Natalie Westbrook says that she can’t sit still for long. Whenever boredom creeps in, she has to create something. These days she is staying busy with her most ambitious creation, The Westbrook Real Estate Group, which started last September.

“It’s scary jumping out into the water, but if you don’t jump, you’ll never learn to swim,” Westbrook said.

So far, things seem to be progressing swimmingly. Westbrook currently has listings in University Park and Oak Lawn as well as a high-profile, $7 million home on 4606 Chapel Hill Road overlooking White Rock Lake. In fact, you can tour this incredible house on Wednesday, March 28, with both Westbrook and our own Candy Evans — RSVP here. And Westbrook’s also working on other projects near Frisco that she hopes to announce soon.

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The Katy at Victory Park facing down the opening edge of the Katy Trail

From the American Airlines Center and before even turning the corner and passing over the Tollway, the Katy Trail is lined with new apartment buildings towering over it.  From Victory Place, Camden Victory Park, The Alexan, and the latest — Magnolia Station and The Katy at Victory Park — walking at this end of the trail is something less than peaceful. Bleu Ciel will almost complete the curtain.  I’m pretty sure I can hold my breath long enough to see Little Mexico Village and the Magnolia condos fall to development to completely encase this end of the trail.

Of course these apartments have the manufactured hipster vibe residents have self-deluded themselves into thinking they possess.  Magnolia Station talks about apartments that evoke a “Modern Spirit” or “Vintage Soul” while The Katy at Victory Park harkens for residents who “live with intention,” whose “best friend” is their pet, and who want to “live inspired on the trail.”

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Limited Edition Top 1

In response to a question at last night’s meeting for the Hood and Dickason high-rise (Turtle Creek Haus), Masterplan representative Karl Crawley lobbed out that The Limited Edition at 2505 Turtle Creek was being redesigned. I was there to catch that ball.

Turns out he’s correct.  Just as Turtle Creek Gardens agrees to a $43 million sale to JLL, its neighbor is having a rethink.  I’ve hinted for months that Dallas is over-saturated with luxury high-rises. What’s built is half empty. Bleu Ciel has started building out the pool deck on level 7, because 6 levels are now complete of the 33 story building. If it appeared that construction was “down under”, it was: they were working on the private garages within the underground, 5 level parking garage, which are exclusive to Bleu Ciel and the Azure.

Note: previously we reported that construction had stopped on the project, which was incorrect. It was not, however, visible.

Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s quietly stopped marketing the Limited Edition in February. It’s been reported that while owners Great Gulf are still very committed to Dallas, they’re reevaluating their concept.

This review obviously has everything to do with pricing.  In my opinion, this ultimately translates into smaller units with less swanky interiors that may, in the long run, be better for the area and the Dallas marketplace. Expect a relaunch in the autumn, perhaps in conjunction with more details on the rental building planned across the street that’s yet to be enrobed in even a construction fence.

I wonder if Limited Edition’s falter gave Bleu Ciel sales a boost or if the Stoneleigh and Museum Tower benefitted? Hmmm…

As always, stay tuned.

Winner Slug v1

Remember:  Do you have an HOA story to tell?  A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors?  How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting?  Shoot Jon an email.  Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)!  sharewithjon@candysdirt.com

Bleu Ciel 1 SM

In April 2015, just a few months after I started this gig, I noticed that Bleu Ciel’s prices had jumped. Well, it’s done happened again! Today saw a further 2 to 4.5 percent increase on top of the 15-ish percent they’d jumped since pricing was announced.

For the “teaser” units on the MLS that translates to …

Unit 1701 is a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom whopper with 5,835 square feet. Before yesterday, it was $4.723 million; now it’s $4.951 million. A jump of $228,000. From a square foot perspective, what was $809 is now $848 per square foot, or a bump of $39.07 a square foot.

Unit 2803 is a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath unit with a sizeable 2,973 square feet. It’s jumped from $3,163,000 to $3,218,000 — a shade less than a 3 percent bump — a new $18.49 per square foot. However, by cost-per-square-foot, it’s the priciest of this group at $1,082 per square foot.

