Unattractive Oaklawn Townhouses For Sale Again

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Curb Appeal Issues Impact Development Attractiveness
Curb appeal issues at the Sorano on Rawlins may impact the development’s marketability, says Jon Anderson.

The Sorano, inconveniently built in 2008 on the eve of the real estate bubble, is located at 4111 Rawlins St. in Oaklawn. Looking like it’s been hosed-down in orange buttercream, it’s curb appeal hampers what would have been an appealing development.

Coming online as the recession was gaining steam wasn’t the best of christenings. Originally intended as an owner-occupied development of 17 townhomes, developer Sterling Knight failed to capture buyers’ attention for many reasons. In a recession I saw the prices as being very high for the area (overbuilt?), the interiors tended towards overly Mediterranean with builders’ grade finishes … and well … the buttercream.  Back in the day the buttercream kept me from even walking into an open house.

But Sterling Knight did what many developers did to survive in the recession, they rented out the units.  After years on the market, in 2013 Sterling Knight had apparently had enough and sold the property then listed for $6.5 million with Mustang Realty, lock-stock and buttercream, to an investor who kept the townhouses as rentals.

Now the development is back on the market with Shamis & Associates’ Blake Fowler, buttercream and all, for $7.45 million or about $440,000 each.  The units are four stories (roof deck is a “story”) with generous square footages in the 2,400- to 2,900-square-foot range, however as is the case with townhomes, the staircases eat into generally narrow floor plans. In the units with measurements, I’m seeing master bedrooms larger than living rooms (a personal bummer, but some might like) and a nice rooftop deck with fireplace that guests unfortunately have to traipse through bedrooms to access.  None of this is unique to the Sorano.

In my opinion, the best outcome for this property (and the neighborhood) is for a new owner to strip away the exterior and replace it with something — anything — more attractive. Even a simple paint job would help curb appeal.  The seamless, uniform stucco covers the entire complex with the exception of the window glass.  It’s monotonous and an unfortunate color choice.

If the new owner decides to sell the units individually, in addition to the exterior work, they’ll need a refresh after years as rental units.  To get top dollar, buyers will expect new. I’m not saying to necessarily ditch the Mediterranean finishes, many people like them. You may have a different opinion.

A new owner could also decide to keep them as rentals they seem to have found a niche in the rental pool with only two units currently available..

Time will tell what’s next for this property.

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 (they’re legal)!  sharewithjon@candysdirt.com

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is CandysDirt.com's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on SecondShelters.com. 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.

Reader Interactions


  1. dormand says

    This seems to meet the criteria for investment by the reknown Dallas Police’&Fire Retirement Fund which has
    inhaled massive amounts of taxpayers’ money with little to show for it, except for widely dispersed white elephants.

    This project might be a fitting bookend for the deeply flawed Museum Towers, which has effectively hampered the world class Nasher Sculpture Center with its highly reflective glass that the City of Dallas somehow permitted to be installed next to the world’s leading sculpture museum.

    One term not in the vocabulary of the Police & Fire Retirement Fund is that of yield, liquidity and volatility
    Another is governance.

  2. CRITIC says

    Tragic design
    Tragic construction
    Overinsure and hope for tornado or fire
    Unfortunately good design can not be legislated

  3. mmCandy Evans says

    Please note this is NOT a criticism of the Realtors — the folks at Carolyn Shamis are THE BEST, and I miss her still. Our aim is to elevate the discourse in local real estate, and in the process, improve the field for everyone whether it be the way agents take and present listing photos, or the way a developer puts a building together. We are pushing the envelope in the real estate business, trying to open more transparency for both consumer and agent, while we educate to the standards. I have not seen these units yet, but I will. We would love to see higher standards in architectural design for ALL multi-family

  4. The_Overdog says

    Architecturally (in my opinion) those places aren’t bad. Staircases in rowhouses do eat into square footage, that’s why single family tends to be wide. But you are 100% correct about the lazy paint job on the outside. Even the window frames are painted the same colors as the exterior walls, and the color looks even worse on google maps.

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