REAL ESTATE – Condo sense

Posted on 02 Mar 2006 at 9:59pm
By Ryan Short – Contributing Writer

The expanding Dallas skyline offers many new high-rise living option



PIE IN THE SKY: Real estate agent Andre Leffall specializes in finding homes for his clients who prefer condominiums instead of single-family dwellings.

Dallas has long been known for its big hair, larger than life sports teams and bottomless shopping bags. But its hottest mark right now is real estate.

The city long known for its skyline and Southfork Ranch is merely months away from being a visibly different place, thanks to the explosion of downtown development deals. And the famous skyline is about to welcome a few new friends.

Dozens of high profile developments are currently underway downtown and in the surrounding areas. With bold, fresh high-rises replete with every imaginable amenity and warm, welcoming townhomes charming new neighborhoods, Dallas residents may be overwhelmed by all their options.

“The most exciting part about all of the new development is that each project is unique,” explains Andre Leffall, a high-rise real estate specialist. “Every building offers something different. There really is something for everyone.”
Leffall has found homes in the sky for many Dallasites, from those coming back from the suburbs, those looking to enjoy the energy the city has to offer and even downtown dwellers hoping to move even higher.

“There’s a great demand right now a huge demand to enjoy the kind of lifestyle that high-rise living can provide,” Leffall says. “But there are so many options out there, it can almost seem overwhelming.”

Leffall works very closely with his clients, offering his extensive knowledge of the Uptown, Downtown, Oak Lawn and Turtle Creek areas to help buyers find their perfect place.

The most showcased of the new high-rises is the W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences. The crown jewel of the master-planned Victory Park development, the W epitomizes the real estate growth in Dallas: bold, impressive, widely admired and even a bit surprising.

Surrounding projects like the Terrace, the House, the Vista and Victory Tower each offer their own distinctive character, which should appeal to the varying kinds of buyers. Though distinguished in their personality, all the Victory developments share bold ambition.


Brian Sovey.

“What makes all of these high-rises so special is that, though each has its own character, they all share this promise to give you an amazing lifestyle,” says Leffall. “You don’t have to worry about yard work or maintenance. You can relax and really enjoy yourself.”

In neighboring Uptown, three huge projects offer prospective condo owners even more selections. The Stoneleigh Residences mix upscale living with an historical Dallas legacy. The Azure exists as a calming oasis in the middle of a bustling city. And the Ritz-Carlton will be a premier address for refined living.
While Victory Park and Uptown may be the most talked-about projects in town, prospective buyers looking to remain a little closer to the ground can still share in the real estate boom of downtown Dallas.

“The market for condos and townhomes right now is unreal,” says Brian Sovey, real estate agent with The Michael Group. “No matter what kind of home you want, you can find it in Dallas.”

For Sovey, the exciting areas are not just in the sky, but along the streets, too.

“Everybody who’s anybody is going to be living in the W or the Ritz,” Sovey says. “Everywhere you look, there’s a new crane in the skyline. But for those who don’t want the high-rise lifestyle, they have plenty of fabulous options.”
The Oak Lawn area is Sovey’s top neighborhood for homebuyers right now. “If you drive down any of the streets in Oak Lawn, crews are tearing down worn, old apartment buildings and building fantastic townhomes.”

A quick drive down Holland Avenue or Rawlins Street confirms Sovey’s claims. Old-style brownstones offer a welcome sentiment in classic designs. And just down the way, the browsing buyer can find ultra-hip lofts with open spaces set in a contemporary feel.


Tall, modern high-rises, like The House, not only improve the skyline but provide residences for urban dwellers.

Across Turtle Creek in the State-Thomas historical neighborhood of Uptown, upscale residences such as the Drexel Montane exist among tree-lined sidewalks, festive pubs, and an abundance of shops and restaurants. Just north, new development ventures around the trendy West Village are currently underway.

But for Sovey, Bryan Place, just east of downtown, is most exciting.
“Bryan Place is booming right now,” says Sovey. “Whether it’s the houses or condos, they are selling. Young couples are starting their lives here. They don’t want the boring suburb lifestyles their parents had.”

Proximity to downtown, Deep Ellum, Uptown and Oak Lawn as well as its delightful historical allure make Bryan Place a prime location to purchase a home. And further development along Ross Avenue between downtown and Lakewood will only increase the neighborhood’s appeal.

Regardless of whether your address is up in the sky or along a sidewalk, the real estate market in Dallas right now could not be more exciting. The various developments and choices for condominium living are vast, and the properties are hot. And for a city always expecting the next heat wave, this is the kind of hot you can enjoy.

For more information on Andre Leffall, visit Leffallliving.com.
For more information on Brian Sovey, visit Briansovey.com.
For information about Victory Park, visit Victorydallas.com.



The Gallic-named Mondrian at Cityplace.

THE NAME GAME
Wherever and whatever your residential desire be it a studio, a loft, a pied-a-terre or penthouse there is a building boom of glamour currently rising skyward for you. Not since the go-go ’80s has Dallas seen so many construction cranes.

The proliferation of millennial-new, pie-in-the-sky residences is unprecedented. Dallas, in fact, has seen more new high-rise dwellings go up in the first six years of the 21st century than in the entire previous two centuries combined (a high-rise, by definition, being taller than six floors). The three key words of real estate no longer appear to be “location, location, location” but rather “luxury, luxury, luxury.”

From the new downtown Ritz-Carlton Residences opening in 2007, to the W Dallas Victory Residences now nearing completion in the West End, competition grows ever fiercer almost monthly. And when it comes to wooing the Dallas elite, you gotta have a gimmick above and beyond the now near cliched, almost numbingly quaint, polished granite counter tops, egg-and-dart crown moldings and 10- foot ceilings.

With ever-greater expectations comes ever-greater bravado, and nowhere is that more evident than in the new Dallas nouveau riche name game. Who needs a pedigree when the name of your building can do it for you? It’s instant access to built-in social class.

The high-rise towers of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, simply took their moniker cues from geographical location, such as the Park Towers on Turtle Creek (located at Turtle Creek and Reverchon Park). There is no such modesty among the new breed of Texan monoliths which offer continental lordliness: The Rienzi, The Azure, The Ashton, The Trianon, The Vendome, The Mayfair, The Mondrian. Is this Dallas or a European aristocrat’s country estate? Are ascot and foxhounds required?

Meanwhile, as if to amend its location overlooking Central Expressway, the new Mondrian Cityplace takes Francophilia to a new level with its namesake-inspired primary-colored windows in asymmetric arrangements.

Even the new Dallas office towers are jumping on the continental bandwagon: Harwood Properties’ next downtown skyscraper is to be called, inexplicably, Saint Ann Court: The Gateway to Uptown Dallas. Who is this Saint Ann, anyway? And what’s next the Winter Palace Hermitage Uptown, resplendent with Faberge egg cupolas and onion domes?

The trend towards name inflation is probably the inevitable result of living in a name-brand, designer-labeled world. The times are a-changin’. Whether these new buildings are playing the titular fabulosity card to attract a larger, ever more affluent gay tenant base, or whether flaming queen chic is simply the new straight these days, the effect is the same grand first impressions don’t take second chances.

As any drag queen can tell you, it’s all in the name you go by, baby.
H. Lewis Russell

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 3, 2006.

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