It’s been a Ritzy week here at CandysDirt.com 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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 Candysdirt.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.