate 90% of our market." They went ahead anyway. Today, the restaurant, called Fuse, is among downtown's most popular. Dallas Power & Light's 158 apartments are 81% occupied and have become a home for some city celebrities, including three Dallas Mavericks cheerleaders.

So far, few retailers appear interested in Dallas. Louis and Peggy Davion are among the exceptions.

Three years ago, Mr. Davion, 59, a laid-off computer specialist, and his real-estate-agent wife decided to go into business for themselves. When they began looking for a place for a wine shop, landlords in Dallas's suburbs largely ignored them. Not downtown, where city officials agreed to pay half the shop's $350,000 design cost and cover the first 18 months' rent, Mr. Davion says. In July, the Davions opened a mahogany- and oak-lined shop called Swirll.

The shop's big attraction is the chance to be your own winemaker, by combining Chardonnay, Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and other varietals into your own half-barrel-size blend.

That same month, Manuel Zambrana opened Urban Market, the district's first grocery.

A year ago, Mr. Zambrana was hired by a developer who planned to convert Dallas's former trolley depot into 134 lofts and a food store. Mr. Zambrana, a 56-year-old grocery consultant, was brought on to figure out whether the store was feasible.

Mr. Zambrana realized downtown lacked sufficient population to sustain a grocery. But in the classic downtown Catch-22, many people would not move to a place where they couldn't walk to buy a quart of milk. So he devised a hybrid, a grocery-cafe-bar. Patrons would be able to grab a scotch, a quesadilla and a bag of apples, all in one place. Mr. Zambrana prevailed over skeptical state licensing officials by installing plants as barriers and designating the bar not as a unit of the grocery, but a mezzanine.

"I wanted it to become a neighborhood place to relax and share with friends," Mr. Zambrana says. "It's not a singles bar. It's not a businessman's bar. It's Cheers." Just four months after opening, Urban Market is boisterous, and Mr. Zambrana expects to turn a profit in 24 months or so.

Among Mr. Zambrana's frequent patrons are Noel and Zane Aveton, along with their toddler, Beau. The Avetons seem to have been heading downtown all their lives. As a teenager in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Zane Aveton saved $75 in waitressing money to buy a 3-foot, Empire State Building that lights up. In her 20s, ascending the crest above Dallas in her car "made my heart skip a beat." So, three years after she and Noel, a 33-year-old architect, met outside Dallas's trendy Club One and eventually married, they started looking for downtown property.

One day in 2002, Zane, 39, spied a "for sale" sign outside a boxy, peeling, two-story printing factory. Some might have disregarded the 6,000-square-foot factory, filled with asbestos and stinking from printing chemicals. But Zane saw an ideal fixer-upper. After some haggling, the owner settled for a price of $260,000.

Though six years into the city's ostensible regeneration drive, it wasn't clear that Dallas was ready for the Avetons. A dozen banks pre-approved a loan but reversed themselves after seeing the building's condition. The couple was forced to revert to the seller, who agreed to proceed with the sale in exchange for a year of interest payments while the couple continued to hunt for a courageous lender. Ultimately, the couple gave up on Dallas banks and went to Houston, where photographs of other urban-loft renovations persuaded a bank to make the loan. The loan included an additional $30,000 to clear out the asbestos and tens of thousands more to make the building habitable.

In 2003, the Avetons moved in. Mrs. Aveton was three weeks pregnant.

Though there are no elementary schools downtown and the district has no playgrounds, the couple never considered moving elsewhere. "People thought when we were moving downtown that we weren't going to have children," says Mrs. Aveton, who is director of sales for Voicecom Telecommunications LLC. "But I don't believe that. I believe the family is what you create." Though three or four more families with young children also have moved downtown, it still sometimes seems Beau is the district's only kid, a colorful presence on the gray streets as he walks or is pushed in a stroller to Zambrana's or elsewhere.

Dallas faces competition from developers who have long been creating a cleaner, more convenient downtown experience throughout Dallas's suburbs. Plano's Legacy Town Center, for example, offers plums that were previously the sole preserve of big cities, such as a walking promenade, ritzy restaurants, cool boutiques and a busy nightlife. Farther north on the very fringes of the Dallas suburbs, the town of Frisco is doing the same thing, even subsidizing rent on Main Street's pizza joint to tide the owner over until a critical mass of people move in.

