Penthouse Plunge: What’s The Plan For This High-Rise Renovation?

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I’m the soon-to-be the owner of a 5,311-square-foot penthouse on Turtle Creek that I don’t want and can’t afford. Now what?

As I hinted in my first Penthouse Plunge column, the plan is to separate the condo back into two units as it was originally designed. I foresee three phases.

Phase one will include all demolition and the construction of any new walls – including putting up the wall to separate the A and B units (physically as well as legally). The floors will also be repaired and refinished.

After all that dusty stuff is done, I will move into the serviceable B side while the rest of the A Unit is renovated and sold. After the A unit sale, I’ll recast my mortgage to something less breathtaking. From there, I’ll slow-poke the B unit renovation as funds become available. A small mortgage is better than an immediately fancy home – at least to me.

Follow the renovation as it unfolds (later this week you’ll read about how I found an architect). All the workers and suppliers know that, for good or bad, all will be laid bare in these pages. There will be no fake “Oh no!” cliffhangers before the commercial break – only real “Oh no!” and “Yippie!” moments here. And parties, of course …

Of course, there will be parties before, after, and possibly during the renovation – this is still after all. Partygoers will be able to see the work, meet the contractors and manufacturer reps – maybe swapping contact info that’ll spur your own renovation projects.

And since the A unit will be for sale until it’s sold, Realtors are welcome to schedule appointments to view. We all know most buyers want move-in ready homes. In this case, they’ll be the first full-time residents in this unit in over 15 years – and the first post-renovation. They’ll also have me as a neighbor, a priceless amenity (ha!). Buyers wanting to pick finishes and colors should lock it in soon. After all, the 18th floor at the Claridge has just five units and is the only level with 12-foot ceilings. That’s some rarified air.

The A-Unit Endgame

The resulting A-unit will return to 2,770 square feet with two bedrooms, two full and one half bathrooms with a study. It will have two balconies overlooking Turtle Creek.  The kitchen will be brand new and reconfigured so it maximizes space and openness to the living and dining room. The master bathroom will get a similar reworking with “his” and “hers’ sections that also maximize closet space.  A “new” second full bathroom will be restored to service the second bedroom. Even the lowly laundry room will be returned to its original spaciousness.

Possible rendition of the new A-unit kitchen (Factory Builder Stores)

But it’s not all gut. The original solid hardwood maple floors with brass inlay will be retained and restored. I was told the replacement value of these special floors would cost $100,000 alone. Similarly, the $10,000 pair of Lalique sconces will be reused– I told you the original bones spared no expense.

For Sale: Edge-lit etched glass “picture” of Dallas Skyline.

However, there are things that just don’t fit my plans and will either be donated to charity or sold. So if you’re looking for a high-gloss maple kitchen built by super-spendy Siematic, talk to me quickly. Ditto a huge art glass room separator and large etched glass piece depicting the Dallas skyline (above: 87 x 39-inches plus 4-inch frame).

Good Morning DCAD, I’m Your New Neighbor

Since my Athena home sold so quickly at the end of June, I’ve been living in a hotel – next door to DCAD. Everything but the bare necessities is in storage. Moving walls and refinishing floors will require a few months of renovations before I can even move-in, so I’ll be here at least until Halloween. As I’m literally looking over DCAD’s shoulder, maybe we’ll do lunch?  Maybe they’ll show me their dart board and blindfold?

What’s Next?

Once I close, stay tuned for the pre-demolition party coming VERY soon.

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.


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. Kyle Crews says


    I predict great success in the renovation of 18B and the redo and sale of 18A We will share this purchase opportunity with clients Hope we can attend the demo soirée sounds fun !

    • mmJon Anderson says

      Nope. Plumbing and vent stacks are where they are. Laundry goes where it goes. Original plan had a breakfast nook where the study will be, so the travel time is the same.

  2. Sharon Quist says

    It’s been quite the journey, with lots of twists and turns. This transaction has been the most complex in my career. Never stop learning, and always persevere. Can’t wait to see the transformation and to share your vision with a whole new group of buyers.

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