Photo courtesy JMJ Group

Luxury hotel lovers will salivate over this one: Dallas is getting a Mandarin Oriental, this time for sure. 

And this time, on Turtle Creek Boulevard, the original high rise haven of Dallas.

The 176-room ultra luxurious hotel will be part of a 25-story mixed use tower coming to a 2.47 acre site at 2999 Turtle Creek Boulevard.

Select luxury agents from across the state were feted at an opening event Saturday evening on the property site, with food, drink, cigar-rollers, and music, all to promote sales of the 100 private residences, which will be constructed on the upper floors of the exclusive hotel.

The property will include 176 room hotel guest rooms and suites, four restaurants, several bars and the residences. As is typical with hotel-associated luxury residences, the owners will have access to hotel and restaurant amenities as well as private, owners-only amenities such as pools, lounges, and private gardens.

The developer is Dallas-based JMJ Development, headed by Tim Barton. JMJ is a “leading developer acquiring and developing assets during what it perceives as rising markets in growth areas of Texas, Florida as well as additional target markets including New Mexico and Tennessee.” 

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel group, based in Hong Kong, will manage the property, located on Turtle Creek Boulevard at Dickason Avenue. Mandarin Oriental Hotels operates 32 hotels and seven residences in 23 countries and territories.  Capital financing for this project is coming from New York City-based Madison Realty Capital, which is pumping $32.5 million into the deal for site acquisition and development.  

The Mandarin Oriental had planned to debut in Dallas at Victory Park in Uptown back in 2006, with a gleaming 43-story hotel and condo tower, which is now home to a parking garage. But the Great Recession nipped those plans, and the development (rendering below) was never built.

photo courtesy of BOKA Powell

Serendipity — an unplanned series of happy intersections. It all began when I attended Craig Hall’s 50th anniversary bash for his Hall Group company – as a “plus one” of Dave Perry-Miller agent Sharon Quist. She introduced me to Hall Group VP Lea Anne Laughlin and we spoke about the under-construction Hall Arts project betwixt and between the event’s glittering city sky and non-stop catering (poetic license, it rained that night).

Flash-forward and I spent months finalizing the purchase of Quist’s Claridge double-penthouse listing that I am now gutting, splitting and flipping half (the Penthouse Plunge series).  Part of that huge undertaking is sourcing finishes like appliances and plumbing fixtures. For those who’ve read me for a while, you know I’ve had a soft-spot for Gaggenau appliances for quite some decades.

I reached out to BHS (Bosch Siemens Home), owners of the Gaggenau and Thermador (and Bosch) brands, and met with Charles Pizzeck, their district sales manager. During those conversations of my needs, I learned that Hall Arts would also be using Gaggenau appliances. Up until now, Candy has had all the fun writing about the Hall Arts project, now it’s my turn!

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I’ve never used the same general contractor twice. That says something right there. So every time I do a renovation, I have to start from scratch. The usual reason I don’t repeat contractors comes down to communication. I say things that don’t happen. They do things without asking that aren’t on the blueprints. They ignore installation instructions so an item won’t install properly (so I get the right part and do it myself over the weekend only to be met with wide-eyed stares). They try to install a shower drain a foot off the ground (literally) because they don’t have the right drain – which I source and have FedEx-ed.  They cut an active water line that floods the place and send me a Jimmy John’s sandwich as a “sorry.” And once they just ghosted for a month and I had to sue to recoup my deposit.

Those who read this column know that clarity isn’t typically one of my faults nor is suffering fools.

So given my track record, how do I find a contractor?

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One of four NOT Chihuly chandeliers for sale

Once you’ve checked out the Elite Auctions preview of 11322 E. Ricks Circle on Sept. 14, join me from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Claridge (3510 Turtle Creek Blvd., Units 18 A and B) for your chance to tour my Penthouse Plunge before demolition as I revive and return two Turtle Creek penthouses to their glory, and one to the market. 