Against these forces, Dallas's original downtown needs to find another 5,500 or so people seeking a hard-core urban life. The city is pushing ahead, confident that it can. Recently, it agreed to its largest payout ever -- $70 million toward a more than $200 million refurbishment of nine blighted downtown structures by Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises. The company plans to build about 840 apartments and condominiums.

Housing prices are working in Dallas's favor. While the condo boom has pushed up prices in many cities and raised concerns about a possible bust, the boom has passed Dallas by. A two-bedroom condo can go for about $260,000. Karl Zavitkovsky, director of Dallas's Office of Economic Development, says that downtown Dallas won't be much affected by a market reversal because "you haven't had anything close to a condominium bubble here."
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  #943  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 11:39 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Condos going up at a frenzie
Most developers are aiming at high-dollar buyers seeking luxury
Christine Perez
Staff Writer | November 25, 2005
Visit: http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/st...28/story6.html

The condo craze that's sweeping through the coastal markets is taking hold in Dallas. Developers have kicked off construction of more than 20 projects that will add 2,600 new units in Uptown and the urban core.

Another 1,100 units are poised to break ground, including a 21-story, 70-unit addition to the historic Stoneleigh Hotel and a 300-unit conversion of Maple Terrace, a Turtle Creek landmark.

Most are luxury developments, targeting buyers who don't mind paying $400,000 or more for a 1,000-square-foot high-rise home. The priciest offerings are found at the W Dallas Victory Hotel & Residence, Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Cresta Bella and One Arts Plaza, where units are going for an average of $400 to $650 per square foot.

So far, early sales success has stunned the experts.

Hillwood, which is developing about 500 condominiums in four projects at Victory, its massive mixed-use development surrounding American Airlines Center, has contracts out on 75% to 85% of its units in the W Hotel and The Terrace. About half of the units in its newest tower, The House, have been put on reserve.

According to local real estate sources, strong condo sales at the Residences at Ritz-Carlton, under construction on McKinney Avenue, is leading developer Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. to add a second tower on the site.

"It's baffling to me," said Cassie Gibson, managing director of market research at Dallas-based Residential Strategies Inc. "Developments under construction are all selling well, and every day more people are announcing new projects. They don't seem to be worried that there's no historical data to support this amount of supply in the market.

"More than anything else, I think early successes in other real estate markets is creating confidence," Gibson said. "Developers think Dallas is going to be the next Miami or the next Las Vegas."

Busting boundaries
Until recently, condo development in Dallas was concentrated in the Turtle Creek area, with luxury high-rise projects targeting Preston Hollow and Park Cities empty-nesters, who wanted a maintenance-free lifestyle with a prestigious address. Then Hillwood announced its W Hotel Victory project in mid-2003, and things snowballed from there.

Besides the W, four other new urban condo projects are tied to hotels: The Residences at the Ritz Carlton, Cresta Bella, adjacent to The Mansion on Turtle Creek, ZaZa Metropolitan Club, which adjoins Hotel ZaZa, and the condo tower addition planned for the Stoneleigh Hotel.

Some developers are looking at using condos to kick off office projects, including Craig Hall, who is planning a 47-story tower in downtown Dallas. One Arts Plaza, a 24-story, $100 million office tower under construction in the Arts District, will be topped by seven floors of condo space.

David Griffin of David Griffin & Co., who is marketing the One Arts Plaza condos for developer Billingsley Co., said the office component has not been a turn-off for potential buyers.

"The spirit of the urban environment is very appealing to them," he said.

Because 7-Eleven Inc. has signed on to lease about 250,000 square feet of office space at One Arts Plaza, the project isn't dependent on condo presales, Griffin said.

"A lot of other developers have to have a certain number of units under contract before construction can begin," he said. "Because of the commitment from 7-Eleven, we know we'll be able to begin delivering condos in May of 2007."

According to early statistics, about 25% to 30% of Dallas urban condo-buyers are out-of-town investors. So far, though, this hasn't created the hyper-inflation of pricing that's occurring in some other markets, said Mike Puls, president of Dallas-based Foley & Puls Inc.

"Those are monopolistic economies," he said. "The economics in Dallas are different; they're real. Condos are still being sold at the prices they were selling at a year ago. For the hyper price-appreciation to happen here, you'd need a limited supply."

Puls called Dallas an "unsophisticated, emerging condo market." He said the initial outlook is good, provided job-growth predictions are on the mark. Still, one challenge to overcome is the lack of diversity among product offerings.

