Literally Raise the Roof in Gold Crest Penthouse Unit 1101

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We all know the Gold Crest on Turtle Creek.  Even though it’s just 11 stories tall, its design overshadows many taller buildings on the boulevard.  It was built in 1964 by George Dahl and it was his home for the last decades of his life.

Fresh on the market after over 34 years with the same owner is unit 1101 on the penthouse level.  While other buildings belled and whistled their penthouse levels with jumbo combined units, the 11th floor of the Gold Crest is like any other. It’s a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with 1,630 square feet and listed with Janet Rone of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate for $725,000.  Don’t bother clicking on the link for pictures, there’s one and it’s of the exterior. But I do have the floor plan and my crayons …

From my High-Rise Buyers Guide Series

As I said, the home has been in the same hands for over 34 years, and as you might imagine, this estate sale unit has seen better days.  Since you can’t include a shot of Jack Daniels with a link, until the unit’s contents are moved out and the unit spiffed up, pictures aren’t a great idea.  Why the burn to get it on the market before it’s been spitted and polished?  Executors have a duty to get things moving.

But that’s not stopping me from whetting your renovator’s appetite.  Once it’s stripped back to the bones, this is a great unit.  Seriously, you’re not going to move right into this unit unless you’re blind.

Bare bones of unit 1101

Where there’s a will … I snapped a picture of the floorplan off the wall across from the freight elevator during a visit with Realtor Rone. From there, I stripped out the accessory scribbles and voilà, we have a basic floor plan.  You enter from the bottom right of the picture into a foyer. In front of you are the living areas.  One bedroom to the far bottom left and the master slightly right.  All in all, not bad.  Decent closet space for the 1960s and fairly generous room sizes (for 1,630 square feet).

What a diagram can’t show you are the views out the edge-to-edge windows … a signature of the Gold Crest along with the full belt of balconies surrounding the building.  This unit faces northeast with views sweeping from Kalita Humphreys to Old Parkland. That means that every room has French doors leading to the balcony.  Aside from the black pillars, it’s glass.

The other thing a diagram can’t show are the ceilings.  Remember the “raising the roof” headline?  The way things were constructed, you actually have the option of tearing out the existing 8- and 9-foot ceilings and raising them … by two feet. Let’s review. Top floor, walls of windows, raise the ceiling height by two feet.  Betcha didn’t see that coming.

So I hear you asking. “But Jon, what would you do with this unit?”

This …

Option One

In option one, I’d tear down the walled-in kitchen and create a more efficient galley.  I’d close off the midnight snack entry to the kitchen from the second bedroom and create some added closet space.  I’d add a pocket door to the end of the structural pillar and create a second, smaller master suite.  I’d gut the second bath, and extend the shower. Depending on depth, I might recess it further, making it square to give more open area to the bath (tape measure stuff).  In the master bedroom, I’d finagle the closet to create more usable space.  The master bath would dump the back-to-bath linen closets and create a shower.  Two bowl vanity, natch’. In the entry, I’d slim down the entry closet so you’re looking out the windows the second the door is opened.

Add to this new flooring, raising the ceiling and replacement of all the single pane windows, and you’re in the $200,000 ballpark. The windows might be $50,000 of that and you’ll want to do the windows.  While all utilities are included in the HOA dues, the AC just can’t keep up on a summer’s day with those single panes.  Huffing and puffing away, it was uncomfortably close to 80 degrees when I visited.

Option Two: Please, please, please.

Then there’s the “I wish I may, I wish I might” plan.  Everything’s pretty much the same, but if you’re able to move the front door over a few feet, you get a cleaner entry and an enormous master closet.  If it could be done, this would sell the unit.  For some reason folks in the 1960s were Jonesing for foyer space that’s, in my opinion, just wasted space.  Who among you wouldn’t trade the old foyer for that closet?  Exactly. It also wouldn’t add much to the overall budget.

Option 1.5: The Goldilocks Option

But if you still want more closet space but can’t move the door, here’s the Goldilocks option.  Increase the size of the master closet as far into the entry as makes sense. Better master closet results in a dog-leg entry to the home.  Actually, aside from potential issues with large furniture deliveries, the dog-leg makes for an interesting entry for those who don’t want to see the front door from their arm chair (me).

Let’s talk money

At $725,000 with $200,000 in renovation costs, would you get your money out?  That would be $568 per square foot. In 2016, the only sale netted $461 per square foot.  Looking at the pictures, it was a mix of renovated and not (mostly outdated bathrooms) but still light years better shape than Unit 1101.

There are two other active listings.  One is a pinch smaller and $526.70 per square foot on a low floor … but it’s magnificently renovated, however it’s been listed off/on since 2015. The other is three floors down, 1,200 square feet larger and facing the city. It’s asking $587 per square foot and is decorated to a specific (mostly outdated) taste.

Of course, with 56 units, comps are particularly daunting, but I still think there’s price movement needed to attract someone prepared to gut this unit to either live-in gloriously or flip.

What do you think?


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 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email



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.

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