I had to laugh when Steve Brown wrote about the Stoneleigh last week right before Christmas. “More than three years after work stopped on the project,” he said, “the owners of the partly built Stoneleigh condominium tower in Uptown are planning to restart construction soon.”
Really? See this photo? I took it last September. When construction was supposed to start.
Well, maybe I was premature. Mehrdad Moayedi, or Saint Stoneleigh as I call him, bought the unfinished project out of bankruptcy in early 2010 for $4.55 million. Recall how he beat Jonas Woods’, formerly of Victory development eons ago — who bid $4 million for the bankrupt Stoneleigh Heritage Residences. Moayedi’s Centurion American (CTMGT) offered/paid $4.55 million for the shell. He hopes to begin construction in January, or so he told Steve, who says, and I agree, that this will erase the only Dallas condo eyesore leftover from those financially gloomy days.
In case I need to remind you, which I probably do not, construction on the original Stoneleigh project on Wolf Street near Maple Avenue began in 2007 as a 22-story, brand spankin’ new high-rise companion to the historic Stoneleigh Hotel next door.
In November 2008, the gloomiest month of the Greatest Recession Since the Great Depression, construction halted when financing froze. The project under Prescott/Appollo went into bankruptcy in May 2009.
Moayedi, the head of Carrollton-based property developer and investor Centurion American Development Group, paid $4.55 million for the project. Centurion is also developing an amazing townhome development on Normandy in Highland Park I will tell you about sometime, The Courtyards at Normandy.
About 10 stories of the high rise structure were completed, none of the exterior.
When I interviewed Moayedi about a year ago, he told me the units would be a lot bigger. He said 80 units, now says a maximum of 75 units. That’s fewer than the original 118 residences planned.
When I asked if he would be hiring an interior designer to market the residences and the marketing center and bring a unifying flow to the building, he looked at me like I was nuts. No, he said, everyone gets to finish out their own unit exactly the way they want. You go to New York City and find a great brownstone or condo, there is not one decorator doing it all one way. Everyone decorates it their way, he said.
I think his drift was this: we are not going to waste money on BS.
He also told me he had wanted to get in on the condo biz: four years ago, Centurion bought land at Akard and McKinney, did some studies, found it too risky, sold the land to another developer. He also almost developed in California — almost! One time his company bought land for a development in San Francisco, a state notorious for giving developers Redwood-tree sized hurdles when it comes to entitlements. Centurion somehow got the entitlements done in one year — in CA!! — and ended up selling the property for a big profit before one nail was hammered.
Centurion’s own building company, Crescent Estates, and Shariff Munir will be the two builders finishing out the units once Gerald Hines completes the shell. Crescent has also built a homes in The Creeks of Preston Hollow.
Prescott, says Mehrdad, had a great plan but got caught up in the bad timing of the economy. We had great savings, he says; we stepped in and unfortunately took advantage of someone else’s misfortune, but we will now pass that savings along to the buyers. The smallest Stoneleigh home at 2200 square feet will start at about $750,000 before the interior is finished. The largest will be an 11,000 square feet for the 22nd-floor penthouse with a private pool.
I thought this was a weird quote given the fact this sign was up last September:
“We didn’t try and get out and sell anything because it’s a failed project,” Moayedi said. “But once we get the crane up and going, we are going to have a grand reopening.”