New doors, windows, copper roof, a security system better than Fort Knox (or at least Cowboy Stadium) and miles of mortar joints going under a microscope!
Starting this fall, the Drexel Highlander Condominium on Oak Lawn is getting an overhaul, a major overhaul — to the tune of $4 million plus.
It’s even getting a new name: the Park Highlander.
This is the pretty pinkish-red brick, eight story building on Oak Lawn at 4240 Prescott where every single unit has several charming Juliette balconies. It was developed by notorious Dallas developer Robert Edelman, who commenced the project in 2006 after serving time in prison for trying to hire a hitman to kill his first wife. With a partner, Glenn Wiggins, Edelman built the Drexel Highlander, a 48 unit luxury condo building, through the Drexel Highlander Limited Partnership. Then he went on up to develop the Drexel Park Hollow West Behind the Pink Wall.
But in March 2011, Edelman and his second wife, Diana, were sued by Drexel Highland Limited Partnership and Wiggins, for various offenses ranging from fraud to living in the building rent-free. The court awarded the plaintiffs $4.5 million in damages, carving the award out of the Edelman’s bankruptcy filing. A subsequent lawsuit for shoddy workmanship was directed at Drexel and the contracting company, the mason and architects, etc. That was settled for a confidential, but substantial, settlement.
According to John Vestal, a resident and also Vice President and Director on the
Drexel’s Park’s Board, Edelman split with Wiggins and has been long gone from the Drexel Highlander, and the developer’s control expired earlier this year. So the owner’s board is now in charge.
And they are going to town.
“We are re-branding aggressively,” says Vestal. “And this building is getting the largest overhaul of any recent condo in Dallas.”
The security and surveillance system is being upgraded to a superior Canadian product known as the Avigilon System — so good even police stations use it for protection, says Vestal. Software and cameras will control access to the building utilizing high resolution, extended recording capacity, color cameras. They are actually the same ones used for security at Cowboy Stadium.
The prior system, says Vestal, had been an industry standard but the new one is even better. The Drexel Highlander also has a 24 hour a day concierge who can monitor these cameras.
The Drexel, like many condos, has had water intrusion issues, which is why they are restoring, updating and protecting the entire exterior of the building. All 264 sets of doors and windows (some of which flexed in high winds and were permeated by rain) are being replaced with sturdier, higher energy efficient sets. Every inch of mortar joint is going to be inspected on the brick and cast stone, repaired and then water-sealed. Balconies will be re-painted and inspected. Residents also have a one time opportunity to add vents for gas fireplaces and kitchen vents if they desire to vent the high end gas cooktops in their units.
And get ready to see a beautiful new gleam while driving down Oak Lawn: the board is replacing the original mansard roof with seamed sheets of gleaming copper!
Who is paying for it? The homeowner’s reserves, a special assessment, plus proceeds from the settlement of the condo board’s own law suit and the developer and others.
Current owners will be charged a $23 per square foot one time assessment, an average of $56,000 per unit, payable monthly for 36 months.
Vestal says the board is borrowing the funds to start the construction immediately, since two/thirds of current owners have consented to a bank loan.
Finally, the board plans to increase HOA reserves to three quarters of a million dollars.
“That’s enough to give 48 units a solid cushion,” says Vestal.
And enough to make the new Park Highlander even more attractive to buyers. One of the first hallmarks of high rise luxury in Dallas, the building boasts private elevators to each unit, a gated garage and swimming pool in an exceptionally great community at the tip top of Oak Lawn, just south of Highland Park.
“We are a small condo, and a very close group of residents,” says Vestal, who says he and his wife were driving by the building, which they had driven by for years, and decided to stop one day and look. They have lived in the building since July of 2011.
Developer condos were sold out about that time five years ago, and three re-sale units are on the market currently.
On Wednesday, August 3, the new Park Highland board invites the Dallas real estate community to take a fresh look at the building as they roll out their new branding, from four to six p.m inside unit 7C.