More Than Half Sold Out: Guess Who Just Moved Into Museum Tower?

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A whole lot of local celebs in this town just keep movin’ on up over at Museum Tower. As we have said here before, Museum Tower continues to be one of the hottest luxury high rise properties in Dallas. Now comes exclusive word to CandysDirt that two prominent Dallas residents have hung their hats at the luxurious high rise which is now more than half sold out.

In the last 12 months, sales at Museum Tower have accounted for more than 50% of luxury condo market sales priced over $1.5 million in this market. It has accounted for more than 63% of condo market sales priced over $2 million. This is all based on sales reported in the Metrotex MLS which tracts on market sales in North Texas, and according to information provided to me by Museum Tower that includes off-market sales.

And as I mentioned in a real estate article I wrote recently for Modern Luxury Dallas, upon the sale of his home to Andy Beal, Tom Hicks and his wife moved into Museum Tower, leasing a large unit. They are parked here while shopping for their next Dallas digs.

And most recently, Robert Edsel bought here: art lover, oil drilling pioneer, Renaissance man, author (Rescuing DaVinci,  detailing the many soldiers who helped save art in the chaotic days following World War II and the liberation of Germany, The Monuments Men, adapted into a movie starring George Clooney and Kate Blanchett, and his newest, Saving Italy, detail Italian artifacts and how they were saved) and documentarian The Rape of Europa.

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Robert and his bride sold his Turtle Creek estate with Dave Perry-Miller agent Madeline Jobst, and bought at Museum Tower on March 8. According to DCAD, he has two units on the 29th floor, one of which was listed for $1,810,000. Like many of Museum Tower’s buyers, he is likely joining two units to create a larger home.

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Museum Tower, like the Residences at the Ritz Carlton of Dallas (which are sold out), has become the luxury high rise de rigeur for many locals shedding large estates but wanting convenient, lock and leave living with luxury amenities.

From the official press release, “the most vibrant high rise neighborhood in the downtown skyline,” welcomed three new neighbors in March, making a total of four homes sold in the first quarter. (Two of those were Edsel’s.) Two more homes are expected to close in April.

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“Residents are no longer choosing Museum Tower just because of the appeal of the building, but because it is an established neighborhood,” said Steve Sandborg, Managing Director of Sales and Operations.. “It really feels like a community, and our residents have the space to make it their home.”

The most recent sales were all two-bedroom floor plans, but half-floors and full-floors have proven to be popular choices.

“We only have three half-floor homes left,” says Steve.

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A number of residents have purchased more than one home in order to have more generous living spaces, he said.

Exactly. Same thing happened at the Ritz Residences. You cannot squeeze the best downsized 6,000 to 10,000 square foot estate into 1800 square feet. Luxury buyers want more space.

The generous  “living spaces” are exactly why luxury buyers are choosing Museum Tower, says Executive Vice President of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, Missy Woehr, who is spearheading sales along with Ilene Christ.

“While most of our residents are forgoing estate living for the high rise lifestyle, they still want the square footage to allow for entertaining and family activities,” said Missy. “Other buildings just don’t offer the same spacious floor plans or flexibility.”

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Museum Tower homes start at $1.25 million for a 1/1.5 . As for the hogwash that it has taken too long to sell Museum Tower, I just wish some people really understood how real estate works. Let us look at The House by Philippe Starck: The House was built in 2009, just as the recession hit. Back in 2011, I interviewed then sales manager Bobby Dhillon, and about a quarter of the 132 total units had been sold.

By 2013 the high-rise was about 80 percent occupied after lender HSH Nordbank AG foreclosed on the 112 unsold units in the property–  four years. They filled up the units with a combination of sales, lease/purchase options, and rentals. Prices were extremely competitive, and lease/purchases offered a portion of the tenants’ $2,700 to $3,750 monthly rent into escrow towards a future condo purchase.

Today, The House is almost completely sold out, a thriving, sophisticated, sought-after Victory Park success story. And what year is it — 2016?

And Steve Sandborg will admit that Museum Tower had a slower sales start because of what I shall call the “hubris”. Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s came on board in January of 2013.

“Do I think we could have done better?” repeats Steve, in response to my question. “We are currently dominating the luxury high rise market. We have been selling 2 units a month at our price point. That’s impressive.”

Indeed. But I cannot help but wonder if the sales process would not be even further ahead than it is now if it had not been for the “hubris in the community” and a few sensational articles.

“Maybe we would have had a slightly broader audience in the arts community, but I don’t think it would have dramatically changed our trajectory,” he said. “We’ve had to overcome objections and reassure potential buyers.”

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“But honestly, we have amazingly happy homeowners. There is a whole different level of service here at Museum Tower that our residents love.”

Other condominiums in town have Concierge services, but no one has the likes of Tanya Mendenhall, a full-time Director of Resident Relations.

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 Well, not yet. Stay tuned.

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