"We have too much of the same thing," Puls said. "Developers are all designing their products for the same reason; unfortunately, it's the wrong reason. They're doing small units at high prices with the goal of making the most money. But the higher you get, the more narrow the market gets. And if you create an oversupply in a product line, you'll have diminishing returns. It's pure economics."

Developers who design their projects around maximizing dirt costs could falter, Puls said.

"They need to tie their products to the customer base," he said. "The target market is paying for the products. I think that's a better idea."
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  #944  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 11:39 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
Sea™
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Dallas.TX Previously:New London.CT/Portsmouth.NH
Posts: 3,264
Condos going up at a frenzie
Most developers are aiming at high-dollar buyers seeking luxury
Christine Perez
Staff Writer | November 25, 2005
Visit: http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/st...28/story6.html

The condo craze that's sweeping through the coastal markets is taking hold in Dallas. Developers have kicked off construction of more than 20 projects that will add 2,600 new units in Uptown and the urban core.

Another 1,100 units are poised to break ground, including a 21-story, 70-unit addition to the historic Stoneleigh Hotel and a 300-unit conversion of Maple Terrace, a Turtle Creek landmark.

Most are luxury developments, targeting buyers who don't mind paying $400,000 or more for a 1,000-square-foot high-rise home. The priciest offerings are found at the W Dallas Victory Hotel & Residence, Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Cresta Bella and One Arts Plaza, where units are going for an average of $400 to $650 per square foot.

So far, early sales success has stunned the experts.

Hillwood, which is developing about 500 condominiums in four projects at Victory, its massive mixed-use development surrounding American Airlines Center, has contracts out on 75% to 85% of its units in the W Hotel and The Terrace. About half of the units in its newest tower, The House, have been put on reserve.

According to local real estate sources, strong condo sales at the Residences at Ritz-Carlton, under construction on McKinney Avenue, is leading developer Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. to add a second tower on the site.

"It's baffling to me," said Cassie Gibson, managing director of market research at Dallas-based Residential Strategies Inc. "Developments under construction are all selling well, and every day more people are announcing new projects. They don't seem to be worried that there's no historical data to support this amount of supply in the market.

"More than anything else, I think early successes in other real estate markets is creating confidence," Gibson said. "Developers think Dallas is going to be the next Miami or the next Las Vegas."

Busting boundaries
Until recently, condo development in Dallas was concentrated in the Turtle Creek area, with luxury high-rise projects targeting Preston Hollow and Park Cities empty-nesters, who wanted a maintenance-free lifestyle with a prestigious address. Then Hillwood announced its W Hotel Victory project in mid-2003, and things snowballed from there.

Besides the W, four other new urban condo projects are tied to hotels: The Residences at the Ritz Carlton, Cresta Bella, adjacent to The Mansion on Turtle Creek, ZaZa Metropolitan Club, which adjoins Hotel ZaZa, and the condo tower addition planned for the Stoneleigh Hotel.

Some developers are looking at using condos to kick off office projects, including Craig Hall, who is planning a 47-story tower in downtown Dallas. One Arts Plaza, a 24-story, $100 million office tower under construction in the Arts District, will be topped by seven floors of condo space.

David Griffin of David Griffin & Co., who is marketing the One Arts Plaza condos for developer Billingsley Co., said the office component has not been a turn-off for potential buyers.

"The spirit of the urban environment is very appealing to them," he said.

Because 7-Eleven Inc. has signed on to lease about 250,000 square feet of office space at One Arts Plaza, the project isn't dependent on condo presales, Griffin said.

"A lot of other developers have to have a certain number of units under contract before construction can begin," he said. "Because of the commitment from 7-Eleven, we know we'll be able to begin delivering condos in May of 2007."

According to early statistics, about 25% to 30% of Dallas urban condo-buyers are out-of-town investors. So far, though, this hasn't created the hyper-inflation of pricing that's occurring in some other markets, said Mike Puls, president of Dallas-based Foley & Puls Inc.

"Those are monopolistic economies," he said. "The economics in Dallas are different; they're real. Condos are still being sold at the prices they were selling at a year ago. For the hyper price-appreciation to happen here, you'd need a limited supply."

Puls called Dallas an "unsophisticated, emerging condo market." He said the initial outlook is good, provided job-growth predictions are on the mark. Still, one challenge to overcome is the lack of diversity among product offerings.

"We have too much of the same thing," Puls said. "Developers are all designing their products for the same reason; unfortunately, it's the wrong reason. They're doing small units at high prices with the goal of making the most money. But the higher you get, the more narrow the market gets. And if you create an oversupply in a product line, you'll have diminishing returns. It's pure economics."

