Limited Inventory Has Buyers Scouting The Penthouse Plunge

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The “cool” side of The Claridge

It might be in the chilly 30s as I write this, but buyer interest in the Penthouse Plunge is in full-on spring buying mode.

Work continues to progress on the renovation and resale of unit 18-A at The Claridge. In the next two weeks, we’ll be scheduling the first round of construction inspections. That means the framing is up and we’re finishing one side of the drywall (you need the walls at least half open so inspectors can check the work). Fingers-crossed, I’m two-ish months from completion (and a party).

Also, as you know, kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities have been ordered from Germany and the countertops have been secured. I’ve also been busy snapping up Dornbracht and Toto plumbing fixtures.

Of course, buyers don’t know fully everything that’s been/being done, but that’s not stopping agents and buyers from contacting me directly to see the unit. What began with a showing once or twice a month last autumn has turned into a steady flow in recent weeks with a half-dozen showings so far this month (and more penciled in). And since I live next door and work from home, it’s easy for me to offer prospective buyers the full tour and hear their thoughts on the project.

I think there are a few things at work here – in no particular order:  

Those extra feet add a lot of drama

First, it’s a penthouse unit at The Claridge and there are only five units on this floor. Penthouse-level ceilings push 12 feet, compared with non-penthouse units’ nine-footers. There is a difference. I’m enjoying the volume of the rooms as well as the “bigger” views.

Second, inventory offers little selection – one listing in the building and just four between $1.4 and $1.6 million (I’ll be targeting the higher end). One is over in Victory Park, another facing construction in Mansion Park, a tri-level shell at The Centrum, and the aforementioned Claridge listing that needs work.  

Third, it’s a great location. Blocks from West Village and Oak Lawn. A skip to Uptown and Central Expressway. And for walkers like me, it literally borders the Katy Trail.

Corner views over Turtle Creek Park

Fourth, it’s a corner unit, whose sweeping Turtle Creek views are essentially protected from the encroachment of future Uptown/Oak Lawn development. I mapped out the zoning around The Claridge before I bought to understand what the future could be. Barring a commercial redevelopment of Turtle Creek Park, the “A” stack is fine.

A lot of shades drawn against the afternoon sun

Fifth, it’s on the cooler side of the building. I think all high-rises have warm and cool sides depending on which side gets afternoon sun. Being someone who cranks the AC in summer, the cool side works for me. I’m also terrible at remembering to close the shades in the afternoon to keep my unmentionables from fading.

Sixth, it’s a good size. At 2,770 square feet, it has two bedrooms with two full and one-half bathrooms plus a study/den. The rooms are generous. The kitchen has been reworked into a more-open showpiece and the closets are plentiful and large.

Seventh, it’ll be decked out in high-end materials. Leicht cabinetry and Dornbracht plumbing from Germany, Toto toilets, snazzy countertops, and acres of Ann Sacks tile and stone

Eighth, the next owners will enjoy a brand-new unit (without the work of renovation). Most people who renovate in a high-rise do it for themselves, not to resell. But most buyers don’t want to renovate or build (ask the Stoneleigh). Also, while a lot has already been purchased, there are still a few things a buyer could select like paint. This nets a buyer some personal personality without the graft.

Until this morning, I’d never really articulated the selling points of my Claridge flip. I knew what interested me and that it was a good deal as well as a monumental project (for me).  Now it seems others are seeing the potential in what I’m doing which is definitely reassuring.


Remember:  High-rises, HOAs, and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.  

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is CandysDirt.com's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on SecondShelters.com. 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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