founder and publisher, Candy Evans, with Zach and Aaron Ipour, brothers and founders of Megatel Homes.

Megatel Homes, one of North Texas’ most prolific homebuilders, is suing even more prolific Centurion American Development Group and Grapevine-based United Development Group, charging that the firms “conspired to take advantage of Megatel,” mostly by selling development properties to competing homebuilders. Megatel is seeking $100 million in damages.

If the names of these companies sound vaguely familiar, let me refresh: Megatel Homes builds houses, townhomes, and apartments, in 100 subdivisions or more all over North Texas. It is the same firm that entertained a tentful of agents with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Kevin O’Leary last May at an amazing and expensive promotional bash at Mercer Crossing, up near Cypress Waters and LBJ/635. And Mehrdad Moayedi was there, sitting with Megatel’s two co-founders and the celebrity guests.

 2500 real estate professionals, with full bar service and seated dinner. There was a huge white tent with a/c. Even the bathrooms were tip-top, those nice white trailers just like the ones at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance. There was a smattering of tip top producers, too, from Dave Perry-Miller’s Ryan Streif and Charles Gregory, who has already sold two homes in Mercer Crossing, ReMax Premiere’s Von Truong, Bryan Poche, Dallas City Center’s Lisa Marie Dyess-Richardson, the ubiquitous Jeff Lindigrin, and more. Donations were also raised for Guns and Hoses Foundation of North Texas.

Steve Brown wrote a nice two-brothers-from-Cypress profile on the firms’ brother-founders, Zach and Aaron Ipour. He pointed out that competitors criticize Megatel, saying it pays too much for some of its land, and question the firm’s long-term funding strength. The company, Steve reported, also builds more speculative homes than many of its competitors. (more…)

Statler-Hilton-Block-PanoraNice to have this confirmed by the solidness that is Robert Wilonsky: Mehrdad Moayedi, one of the largest residential developers in North Texas, at least 677 lots brought up in 2012 from Dallas to Prosper, Celina, Frisco, McKinney and Aubrey, apparently is working a deal to buy the downtown Statler Hilton from Leobardo Trevino’s Ricchi Investment Group. Spoke to Mehrdad a few moments ago and he said yeah, the deal is not quite done — anyone in RE knows the deal is never done until the ink dries on signatures, TIF dollars, state historic tax credits, federal historic tax credits, all the due diligence is complete, etc. etc. But yes, his Centurion American Development Group is in the process of trying to buy the Statler downtown. If all goes down smoothly, Mehrdad will convert the historic 19 story, 800 room Statler to a boutique hotel and high-end residential with some retail component on the first floor, including a grocery store and movie theater.

Hallelujah! Seriously, that is just what downtown Dallas needs and it is about high time.

Stoneleigh ResidencesAs you may know, I have given Mehrdad the title of “St. Stoneleigh” as he bought the Stoneleigh Residences out of bankruptcy for $4.5 million in 2010, got the place going vertical again last February, and is selling them like hotcakes but reduced the units to 70 from 120, to make them larger. Also every unit will be custom — no or few developer clone homes. My sources tell me Don Carter bought one of the penthouse floors.

Mehrdad also recently bought the remaining lots over at the Creeks of Preston Hollow, a beautiful super high end gated community on the cusp of Preston Hollow developed by Hillwood and populated with mega million dollar mansions owned by Hunter Mahan, Selim Bassoul and even Mehrdad himself! Last time I was there Centurion was getting a house underway.

Last August, Lew Wood, executive vice president of Henry S. Miller Brokerage Multifamily told me that Henry S. Miller received the listing on the historic former Statler Hilton and Old Dallas Central Library.

“As the lead broker with my team of Andrew Doster and Darden Orand, this will be a serious opportunity to feature this formidable former hotel with 715,000 square feet of building and twenty stories of concrete and glass,” he wrote in an email. “It is quite imposing. This former luxurious 1,001-key hotel, built in 1956, was designed by world renowned New York architect William Tabler. Tabler designed many of Conrad Hilton’s hotels, with the Statler being considered the most modern and uniquely-designed in the country at that time. Entertainers such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley performed at the famous Empire Room with their pipes still echoing to this day!”

