The Stoneleigh's Movie Theater

The Stoneleigh’s Movie Theater

There are a lot of variables to consider when purchasing a high-rise condo.  I’m creating a bit of a buyer’s guide to help you compare and contrast the various buildings in Dallas. Parts One and Two covered those high-rises where all utilities are included with their monthly HOA dues … and the waaay north Bonaventure and Grand Treviso — in Irving for gosh sakes — Irving.

The following two columns will cover Dallas’ most expensive buildings.  These buildings are the household names of unaffordable, aspirational living that a mountain of winning scratch-off tickets wouldn’t get you into.

Throughout this series, I’m pointing out things about high-rises that most haven’t considered.

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Park Towers Small 2

Park Towers is one of Dallas’ original high-rises built in 1964 and located at Fairmount and the Katy Trail. It’s been no secret that I like their floor plans but hate the exterior of mismatched enclosed balcony “sheds” (that have finally been painted a uniform color). When I was looking to buy in 2012, I kept hoping the right unit would pop on the market. Today I can say, “thank God it didn’t.”

Word comes to CandysDirt.com from residents and Realtors that last Thursday, after barely finishing $3.7 million in special assessments (about $40,000 per unit) to take care of long, long, looooooong neglected infrastructure, that Park Towers now just raised their HOA dues a staggering 38 percent.

The HOA meeting was standing room only as the board approved the increase to cover a $247,000 shortfall from the $3.7 million spent on capital improvements. Many residents made the case for another special assessment to cover the shortfall and a more modest increase to the monthly dues. They were cheered by others in the meeting but the board wouldn’t budge. With resident monthly dues going up $500-ish a month, it’s not hard to understand their wrath.

This episode is yet another example of poor communication between residents and their HOA boards and management companies.  Residents were reportedly unaware of the impending increase. They were just told the budget would be discussed at the meeting and encouraged residents to attend.

As one resident put it, “Shazam!” The increase just materialized without warning. And let’s face it: the last thing a resident expects to hear after a $3.7 million special assessment is that the “party” is just getting started.

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Barry Williams Interior B

All photos courtesy Barry Williams

If one could step into the imagination of interior designer Barry Williams, I imagine one would find a lavish, carefully curated place of amaranthine loveliness, as well as an endless inventory of ideas.

He brings a photographer’s eye, a perfectionist’s attention to detail, and a historian’s context to his work at Williams Design Inc., a firm he opened in the Dallas Design District in 1999.

Williams is one of the most exclusive designers in Dallas, creating exquisitely appointed interiors for a select register of clientele. His nickname is “the billionaire’s decorator” because he has worked for six. He has no website, because he’s not interested in making himself available to everyone, only those as serious about beautiful design as he is. For years, his business even had an unlisted telephone number.

Barry Williams portrait

“I love to get it right,” he said about his design philosophy. “I want to prepare for every meeting with every new client with a lot of energy and care and my desire is to be retained until the last detail clicks into place and the house looks finished and complete and feels good.”

And details are his specialty. For decades, Williams has carried a camera on him all day, every day, to capture and catalogue the elements around him. By his estimation, he has 54,000 photographs that aid his design work.

“I am hugely inquisitive and am always seeking and finding new patterns, colors, techniques, and details. I see new things everywhere all the time,” he said. “I have a nuclear-grade memory and can recall details from far and wide and bring them together in a new way.” Jump to read more!

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2555 N Pearl 2200 Penthouse Living

Update 5:oopm: Dave Perry-Miller agent Kathy Myers is co-listing this unit with Sharon Quist. Kathy is, in fact, Mr Rees-Jones’ agent on the properties he purchases. She co-listed with Sharon because of Sharon’s success marketing and selling Avery Johnson’s Ritz unit several years ago.

Let’s say you’ve got a little extra cash to burn like that retired school principal in New York who won the Powerball. Perhaps you want to dip your toe into luxury real estate? Well, there’s no better example than luxury highrise living in Dallas than the Ritz, and there are few that are on par with this phenomenal penthouse owned by billionaire Trevor Rees-Jones.

 

We love the Residences at the Ritz Carlton, and this is the penthouse at Tower 2. This condo has so much going for it, besides being owned by a well-known philanthropist, and we love the gorgeous Poggenpohl Kitchen, amazing views, and inspiring interiors.

2555 N Pearl 2200 Penthouse Family 2

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I get emails like this from time to time:

I’m a British journalist based in Austin and I’m working on a story for the Sunday Telegraph magazine in London that I’m hoping you can help with. It’s pegged to the new season of Dallas starting in the Fall in the UK (in June, I believe, over here) but I’m actually focusing on the Hunt family (which Harry Hurt III’s book called ‘the real Ewings’!)

Meet Alex Hannaford. He was in town last week digging up dirt on, as he said, “the real Ewing family” which Harry Hurt III claims is based on the H.L. Hunt family. Well, of course I helped. As did some other high-profile journalists in town. Because any time you talk about family greed, wealth, mega-money and oil, guess what crosses the path? Real Estate. Case in point: does anyone in Texas ever sell off their mineral rights? I didn’t think so.

Alex toured the Residences at the Ritz Carlton Dallas, and was introduced to modern day Dallas tycoons like Tim Headington via his $14 million condo. Alex was shocked that we stage our listings in Texas.

“Are these homes occupied?” he asked?

Turns out, one was– whoops! I explained that to help buyers visualize the empty space, agents hire designers to decorate the room beautifully so as to impart the image that if you buy the home, your life will be as perfect as the design of that unit. He was impressed. They don’t do that in London, home of the priciest real estate in the world.

Then, after the obligatory visit to Southfork Ranch,  he popped over to meet Allie Beth Allman herself at Mt. Vernon, built by H.L. Hunt and one of Dallas’ most famous real estate landmarks. Asking price: $29,500,000. So don’t be surprised if some wealthy Dallas-obsessed Brit reads about Mt. Vernon in the London Daily Telegraph Sunday magazine — it’s the British equivalent of the New York Times — and jets down here to buy it.

Another reporter from the Daily Telegraph was in town two weeks ago, John Swaine, his assignment on what George W. Bush is doing these days, his life in Dallas. Like where is he golfing? How has real estate held up on Daria Drive? Pretty darn well, I told him.