Developers who design their projects around maximizing dirt costs could falter, Puls said.

"They need to tie their products to the customer base," he said. "The target market is paying for the products. I think that's a better idea."
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  #945  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 11:43 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Rendering of the proposed Marriot Dallas - Convention Center:



^ I don't know if that is an entirely accurate/final visual of what will end up there, though, if built.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 11:43 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Rendering of the proposed Marriot Dallas - Convention Center:



^ I don't know if that is an entirely accurate/final visual of what will end up there, though, if built.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 11:46 PM
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Visual of the redo of the old Fidelity Union towers, known as The Mosaic:






Apparently, this sketch below represents something that was tossed around as well. . . :

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Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 11:46 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Visual of the redo of the old Fidelity Union towers, known as The Mosaic:






Apparently, this sketch below represents something that was tossed around as well. . . :

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Old Posted Nov 30, 2005, 12:01 AM
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Also, here's Ninjatunes photos of the Ritz-Carlton site from the 23rd of Nov. :



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Old Posted Nov 30, 2005, 12:01 AM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Also, here's Ninjatunes photos of the Ritz-Carlton site from the 23rd of Nov. :



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Old Posted Nov 30, 2005, 12:16 AM
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What's the latest on st Anne's Tower, I thought construction was expected to begin soon.
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2005, 12:16 AM
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What's the latest on st Anne's Tower, I thought construction was expected to begin soon.
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432 Park Ave, NY 1,397 ft UC 30 Hudson Yards, NY 1,227 ft UC
Three WTC, NY 1,171 ft UC Comcast Center, Philadelphia 1,121 ft UC
Wilshire Grand, Los Angeles 1,100 ft UC Salesforce Tower, San Francisco 1,070 ft UC
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2005, 1:03 PM
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^Its certainly advertising and pre-leasing as is Cresta Bella. Don't know how either is doing.
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2005, 1:03 PM
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^Its certainly advertising and pre-leasing as is Cresta Bella. Don't know how either is doing.
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Old Posted Dec 3, 2005, 6:20 PM
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Rendering of the Arapaho & Preston condominium tower 'The Tuscany' :

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Old Posted Dec 3, 2005, 6:20 PM
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Rendering of the Arapaho & Preston condominium tower 'The Tuscany' :

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Old Posted Dec 4, 2005, 5:01 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Hunt Tower site clearing. . .
Photos by Tnekster on 03Dec05:







Corgan Associates Incs. (architectural firm) new low-rise HQ bldg. to go into the West End. . .
Large rendering so this ones just going to be a link: http://forum.dallasmetropolis.com/at...achmentid=7676


Victory Park updates by TexasStar on 03Dec05:
Includes W Dallas Victory Hotel & Residences North & South Towers, The Vista, The Terrace, and the site for The House (by Starck). . .



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Old Posted Dec 4, 2005, 5:01 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Hunt Tower site clearing. . .
Photos by Tnekster on 03Dec05:







Corgan Associates Incs. (architectural firm) new low-rise HQ bldg. to go into the West End. . .
Large rendering so this ones just going to be a link: http://forum.dallasmetropolis.com/at...achmentid=7676


Victory Park updates by TexasStar on 03Dec05:
Includes W Dallas Victory Hotel & Residences North & South Towers, The Vista, The Terrace, and the site for The House (by Starck). . .



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Old Posted Dec 4, 2005, 5:04 PM
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Some info out of Irving. . .

Four Seasons expands as high-end rivalry heats up
12:00 AM CST on Saturday, December 3, 2005
By SUZANNE MARTA / The Dallas Morning News
Visit: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont....1e05b05d.html

The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas said Friday that it plans to nearly double its villa lodging and expand its sports club and events space.

The $20 million expansion, the luxury resort's first in five years, is to open before the W hotel opens in Hillwood's tony Victory development near downtown Dallas.

Four Seasons officials hope the project will give the 20-year-old resort a boost as competition heats up in the luxury segment of the North Texas market.

In addition to the 33-story W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences and the $213 million Ritz Carlton Dallas in the Uptown neighborhood, the Mandarin Oriental is expected to announce a hotel in Victory.

"You never want to be a has-been in this business," said Craig Reid, the Four Seasons' general manager and regional vice president. "We're rebooting."

The resort is developing a 4-acre site that will add 40 new villa guest rooms facing the 18th hole of its Tournament Players Course.

