BombSHELLS: Ritz’s Regency Row Townhomes

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Regency Row Exterior 1

It’s been a Ritzy week here at and I’ve got a different story to tell.

Having lunch at the Dallas Ritz with Kyle Crews from Allie Beth Urban was the perfect tee-up to my flight to Paris … where the Ritz legend was born.  In a way it was also a harbinger.  You see, there are four Regency Row townhouses associated with the Dallas Ritz, three of which remain unfinished shells. My arrival in Paris, 9-hours late after four planes and lost luggage, made my first 48-hours rather unfinished in a different way.

We’ve all driven by these odd townhomes wondering if they were really homes (they are) and not some elaborate Ritz stage piece masking some hidden purpose like an Oncor substation (they’re not).  Now that the McKinney and Olive building, designed by award-winning architect César Pelli, is complete, the Regency Row townhomes have something nifty to look at.  It sort of completes the street scene for this block.

The townhomes are a study in cognitive dissonance.  They are at the same time private and in the thick of things.  They are traditionally rendered (by another award-winner, Robert A.M. Stern) facing the modernity of Pelli’s reflective glass.  They are part of an urban streetscape and the tranquility of the Ritz’s inner courtyard and pool. It’s that whole “having your cake and eating it too” thing.

Side of the Building with McKinney & Olive to the right; Ritz and pool to the left.
Side of the Building with McKinney & Olive to the right; Ritz and pool to the left.

They’ve been on and off the market for quite a while … the Ritz high-rises were finished in 2007 and 2009. So what gives? The recession was certainly an issue, as was the construction of the McKinney and Olive building across the street.  Many also felt that they’d have been better received as flats instead of townhomes (a la Mayfair).  Whatever you believe, both the cranes and the downturn have flown away, so it’s time to remarket them.

From shell to finished product
From shell to finished product

Three of the four are available with one teetering on the edge of a deal.  All have have six levels … yes, six.  There’s the underground garage with space for up to five cars, four living levels totaling between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet along with a terrace level.  Each of the living levels have some terrace space (~1,500 square feet) plus the ground floor garden space in front.  Oh yeah, there’s also an elevator connecting all the levels. The price? $5-ish mil for each shell.  Too small? There are sample plans for combining the two center units which makes for one enormous, grand home (with a rooftop deck the envy of the city).

View out back gives an idea of the terrace spaces and how light-filled these units are.
View out back gives an idea of the terrace spaces and how light-filled these units are.

Of course as any Realtor can tell you, you’re an unimaginative lot (not me).  Shell spaces frighten people for whom ultimate creativity is a burden (ask The Stoneleigh).  You can put a toilet on the roof or a kitchen in the underground garage, and that gives folks the willies.  Me?  I love the challenge of allocating space how I see fit.  Less control freak and more logician.

Sample floor plan for Unit 4, second floor
Sample floor plan for Unit 4, second floor

I like this level.  Large terrace and living room.  Space for a killer kitchen (which I’d angle further down the wall) and a secluded dining spot with killer views out to the streetscape.  Just swap the “storage” between the staircases with the powder room no one wants THAT close to the dining table … turn powder room into glass wine vault … and I’m good.

Unit 3 Master Suite Level
Unit 3 Master Suite Level

Far from being a detriment, a shell means you have control and can fix this whole shameful bathroom situation.  “Her” bathroom and closet is basically a wing with a rotunda.  What does “He” get? A bathroom and closet corridor. Entering the Master suite and the first thing you see is “his” closet door?  Ahhhhh … no, no, no … not on my watch. There ain’t no way I’m going to be a tolerated guest in my own bathroom.

Mark Molthan "before"
Mark Molthan “before”

To help focus buyers, in addition to the sample floor plans, Crews has created a new video that shows what one owner and builder Mark Molthan have created in the completed unit (#1, naturally).

Mark Molthan "after" (Mirror unit).
Mark Molthan “after” (Mirror unit).

What I like about the video, aside from the drone footage that makes the area look so hip and urban, are these before and after shots.  Along with the footage of the finished unit, these visuals will give prospective buyers a bit more courage to tackle a shell.  Trust me, construction is like a teenager. Once they move out, you’re thrilled.

Does this get your imagination fired-up?  Remember, this is the Ritz.  Room service from Fearings.  Spa. Wink-nod rates at the hotel.  Full, resident-only fitness center, meeting spaces, valet parking, temperature-controlled storage units.  There’s even a catering kitchen and private dining room (with chilled wine storage lockers so you don’t have to run home when I hammer-back a bottle).

It’s time to call Kyle Crews and the folks at AllieBeth Urban. I’m thirsty.

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. John McKee says

    I dunno, the layout seems awkward, despite the alleged appeal of looking at the building across the street there are no views and real or perceived security concerns with a street entrance. In it’s configuration and price I would much rather be in the tower. I agree with the idea that this would have been much better received as flats. Even with an elevator the floor plates are weird and I imagine requiring a somewhat complicated living style.

    I could see how some privacy minded people with the pocketbooks might prefer a little bit of privacy from the front desk but half the reason I live in a full service building is to have that front desk between the street and my home. Security, guest waiting area, easy valet access/car service access and frankly just the “Hello Mr. McKee” and “Have a great day Mr. McKee.”

    Plus in the age of Uber, that many of us use constantly, it’s nice to have the private covered driveway for pickup and management, who wants to trounce across a pool and courtyard to meet their waiting black SUV, or navigate them to waiting on the street or explain to guests where to park?

    Seems to me it is basically paying for the costs of a full service building with the compromises of a townhouse and none of the benefits of a high-rise.

    • mmJon Anderson says

      Many people purchase units on lower floors in high-rises for the amenities, so I see these townhomes as no different than that. Also, while the units are separate from the Ritz towers guests will most likely valet and check-in at the tower and be escorted across to the townhome they’re visiting (as I was). Given each unit’s locked gate and front door, the Avon lady isn’t going to come knocking. Also, I didn’t note that the Ritz has just completed a guard “shack” near unit #4 whose sole job is to take care of the townhome owners.
      Ditto owners; they have the option of driving to their private garage and elevator or valeting and entering/exiting their homes via the tower lobby (to pick up their car or Uber).
      When I was in Atlanta last year, the Mandarin Oriental had a similar setup and it was viewed as an asset by owners who’d snapped up their townhouses.
      Personally, I’ve stayed in the cottages on the Arizona Biltmore’s grounds and it was a wonderful sense of inclusion and seclusion.

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