The über cool redevelopment could include a chic hotel, lavish apartments, with amenities being out of this world, he said. Dallas architects Merriman & Associates designed a wonderful conceptual plan for the redevelopment.

“Views of Main Street Garden Park, Forest City’s Mercantile Place (The Merc, The Element, The Continental, and The Wilson), and University of North Texas School of Law contribute to this magnificent location in the heart of downtown Dallas,” he said. Then he suggested we get a mojito at the Meddlesome Moth to beat the 100 degree heat — alas, I was in Maine.

Wilonsky says about this time Lew told him someone had emerged as a buyer for the old Statler Hilton and the library. He apparently revealed who that was in front of  the  “Young Guns” from the Real Estate Council last week. 

Wilonsky wrote that Wood says Centurion American has until October 28 to sign the deal or toss the contract.

“Some things still need to be nailed down, chief among them how to handle parking. Said Wood, Centurion American’s looking at two options: demolishing three stories of existing underground facilities, and acquiring nearby property with parking lots.

“The three stories underneath used to be the back-office stuff, the laundry facilities,” he said. “That’s all underground, and it’s huge, and it’ll all be demolished back to the library. They are now looking for adjacent parking to help development and so they can recapture some of that square footage.”

Parking, thank God. Because no matter how much we want to walk once we get down there, you still need a car to get yourself in downtown Dallas and parking there is the worst. If I know Mehrdad, he will make it work and do his homework. Recall that developer Jack Matthews (South Side on Lamar, the NYLO, the fabulously successful downtown Omni) tried to buy the Statler earlier this year but couldn’t make the deal work. Matthews said he loves the building, but couldn’t make the financials work.

Stay tuned — we may have a new nickname for Mehrdad: St. Statler.

Or Mini Champs. McMansion Champs –McChamps! This could be why Alan Goldfield has decided to auction off the over the top dream chateau with the Chanel Boutique-replica closet etc. etc. that he has been trying to sell for almost ten years up there in Hictory Creek. A few weeks ago I found out that a chunk of Goldfield properties in Hickory Creek surrounding Champs were sold to Centurion American Development. As in the man I call Saint Stoneleigh,  Mehrdad Moayedi, head of Carrollton-based property developer and investor Centurion American Development Group, who paid $4.55 million for the Stoneleigh Hotel.

Readers tell me the Centurion signs are up already:

I was driving home just now, I saw workers putting up the signs. A single “For Sale” sign still lingers in front of the guard shack at the entrance to Champs D’Or, along with 39 acres.

Centurion bought 1745 Turbeville Road, 20 acres that includes a 13,439 square foot house with six bedrooms, five and a half baths, three car garage listed for $5.6 million, which is exactly what it sold for according to MLS. The home also has a pool with cabana, sauna and kitchen in cabana, commercial grade construction and 3000 square feet of patios. Centurion also bought 1850 Turbeville Road, listed for $15 million, that being 116 acres including a 12,588 square foot home with five bedrooms, four and a half baths, billiard room, covered terraces, ten stall horse barn, log cabin home, riding corral and private lake loaded with ducks and geese. The game plan is, I think, to create a housing development here that may very well be called Gold Fields surrounding the House of Gold! Prices will begin in the $400,000 range with minimum square footage of 2500 square feet — most will likely be around 3000 to 4000. I got a whiff of a zoning change in Hickory Creek for single family homes, and that’s when this all came together. Centurion closed on the properties December 20, 2011.

The total acreage is 137, and if you get 3 homes per acre that’s about 400 homes. Of course, the existing homes could be converted to club houses, or just retained and sold, and that horse barn will be an attractive amenity. Plus all the homes will surround and gaze upon the golden pinnacle of twenty-first century Real Estate dreams, or, perhaps nightmares: Champ D’Or.

