BombSHELLs: The Shelton’s Secret Penthouses

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The Shelton

Wow! I stumbled into Carolina Rendon’s hip pocket and neither of us felt a thing – but I saw something wonderful that stirred my renovator’s heart. But I get ahead of myself…

In 1983, The Shelton popped up in Preston Center located on Luther Lane just south of Northwest Highway and east of the Tollway. It began life as a condominium but has had an interesting life since.

It was sold to Japanese investor Takeharu Miyama in the early 1990s who leased the units. In 2005, nearly 15 years later, the building was marketed to developers. The building sold in 2006 for approximately $35 million to Dallas-based Dunhill Partners who planned to return the Shelton to condominiums and committed $12 million for the renovation of units and public areas – estimated at about $65,000 per unit. In the process of renovation, the original 129 units shrunk to 115 as some units were combined and supersized.

(After the sale, Takeharu made the prescient move to buy 1909 Woodall Rodgers months before Klyde Warren Park was approved. The park transformed freeway frontage into park-side prominence.)

We all recall how real estate turned dollars into dimes in the late 2000s as global economies crashed and residential mortgage availability evaporated. While Dallas was no Miami or Phoenix, the real estate market still faltered as banks threw another log on the fire in overtightening mortgage qualifications. An ebullient 2005 turned grim by 2007 when the newly renovated Shelton units hit the market. As citywide inventory stacked up, the unsold Shelton units were again pressed into service as rentals.

Now, just over two years as Dallas real estate turned from indolent to incandescent, Shelton units are coming off lease and selling at a fairly brisk clip. This isn’t unique to the Shelton. Nearly all established high-rises have had a lot fewer listings and fewer days on market.

And it’s here that we get a peek into Carolina’s pockets.

I visited a Shelton open house and was told of a pair of two-story, un-renovated and gutted shell penthouses occupying the 23rd and 24th floors facing, downtown. I sent a note to Carolina to get the skinny a few days later.

The Shelton

It’s not a surprising story, with all the economic folderal, the developer mothballed plans for these dream penthouses. Currently, buoyed by the market, Dunhill have thoughts of tricking-out these units themselves for resale sometime in 2016. But they remain open to offers on the shells.

Each penthouse was originally three units – a configuration maintained on the north side of the penthouse level. These south-facing units are not only two-story, but offer cherry views of downtown from each of three double-height balconies.

Today, the walls have been knocked down and kitchens and bathrooms removed. This leaves sweeping spaces ready for a starchitect to sink their teeth into for a special client.

Below are two examples of possibilities. Photoshop and I have removed all the walls from the east penthouse to showcase the open space. Sure there are plumbing stacks to be worked around, but this shows 5,848 square feet in all its wide-open glory. You’re getting five full bathrooms, three half-baths and of course three kitchens – some of this you’d likely cap off. (Although vegan/carnivore couples or Kosher-keeping Jews might like more than one kitchen.)

The Shelton

Of the three staircases, two are located more in the middle of their units. Were they removed, you’d get two quite large double-story light wells to showcase some phenomenal lighting or sculpture. The third staircase is located in the center unit and near the back to give broad uninterrupted spaces.

For the west penthouse I’ve left the walls between the original three units to show another option. It’s possible that if you’re not in the market for a whopping 6,000-ish square foot penthouse, you can purchase a single or double unit and bring things down to a more manageable 2,000-4,000-ish square feet. The staircases, more towards the back of the units, could be closed off to provide closets large enough to accommodate a doorman.

The Shelton

The Shelton is not perfect to me, but my opinion has definitely improved. While I remain skeptical of its location bordering the tollway, I can’t help being mesmerized by the flowing ribbons of non-stop traffic (especially if I’m not sitting in it). And behind the multi-pane windows, it’s a blissfully silent art installation.

But you know me, I’m a fan of unmolested patios. So when you’re outside on the patios, Get Smart’s Cone of Silence would be welcome (or Umbrella of Silence when raining).

As a renovator, when I see shells I don’t just see homes-in-waiting, I see projects that have already taken the first step towards renewal. The messy demolition is done, it’s time to rebuild.

The pricing on these shells is $350-per-square-foot. Carolina nixed my plan to buy one square foot in each just so I could stand and watch the transformation!

Do you have enough clams for one of these shells? Call or text Carolina Rendon with Allie Beth Allman & Associates at 214.284.9257 (she loves to be texted)  🙂

Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (as soon as they’re legal in Texas)!



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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

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  1. John taylor says

    I have friends that lived there and sadly the infrastructure is a, electrical etc..

    the developers did spend money on the exterior but the infrastructure has issues.

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