Renovate: Reuse and Recycle

Every renovation has items from the existing home that no longer work with the new design. For my Athena renovation, I donated appliances, built-in cabinetry, lighting, doors and frames plus bathroom fixtures. The Claridge penthouses are no different. In and amongst the wine and nibbles, you’ll see what doesn’t fit with my plans and so is being donated, bartered, and frankly, for sale to anyone interested.

Respectful renovation isn’t the HGTV spectacle of sledgehammer-wielding destruction. It’s about taking a few minutes and finding a new home for eminently usable items that just aren’t “you.”

For example, kitchen and bathroom cabinets would be welcomed by housing charities. Ditto doors, windows, faucets, etc. You’re doing good and getting a tax write-off.

So far, in the “for sale” bin are four NOT-Chihuly chandeliers – one in each entry and two in the office (and my future bedroom). The clear/white one seen above is in the B-unit entry.

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Blueprint of remodeled Claridge 18-A-unit

I’d sketched enough plans to feel comfortable taking the Penthouse Plunge remodel of a double-penthouse at the Claridge on Turtle Creek. To review,  I’ll be restoring the combined 5,311-square-foot unit back into two infinitely more livable spaces. But my work isn’t good enough for building permits. That’s the subject of this column – getting to permit phase.

Before you begin a major renovation, you need to know what you’re doing – and not just in your head. So you’ll need blueprints prepared by a professional, and not just to get errant thoughts on paper.  First of all, major renovations – especially those in multi-family complexes – will need building permits. The governing HOA will want to know that the work is being inspected by professionals and that plans meet code requirements. With few exceptions, HOAs are not comprised of people in the construction trades.

The second reason for blueprints is to get accurate quotes from tradespeople and contractors. It will also help spec out what things you’ll need to buy – toilets, drawer pulls, tile, etc.

But how do you find the right resources to draw up your plans?  That’s where it gets interesting.

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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 …

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If you’re looking for a Dallas high-rise home so you can get as far off the ground as possible, be prepared to shell out big bucks or live in close quarters. 

In parts one and two, I outlined how Dallas has relatively few high-rise listings, and because of a lack of new high-rise construction, Dallas isn’t going to have a lot more buildings anytime soon. In this final installment, I break the 133 active units and 11 units under contract and analyze them by what floors they’re on. 

The distribution under the 20th floor is fairly even between 21 and 29 units in each category. For those interested in units above the 20th floor, inventory drops off because a lot of high-rises are under that height overall. Once you’re into the 30s, you’re pretty much at Museum Tower, which might be out of your price range.

But even more than height, the most important buyer criteria revolves around the unit size and overall cost (mortgage, HOA dues, insurance, and taxes). A studio on the 20th floor doesn’t help someone looking for a two-bedroom unit.

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As Dallas becomes more dense, high-rises should become the choice for more residents. The problem is that Dallas isn’t really building for-sale condo high-rises outside the ultra-luxury market. As noted in part one, there are currently just 133 high-rise condos on the market by my count – that’s it from $159,000 to $9.2 million. That’s not a lot of inventory.

The Stoneleigh, Ritz Residences, and Museum Tower may be where the money is, but it’s not where normal people are. As I’ve noted before, Dallas hasn’t built a big, mid-range high-rise in 20 years and it’s not because there isn’t a market. It’s because there is no financing.

And that’s different. When The Renaissance was built in 1998, it wasn’t luxury. Similarly, when 3883 Turtle Creek went up in 1963, it was planned as HUD housing. Preston Tower’s 362 units have always been affordable. All of those projects knew that cost containment came at scale. In addition to Preston Tower’s density, Renaissance has 603 units while 3883 Turtle Creek has 373. The closest in recent memory was the 75 units in The Cedars’ Beat lofts in 2007 – a relatively small project in a then transitional part of town.

I covered those condo buildings in that most-reasonable strata of high-rise living. Units ranged in price from the $150,000s to $700,000. In that range, you were almost certainly in the sub-2,000-square-foot range (perfectly fine for nearly everyone).

From here on out, it’s bonbons and champagne as we look at what you get when the sky’s the limit.

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