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You might expect to pay a cover fee to attend an open house at a property of this caliber. The art alone is worthy of exhibit. And together with  perfectly selected fixtures and finishes, 1717 Arts Plaza, unit 2208 strikes a masterful balance between the warmth of home and the aloofness of a gallery. The combination is purposeful and stunning.

“It’s very livable, though still museum-like,” said Realtor David Griffin. “It’s just very thoughtfully designed.”

With museum-smooth walls and impressive 11-foot ceilings, the design intent of this space is clear: art lives here. “The owner of this unit is an art collector,” said Griffin. “I think the floor plan, finish-out, and amenities of this particular home are perfect for those with artistic interests. It’s perfectly set for that purpose.”

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Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Hiring outside professionals to assess the systems and structure of a condominium is often scoffed at by HOAs because of the expense.  It’s as shortsighted as complaining about the cost of toothpaste. Condominiums are larger and definitely more complex than single-family homes. It’s negligent not to have plans in place that understand the current condition of the overall building coupled with a plan for regular maintenance that stretches out as far as the longest-lived components.

It’s also critical that reserve studies are performed by outsiders.  HOAs and management companies may either lack the expertise required or want to soft-pedal the truth to avoid uncomfortable conversations with residents.  We are generally “shoot the messenger” kind of people.

Another reason for using an outsider can be managing companies that also have their own staff contracted to perform repairs.  If they’re the ones doing the capital reserve studies, isn’t that a whopping conflict of interest? Didn’t Fair Park teach us that competitive bidding is best?

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Edgemere on the Parkway 1

Just last month we reported on a lawsuit involving Preston Tower and now it’s been uncovered that another Pink Wall condominium is reeling from at least three lawsuits filed by recent buyers against their HOA, the prior owners, and managing agent Intercity Investments (also named in the Preston Tower suit and a third that was settled out of court also in Pink Wall turf).  Edgemere on the Parkway is located at the corner of Northwest Highway and Edgemere Road. It comprises two 10-unit buildings at 8505 and 8511 Edgemere that were built in 2004, making it 13 years old.

All three plaintiffs (Bartlett Family Trust, Lawrence and Brenda Weprin, and Syann Singleton) make essentially the same claims.  Each purchased their units in 2014-2015 and almost immediately began experiencing frequent ceiling and window leaks that stained walls and ceilings.  In addition, raw sewage was backing up into at least one of the second flood units.

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Preston Tower - Small

About a week ago I wrote about a lawsuit filed by an owner at Preston Tower against the HOA and Intercity Investments (ICI).  The case came about after a catastrophic flood in the building resulting from a blown water booster pump on the penthouse level that sent water cascading throughout the building.

It was decided by the HOA and their management company that the costs to repair damages to individual units was to be passed on to individual’s homeowner’s policies instead of making a large claim against the building’s blanket insurance policy.  Court documents show an email from the building’s insurance company to the HOA board and Intercity Investments suggesting the move to avoid paying the building’s $25,000 deductible.

See this partial email from Rod Medlin of Scarbrough-Medlin Insurance:

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Preston Tower - Small

Do homeowners’ associations (HOAs) have the ability or right to hold their buildings blameless when an accident occurs that the building is admittedly responsible for?  At first blush, I’d have thought that they were on the hook.  After all, part of what homeowners pay in HOA dues goes towards funding large insurance policies for just such occurrences.  I’d have also thought they couldn’t scamper away because if the same damage were caused by a neighbor, it would be the neighbor who paid to repair any damages. Why would an HOA be any different?

We may well get a good indication of this legal construct soon.  A case has been winding its way through the Dallas courts for over a year involving Preston Tower and one of their owners.

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Multigenerational living

At The Shelby Residences’ recent fall social event, pictured above, residents of all ages mingled on the rooftop deck together. All photos courtesy of The Shelby Residences.

Multigenerational living is a big buzzword in the housing market, as Baby Boomers move in with their kids, adult children move in with their parents, and everyone figures out how to live together harmoniously.

But in the world of condos, that’s rarely the situation. Most condo buildings seem to have a demographic they attract, and residents tend to be around the same age.

That’s not the case at The Shelby Residences in East Dallas’ University Crossing neighborhood. We recently attended their fall social event and noticed the huge range of residents, from college students to folks past retirement.

This is a big achievement for The Shelby, a 55-unit building just renovated with phase I sales starting in the summer of 2015. The building had been apartments, but the Marquis Group purchased it and decided to do an overhaul into chic condo living, said Denise Edmondson, Principal Broker and Sales Director for PowerPlay Texas, which works with Marquis Group to sell condos at The Shelby Residences.

“It’s an interesting case study, seeing everyone meld together and get along as one community,” Edmondson said. “Everyone has a common thread with healthy, active urban living—The Shelby Residences appeal to all ages.”

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6452 Bordeaux a

With our North Texas market moving at its current pace, finding a home for under $200K can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

But they do exist! Today, we’ve found a super cute place in the Bordeaux Village Condos near West Mockingbird Lane and Inwood Road that’s got tons of personality, superb location, and a friendly price tag. This area is just south of tony neighborhoods Bluffview and Greenway Park, close to the Park Cities and Medical District, and a block and a half west of the Dallas North Tollway.

The condo at 6452 Bordeaux Ave. Unit H was built in 1951 and the personality from that era shines through. But they’ve also done renovations to make it appealing to a modern buyer, like updating the kitchen.

This condo has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and 1,029 square feet on two stories.

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Drexel Park HighlanderNew doors, windows, copper roof, a security system better than Fort Knox (or at least Cowboy Stadium) and miles of mortar joints going under a microscope!

Starting this fall, the Drexel Highlander Condominium on Oak Lawn is getting an overhaul, a major overhaul — to the tune of $4 million plus.

It’s even getting a new name: the Park Highlander.

This is the pretty pinkish-red brick, eight story building on Oak Lawn at 4240 Prescott where every single unit has several charming Juliette balconies. It was developed by notorious Dallas developer Robert Edelman, who commenced the project in 2006 after serving time in prison for trying to hire a hitman to kill his first wife. With a partner, Glenn Wiggins, Edelman built the Drexel Highlander, a 48 unit luxury condo building, through the Drexel Highlander Limited Partnership. Then he went on up to develop the Drexel Park Hollow West Behind the Pink Wall.

But in March 2011, Edelman and his second wife, Diana, were sued by Drexel Highland Limited Partnership and Wiggins, for various offenses ranging from fraud to living in the building rent-free. The court awarded the plaintiffs $4.5 million in damages, carving the award out of the Edelman’s bankruptcy filing. A subsequent lawsuit for shoddy workmanship was directed at Drexel and the contracting company, the mason and architects, etc. That was settled for a confidential, but substantial, settlement.

According to John Vestal, a resident and also Vice President and Director on the Drexel’s Park’s Board, Edelman split with Wiggins and has been long gone from the Drexel Highlander, and the developer’s control expired earlier this year. So the owner’s board is now in charge. 

Drexel park 7D

7D, $699,000

And they are going to town. (more…)