Bonaventure: The Perfect High-Rise For Fixed Incomes

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For those wanting to live in a high-rise in North Dallas, 1981’s 16-story Bonaventure is pretty much it. On the upside, it sits on over seven parklike acres dotted with water features. However, on the edge of the apocryphal double-edged sword, it also averages arguably the lowest cost per square foot of any high-rise in Dallas.

The reason I looked at the Bonaventure at all (which is a riff on the Italian words for “good luck”) was because unit 1117 popped into my feed last week after a price drop. I was shocked. It’s a 3,370-square-foot double unit listed for $410,000 with Robyn Carafiol of Keller Williams Midtown – that’s $121 per square foot. It was originally listed in July 2019 for $700,000, meaning today’s price represents a 41 percent drop. Of course, to my eyes, it’s a gut.

When I looked further I saw that there are 20 listings in a building with 336 units (three of which are currently under contract). Of those three, all were listed in mid-2019 with two remodeled and one “Ready to be redone!”.  This means that while they’re inexpensive, they’re also a long sell – not the best combination for most.

However, for those on fixed incomes, a combination of larger units, low prices, low HOA dues, and low property taxes are a boon. Of course, there are trade-offs.

Bonaventure’s hideous “80s video arcade” lobby scares buyers.

Beyond unit conditions, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The lobby and hallways must be kept up to get buyers in the door. That’s two-fold. First, it’s the front door for visitors (reflecting on owners’ status and taste). And second, it’s unchangeable for an individual homeowner – you’re just stuck with it.

If the Bonaventure hopes to increase buyer interest, it needs to risk centuries of bad luck and renovate the lobby. But super-low HOA dues probably mean there’s no money in the pot. And there’s the rub. Do you spend thousands on Windex or a special assessment?

My Bonaventure list

Financial Considerations

For anyone buying a home, I encourage you to create a table of a property’s pluses and minuses to see where you are. But for more clarity, rank how important each is to you on a 1-10 scale.

For example, the bad items in my Bonaventure list are all financially driven. The lobby and hallways are a result of low HOA dues. But those knock-on into slower sales, iffy ability to recoup renovation costs, and ultimate resale values. That you can buy a unit here for well under $200 per square foot after huge post-recession gains is telling.

But if this purchase is literally your last home, perhaps having heirs deal with any financial downside makes sense (finding a unit here with a walk-in tub seems pretty easy – jus’ sayin’).

Besides, all those financial downsides equate to lower property taxes. And if you’re on a specific budget, low purchase price, low property taxes and low HOA dues (currently $0.51 per square foot) might make sense for you.

Emphasize The Positives

The Bonaventure isn’t all bad. It sits on an enviable 7.6 acres, which means views are likely pretty stable simply because the next buildable lot is further away. View-wise, the Galleria is probably the most visible night-light, with downtown Dallas a speck in the distance. The acreage also equates to plenty of outdoor space for walking, swimming, or playing tennis.

Sample floorplan

Also in the positive column, unit sizes are really good, with those currently for sale ranging from 1,685 to 3,548 square feet (eight of the current listings and two of those under contract are the 1,685-square-foot size).

These are pretty generous for a high-rise of this vintage, which means it was built as a higher-end property (as the acreage verifies).

As with all high-rises, your love of a specific floorplan is a personal decision – but there is space.  From the floorplans I’ve seen, it appears the Bonaventure floorplans are situated where all or most have central kitchens with living on one side and bedrooms behind the kitchen.

Unit 1117 is 68.5 percent overvalued

Property Taxes

The graphic above lists all the currently for sale and under contract properties. As you can see, there are eight units where a buyer should rush to DCAD to get their taxes lowered even more (green). Depending on final sales price, DCAD seems pretty accurate on nine of the properties, leaving just three undervalued. Of those currently under contract, there’s one in each category (units 432, 216 and 1016).

A good deal?

Returning to the 3,370-square-foot double-unit 1117, is $410,000 a good deal? There’s one unit larger currently listed for sale – the 3,548-square-foot double-unit 932 asking $649,000. It was first listed in November 2018 for $749,000 (before a series of up and down price changes and a June 2019 pending sale).

Both are essentially original units (combined at some point) with as-built cabinetry, plumbing and largely original flooring (although if you’re Jonesing for fuchsia carpet, 1117 is for you). Unit 932 has been updated with de-popcorned ceilings and painted woodwork.

About the only other difference is the views. Unit 932 looks southwest over the heavily landscaped side of the building whereas unit 1117 faces southeast and largely overlooks a surface parking lot. Both have great long-distance views.

Maybe it’s the mood I’m in these days, but I think the best financial outcome for 1117 is to drive a hard bargain and split it back into two 1,685-square-foot units. Renovate the one without a kitchen and remodel the other. A smart and quick flip might net an investor a decent profit. Even though half the current listings are those 1,685-square-foot units, buyers want renovated homes – especially the older buyers most high-rises attract. I feel long-term appreciation will continue to be below-market rates.

Just be sure to blindfold buyers until they’re away from the lobby.

mm

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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Comments

  1. art w jacobs says

    When the residents have lived in their uptown condo’s for 20-25 year there will be plenty of walk in tubs. JUST SAYIN!
    i moved in when i was 57 and love the place. Great amenities although the property could use a fenced in dog park.
    Valet parking for the residents and their guest, indoor & outdoor pools. World class exercise room.
    I guess if you don’t wear Gucci shoes to the pool or workout room it’s not good enough for Jon.
    There are great buys based on some older people moving out.

  2. Bonnie Venture says

    I lived in an uptown high-rise. My favorite part was coming home in the evening after some late 20s or early 30s something person and vomited in the elevator. I also like the way they were selfish and parking in two parking spots. Yeah the uptown life may be for Jon but it certainly not for me.

    • mmJon Anderson says

      I’m going to assume you lived in a rental high-rise. High-rise condo buildings tend to have older residents and take better care of what they own.

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