Huge news for Dallas and, really, for Texas. Tuesday night, at a very exclusive cocktail party on the mezzanine at the Winspear, the elite of Dallas real estate met the folks from Toronto who will be building the very first new luxury condominium project in Dallas since Museum Tower.
And, yes, since the recession.
GGH Development LLC, an affiliate of Canada’s Great Gulf Homes, presented Ltd. Edition/No. 2505 Turtle Creek, a 22-story, 60 unit tower going on a 1.4-acre site at Turtle Creek Boulevard and Fairmount Street. The planned residential building will be designed (as I mentioned last week) by Hariri Pontarini Architects of Toronto.
Chris Wein, Norman and Elly Reisman of GGH told us they have seven condo projects in the works right now in Toronto, from 22 to 75 stories tall. They chose Dallas as their very first real estate venture outside of Canada.
Not New York City, not San Francisco, not even dot com rich Seattle. GGH chose Dallas.
“Why Dallas?” said Geoff Matthews, director of acquisitions and development for Great Gulf. “It’s the key center of economic prosperity in Texas, really in the southwest U.S. You have the Nasher Sculpture Garden, the Arts District, and you submerged a freeway to create more public space.”
We got more info on what these new luxury properties will look like: estates in the sky. Large terraces. I am talking terraces with actual green space built into them — landscaping, shrubs, a patch of lawn or grass, fireplaces. then barbecue grills, outdoor cooking environments and kitchens. These will not be available in the common areas but on each individual huge private terrace.
As one of the principle marketing agents, Briggs agent Katye Sloan put it, these homes will essentially have wrap-around porches in the sky.
We did not get an indication of what they would cost. Clearly what I evoked from the presentation was that Great Gulf has been doing their homework on Dallas — I spotted Stan Levenson in the group. They have, they said, been going to our stores, restaurants, looking at how we live and taking it all in stride.
“We fell in love with Dallas,” said Jim Franzen of Atelier-lb, a division of the Leo Burnett Group and the new development’s New York City-based marketing and advertising company. “We had to dig deep to learn what made Dallas special.”
They watched and learned how we build a community, too, which apparently was impressive. They took three years of research (the property for Ltd. Edition was acquired in 2008) and came up with the concept of green on green: condominium homes in the sky that will bring the beauty of Reverchon Park and a very unique plot of land on Turtle Creek not just into every terrace, but into every home.
I think GGH figured out that in Dallas, we love to live outside and one thing most homeowners consider when they contemplate shedding their very grounded mansions for high rise living is that connection to outdoors — the patio, the gardening, puttering in a little dirt, letting the dog out through a doggie door.
“People miss their yards,” said Katye Sloan, “but they don’t have to give them up to live in this high rise.”
Ltd. Edition has that concern handled. You want a natural herb garden or a spread of rosebushes? Done. Even on the 24th floor. Not in pots, but right in the floor of the terrace.
The design will be contemporary with carved stone pillars, floating fireplaces, lots of open spaces and gardens. Direct assess elevators. Full time concierge and valet. Service extraordinaire. Kitchen counter islands will be of native carved stone. Room sizes will be “big and principled”. Windows will be huge sheets of uninterrupted glass looking over the terrain of Turtle Creek and the city beyond. And those mansion-sized terraces.
“Every suite is a penthouse in the sky,” said Diego Burdi, interior designer for Ltd. Edition who is no stranger to Dallas taste — he has designed at least one Neiman Marcus store. “These will be homes for the well-heeled, the well-travelled, the designer aware audience.”
Katye said she, Jeffrey Lester, and Robbie Briggs travelled to Toronto and met with Great Gulf to tour their properties, get to know the company, meet with the architects. The Sloan/Lester team is marketing Ltd. Edition based in Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Uptown office.
“They looked at the whole U.S. and picked our city,” said Robbie Briggs. “They give you a feeling we are undervalued, that we are on the cusp of coming alive — thank you for choosing us.”
The folks from GGH smiled, met every agent, and sipped the excellent wine they were serving.
“Dallas,” said Geoff Matthews, “is writing the future.”