Even with the project, Mr. Reid said, the resort's 400-acre property still has around 20 additional acres that could one day be developed into more villas or high-end condominiums.

Housed in a separate building around the golf course, the villa guest rooms are the hotel's most popular. Its rooms often command a $100-a-night premium over those in the main tower.

The new villa complex will also include two suites named for famous golfers, plus a luxury bridal suite.

"There's so much luxury traffic coming in, and as the market grows, we need to grow to absorb it," Mr. Reid said.

Demand from business travelers has been strong, and the hotel has more future business on its books now than it has in its history.

The expansion is also designed to emphasize the Las Colinas resort's ties to golfing legend Byron Nelson and the annual PGA Tour event named for him.

Club areas will get additional showcases for Nelson memorabilia, and a new clock tower will be built as both a tool for tracking tee times and an homage to Mr. Nelson's affinity for timepieces.

"We want to underscore that this is [Mr. Nelson's] home, and that this is the only place in Dallas to host championship golf," Mr. Reid said.

The project also includes an expansion to its sports club – its first since it opened nearly two decades ago– including a tripling of its pro shop and a new restaurant featuring a panoramic view of the golf course.

And steps from the new restaurant to the putting green have been designed to serve as a higher-profile entrance for tournament players during the televised event.

"We're trying to increase the sense of theater," Mr. Reid said.

A 1-acre lake has also been added to the 18th hole, something that will provide scenic views for villa guests while making the course more challenging.

The lake will also serve as a dramatic backdrop for a new amphitheater being marketed for weddings and other large outdoor functions that currently suffer from space restrictions.

"We'll be able to put up an 18,000-square-foot tent here; that's bigger than our ballroom," Mr. Reid said.
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  #960  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2005, 5:04 PM
CTroyMathis CTroyMathis is offline
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Some info out of Irving. . .

Four Seasons expands as high-end rivalry heats up
12:00 AM CST on Saturday, December 3, 2005
By SUZANNE MARTA / The Dallas Morning News
Visit: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont....1e05b05d.html

The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas said Friday that it plans to nearly double its villa lodging and expand its sports club and events space.

The $20 million expansion, the luxury resort's first in five years, is to open before the W hotel opens in Hillwood's tony Victory development near downtown Dallas.

Four Seasons officials hope the project will give the 20-year-old resort a boost as competition heats up in the luxury segment of the North Texas market.

In addition to the 33-story W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences and the $213 million Ritz Carlton Dallas in the Uptown neighborhood, the Mandarin Oriental is expected to announce a hotel in Victory.

"You never want to be a has-been in this business," said Craig Reid, the Four Seasons' general manager and regional vice president. "We're rebooting."

The resort is developing a 4-acre site that will add 40 new villa guest rooms facing the 18th hole of its Tournament Players Course.

Even with the project, Mr. Reid said, the resort's 400-acre property still has around 20 additional acres that could one day be developed into more villas or high-end condominiums.

Housed in a separate building around the golf course, the villa guest rooms are the hotel's most popular. Its rooms often command a $100-a-night premium over those in the main tower.

The new villa complex will also include two suites named for famous golfers, plus a luxury bridal suite.

"There's so much luxury traffic coming in, and as the market grows, we need to grow to absorb it," Mr. Reid said.

Demand from business travelers has been strong, and the hotel has more future business on its books now than it has in its history.

The expansion is also designed to emphasize the Las Colinas resort's ties to golfing legend Byron Nelson and the annual PGA Tour event named for him.

Club areas will get additional showcases for Nelson memorabilia, and a new clock tower will be built as both a tool for tracking tee times and an homage to Mr. Nelson's affinity for timepieces.

"We want to underscore that this is [Mr. Nelson's] home, and that this is the only place in Dallas to host championship golf," Mr. Reid said.

The project also includes an expansion to its sports club – its first since it opened nearly two decades ago– including a tripling of its pro shop and a new restaurant featuring a panoramic view of the golf course.

And steps from the new restaurant to the putting green have been designed to serve as a higher-profile entrance for tournament players during the televised event.

"We're trying to increase the sense of theater," Mr. Reid said.

A 1-acre lake has also been added to the 18th hole, something that will provide scenic views for villa guests while making the course more challenging.

The lake will also serve as a dramatic backdrop for a new amphitheater being marketed for weddings and other large outdoor functions that currently suffer from space restrictions.

"We'll be able to put up an 18,000-square-foot tent here; that's bigger than our ballroom," Mr. Reid said.
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