Unit 2606 is also a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home crammed into a more modest 2,231 square feet. It’s hardly worth mentioning its measly 2 percent rise from $2,064,000 to $2,099,000 — a mere $35,000. Almost tip money in this realm.

Unit 1804 is a three-bedroom, three-bath unit with a “my size” 1,903 square feet of space. What was $1,292,000 grew $59,000 to $1,351,000, or 4.5 percent.

Unit 2505 is a 1,537-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath “shoebox” that added $54,000 and is now listed at $1,252,000.

If you’re on a financial diet, there’s still unit 702. It’s a bit closer to the ground (well, 18 stories closer) than unit 2505, but the floorplan is nearly identical (just 10 square feet smaller). Literally across the floorplan “hallway” it’s a steal at $906,000 or one-third ($346,000) less. That $346,000 is all view, baby.

For all the doom and gloom some feel is skittering towards the Dallas real estate market, the Ciel is sure Bleu down on Harwood. Looks like Harwood has a winner as Dallas continues to concentrate sprawl upwards.

Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)! sharewithjon@candysdirt.com

Gabriel Barbier-Mueller

Bleu Ciel, designed by HDF, LLC and Jean-Michel Wilmotte.

Since we first heard the news, Bleu Ciel has made a big impression on us. From the design to the prices, we have to admit that this 33-story condo building is going to have a big impact on the Harwood area. The tower will include two- and three-bedroom homes from 1,300 square feet to more than 7,000, with prices starting at $805,000.

But if you want to know more about this building, which is primed to become a landmark in the area, you can enter to win a pair of tickets to the first exclusive “Beyond the Bricks and Mortar” speaker event featuring our publisher and editrix Candace Evans. This is an invitation-only event that will host some of the most influential Dallasites and real estate professionals, so you don’t want to miss out.

Jump to find out how to win!

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Gabriel Barbier-Mueller

The Barbier-Mueller family, from L to R: Alexis Barbier-Mueller, Niña Barbier-Mueller Tollett, Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, Ann Barbier-Mueller, and Oliver Barbier-Mueller at the the Samurai Collection traveling exhibition in Quebec City. All photos: Gabriel Barbier-Mueller

Many diners at Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar and passers by admire the Virgin de Guadalupe monument standing outside, a tile-and-brick structure that murmurs the history of the area.

This Harwood Avenue location was Dallas’ first school for Hispanic children, the 1927 St. Ann’s school house. It was located in the heart of Little Mexico, in what is now the Harwood District of Uptown, the signature development of Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, Founder and CEO of Harwood International.

After buying the historic schoolhouse, Barbier-Mueller’s company brought in an art preservationist to refurbish the tile mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They kept the original brick school building and transformed the interior into a sophisticated-yet-comfortable eatery in 2010. The second level houses The Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, an assemblage of samurai armor and related objects that is one of the largest and most complete in the world. Outside, the patio is one of the biggest and most lovely in the city.

This is just a tiny part of the Harwood empire, which spans the globe and has offices and developments in select parts of Dallas, Beverly Hills, Sunnyvale’s Gold Coast, Geneva, London’s West End, Paris, and Zurich’s Golden Triangle. But it speaks to Barbier-Mueller’s vision and European sensibilities when it comes to his work.

It’s not “out with the old, in with the new,” but rather a reimagining of space, with a focus on robust capital investment, energy conservation, leading-edge technology, green spaces, and designs that are built to stand the test of time.

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Pretty soon there will be a much larger one of these in the Harwood District, only it's going to cost you more to get inside.

Pretty soon there will be a much larger one of these in the Harwood District, only it’s going to cost you more to get inside.

This morning’s Ebby Alert contained a surprise. Prices at the Bleu Ciel (the next rich, rich, rich highrise in Dallas) are rising right along with construction. So if you’ve been fiddling and diddling about putting a deposit down, it’s gonna cost ya!

Originally the 158 units had starting prices of $700,000 for the smallest 1,373-square-foot units (or $509-per-square-foot). Today that ’07 unit (707 to be exact) on floors 7-27 lists for $805,000 (or $586-per-square-foot). This represents a 15 percent increase … for a property still under construction. No moss growing here!

Other (much, much) larger units have also taken a hike upmarket:

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