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.
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