As one reader speculated:

Rumor is, Texas will legalize gambling in the near future and the Champ will be bought by an Indian tribe or mega-church and turned into a casino or bingo hall.  Plenty of parking, looks like a casino, easy access to I-35, tax revenue, it’s all there.

He teases us, obviously. But I could see Prestonwood Baptist buying the place to revive those amazing Christmas pageants maybe, recall the ones with live camels? Will Centurion pick up Champ at the auction next month as the ultimate club house for his new development? If not, who will and what will they put there? How will that fit into the housing development plans? Surely it will not become, as one writer speculated, the best little tear down in Texas? Will The House of Gold eventually be surrounded by starter homes from DR Morton, Megatel, Gehan, Seina, etc? Maybe Alan Goldfrield is a shrewd businessman, bluffing? This could be the most interesting real estate story to hit North Texas in years…  stay tuned.




I had to laugh when Steve Brown wrote about the Stoneleigh last week right before Christmas. “More than three years after work stopped on the project,” he said, “the owners of the partly built Stoneleigh condominium tower in Uptown are planning to restart construction soon.”

Really? See this photo? I took it last September. When construction was supposed to start.

Well, maybe I was premature. Mehrdad Moayedi, or Saint Stoneleigh as I call him, bought the unfinished project out of bankruptcy in early 2010 for $4.55 million. Recall how he beat Jonas Woods’, formerly of Victory development eons ago — who bid $4 million for the bankrupt Stoneleigh Heritage Residences. Moayedi’s Centurion American (CTMGT) offered/paid $4.55 million for the shell.  He hopes to begin construction in January, or so he told Steve, who says, and I agree, that this will erase the only Dallas condo eyesore leftover from those financially gloomy days.

In case I need to remind you, which I probably do not, construction on the original Stoneleigh project on Wolf Street near Maple Avenue began in 2007 as a 22-story, brand spankin’ new high-rise companion to the historic Stoneleigh Hotel next door.

In November 2008, the gloomiest month of the Greatest Recession Since the Great Depression, construction halted when financing froze. The project under Prescott/Appollo went into bankruptcy in May 2009.

Moayedi, the head of Carrollton-based property developer and investor Centurion American Development Group, paid $4.55 million for the project. Centurion is also developing an amazing townhome development on Normandy in Highland Park I will tell you about sometime, The Courtyards at Normandy.

About 10 stories of the high rise structure were completed, none of the exterior.

When I interviewed Moayedi about a year ago, he told me the units would be a lot bigger. He said 80 units, now says a maximum of 75 units. That’s fewer than the original 118 residences planned.

When I asked if he would be hiring an interior designer to market the residences and the marketing center and bring a unifying flow to the building, he looked at me like I was nuts. No, he said, everyone gets to finish out their own unit exactly the way they want. You go to New York City and find a great brownstone or condo, there is not one decorator doing it all one way. Everyone decorates it their way, he said.

I think his drift was this: we are not going to waste money on BS.

He also told me he had wanted to get in on the condo biz: four years ago, Centurion bought land at Akard and McKinney, did some studies, found it too risky, sold the land to another developer. He also almost developed in California — almost! One time his company bought land for a development in San Francisco, a state notorious for giving developers Redwood-tree sized hurdles when it comes to entitlements. Centurion somehow got the entitlements done in one year — in CA!! — and ended up selling the property for a big profit before one nail was hammered.

Centurion’s own building company, Crescent Estates, and Shariff Munir will be the two builders finishing out the units once Gerald Hines completes the shell. Crescent has also built a homes in The Creeks of Preston Hollow

Prescott, says Mehrdad, had a great plan but got caught up in the bad timing of the economy. We had great savings, he says; we stepped in and unfortunately took advantage of someone else’s misfortune, but we will now pass that savings along to the buyers. The smallest Stoneleigh home at 2200 square feet will start at about $750,000 before the interior is finished. The largest will be an 11,000 square feet for the 22nd-floor penthouse with a private pool.

I thought this was a weird quote given the fact this sign was up last September:

“We didn’t try and get out and sell anything because it’s a failed project,” Moayedi said. “But once we get the crane up and going, we are going to have a grand reopening.”