Jon’s Completely Biased Residential High-Rise Awards, Part 3

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Ritz Rendering
The Ritz Residences’ (fraternal) twin towers

Part 3 continues … and ends … my self-serving, completely subjective high-rise awards based on equally dubious categories.  Click here if you missed Part 1 or Part 2.

8. Best Private Club Feel: Ritz Residences

Ritz Lobby 1 

The Ritz is like a private club where everyone knows they’re rich without having to throw it in your face with ostentation.  Whether you live there or not, after a few visits they greet you by name.

Ritz Living Room 1

Just off the foyer lobby there’s what I call the living room.  While obviously large, it has that clubby feeling with a seating group surrounding the fireplace.  There’s even a back bench where the envious (or bodyguards) can gather. If you think the chair fabric is grandma-y, this ain’t the place for you.  It’s trademark Ritz luxury without everything having to try quite so hard.

For those in the know, residents can nip through a secret door and into the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for a spa treatment, bite at the Rattlesnake Bar or dinner at Fearing’s.  Don’t tell anyone … it’s all very hush-hush.


9. Best Place to Renovate: Wherever you live

A safe renovation bet
A safe renovation bet

I’m a firm believer that if you don’t like it, rip it out.  Therefore you should renovate wherever you live, whenever you feel the home isn’t doing the job.  That said, if you’re concerned with resale, it’s easy to get into trouble with diminishing returns.  So don’t buy a stunning, newly built or renovated property that’s not to your taste and expect to get your money back on a gut-job.

Figuring out where the best potential is takes math.  How old is what you’re looking to replace? Chances are if it’s over 20 years old, you’re safe.  The older the better.  I’d put the 1990s on the cusp with anything older being a no-brainer.  Next, understand what renovated condos in the building are fetching.  The difference between your renovation budget and those sales gives a barometer.  Don’t over-build or over-spec.

Time and again I read real estate listings that are stuffed with names.  Designers, manufacturers, and buzz words.  These are homes that have likely overbuilt. And it’s fine to overbuild because it’s what you want, just don’t expect anyone else to pay for it.  Just because you flew to Brazil to select the exact rain forest tree and hire the 90-year-old master woodworker whose last breath was drawn while finishing your kitchen cabinets … don’t expect me to pay extra for the story.

10. Most Interesting Futures: Preston Tower, Athena, and Bonaventure

Bonaventure 1

Outside renovation potential, these three buildings may have interesting futures.  I’ve written exhaustively for over a year about the Preston Center Task Force.  If there is a significant residential component, a new breed of buyer will be brought into the area. On the other hand, office-heavy development would bring fewer buyers to the area.  Either way, development will shine a renewed light on the area.  Some buyers will be looking for value and potential.  The older high-rises (and low-rises) in the area may benefit from more renovation and increased values.

The Bonaventure may also benefit financially from increasing corporate relocations and population growth up north.  Relocating buyers from more urban areas may want generously-sized, high-rise condos near their offices.  The current crop of options under construction may not suit their needs either in unit size or a location somewhat closer to the action of urban Dallas.  This confluence may attract renovators with the ready cash to bring aging condos up to speed.

For these reasons, high-rises in these mostly non-high-rise areas may have an interesting future.

There you have it.  My completely warped, slanted, and opinionated opinions.

Disagree?  Comments are open.

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016, my writing was recognized with Bronze and Silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email

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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.

Reader Interactions


  1. Joy Buhalts says

    Jon, I am a NM resident who was directed to Candy’s Dirt by a CO resident and classmate at Colorado State U. We both majored in design, so Candy’s Dirt was a natural for both of us. We thoroughly enjoy the blog, and I must say, Jon, that you have the most wonderful, sarcastic and entertaining spin of all the bloggers. Keep up the good writing !

    • Jon Anderson says

      Good catch, I didn’t think of that category! I might say that the W has the best skyline views (and little else, IMHO).

  2. Critic says

    Any idea which high rise has the worse road noise?
    Any idea which high rise has the highest HOA dues per square foot? with utilities included and without utilities ?
    Any idea which high rise has the loudest elevator noise? that reverberates in the units every time in use ?
    Any idea which high rise has rattling windows when the wind blows?

    It is difficult to find answers to these concerns when researching units listed for sale?

    • Jon Anderson says

      1. It depends on whether you mean inside the unit or on a patio. Obviously it depends how close the building is to a busy road/highway and the unit’s position in the building. A side facing a highway may be deafening while the other side of the same building is serene.
      2. No. The reason I haven’t calculated this is because HOA dues do not cover the same things. Utilities are one component that can be different, but there are many combinations of fees in each HOA’s dues.
      3. Yikes! I’d hope none of them.
      4. Yikes again! I assume older buildings with older windows. But unless it’s curtain-wall, individual owners can replace their windows (as long as they match).
      5. Depends who you talk to. 1. Visit the unit. 2. Talk to the building manager and realtor for info on what’s covered. 3. If the elevator is that noisy, don’t get on it. 4. Again, check the unit and replacement options.

  3. John Sieber says

    What? You can’t be done, you didn’t piss me off by saying something about the high rise I live in.

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