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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Stoneleigh 1.ashx
Mention the name Stoneleigh to anyone that’s been in Dallas for 20 years or so and watch as their face lights up. Then get ready for a story because we all have one about this incredible building. (more…)

Stoneleigh 3C

You may recall when we wrote about the very first model unit at The Stoneleigh Residences, unit 3C, elegant and sophisticated, just like the Hollywood Glam 22 story residence building itself. The Stoneleigh Residences are filling up very quickly over off Maple Avenue at Wolf Street,  I toured #3C, built out by TriArc Construction, the condo building division of Crescent Estate Custom Homes.

Sold. Gone. New owners as of May 17. This home is 2691 square feet and went for almost $600 per square foot.

Stoneleigh 3C kitche 2 (more…)

2430 Victory Park HOTWBoy, Don Carter must be building something pretty amazing over there at the Stoneleigh Residences, cannot wait to see it! We told you first that he sold his mega house on University, that is, 4000 University Avenue in University Park. All 8100 square feet, this back in July. (I still have a crush on the master bedroom in this house. Who bought 4000 University for $3.9? Looks like a Sherry and Richard Wright, who I believe started a direct-sales company called Advocare.) Then Mr. Carter put a whopper of a W unit on the market with Rogers Healy’s Steve Rigley, almost 4,000 square feet and a very special two-story corner unit, which also sold and is now back on the market with it’s new owner for a mere $2.5.2430 Victory Park Lane 2209 LR

2408 Victory 2209 kitchen far 2430 Victory Park 2209 KitchenSo now what’s left? This sweet pup on the 22nd floor listed for only $725,000.

Here’s the deal: our market is heating up, and builders are telling me land prices are starting to tip even 2006 values. All this uplifting has floated the condo market up, too. According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, for sale signs are popping up in big markets from San Francisco to South Florida, “all at a steady pace as the improving housing market creates an opening for landlords to sell off rental housing. That hot market also is spurring new construction of condo buildings.”

New condos here in Dallas? There have been rumors. As the WSJ points out, condos aren’t likely to perform as strongly as they did in the boom years, and mortgage-lending standards are tougher for condos. Many buyers pay cash and some buy for investment, leasing out the units. Usually developers need to sell out a certain percentage of units in a building before banks can make Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans on a property. But the population is increasing, much of it urban-oriented, and Dallas has a dearth of housing options. Units from the last boom cycle have been absorbed, many due to non-U.S. buyers. This unit, for example, would make a great second home Dallas pad for someone from Plano to Poland.

2430 Victory Park 2209 patio 2408 Victory Park 2209 master 2409 Victory park 2209 master bath 2430 Victory 2209 bathroom view 22409 Victory Park ext patio 2209Here’s what you get: 1884 square feet with rich, dark wood floors, two bedrooms, two baths, great kitchen and terraces a la W style, all in the end unit condo at the W North Tower. There is a wall of windows with views of downtown, Uptown, American Airlines Center,Victory Plaza and west facing the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge. The open kitchen has Sub Zero, Miele gas cook top, a Bosch dishwasher, Miele ovens and great storage, plus cabinets by Varenna and Poliform. This plus the usual W Whatever service for less than a million? I’d run, not walk, over to Inwood Mortgage’s website and get on the financing shtick now. Like, NOW.2340-Victory-Park-Lane.jpg 27PHOh the possibilities: this is Don’s old unit on the 27th floor!

Ebby-Halliday-Mehrdad-Moayedi-Mickey-Munir

Ebby Halliday, Mehrdad Moayedi, and builder extraordinaire Mickey Munir

Smart Steve Brown. That clever guy went and focused on the new Stoneleigh Residences while we were all going ga ga over Museum Tower. And what a great interview with the man I christened Saint Stoneleigh, Merhdad Moayedi, because he saved the Stoneleigh, bought it out of bankruptcy from those Prescott/Apollo peeps in 2009 as I told you when I wrote DallasDirt.  If you haven’t read Steve’s tome, get to it as soon as possible.

(There is more news coming down the pike about the Stoneleigh, too.)

Steve also does a nice backgrounder on Mehrdad, who Ted Wilson calls the biggest lot developer in North Texas or, er, TEXAS –Good Lord the man says he will develop 3000 lots this year:

“Mehrdad is the biggest lot developer in D-FW and probably in Texas,” said Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based housing analysts Residential Strategies.

Mehrdad, age 51, is an Iranian immigrant who went to school in Bedford and stayed in the U.S after the Iranian revolution of 1979. He got his start as a developer working with Fort Worth home builder Herman J. Smith. When Smith died in the early 90’s, Moayedi teamed up with Ross Calhoun, another former Smith exec, and the two formed Centurion American. The company is headquartered on I-35 in Lewisville.

Moayedi also has a custom homebuilding firm, Crescent Estates, that is a subsidiary of Centurion. Crescent has built homes all over Preston Hollow, including the Moayedi’s..

His family is delightful — and his wife told me she finds some of his best real estate deals. The Moayedis live in The Creeks of Preston Hollow.

Brown’s piece also puts some perspective into the Dallas condo market, which is picking up pace: Condo sales were up 17 percent last year in North Texas, he says, meaning all over the place NOT just Uptown, and even better: median condo sales prices rose 12 percent from 2011 in the MLS.

I think Mehrdad timed this perfectly. He has that touch, hallmark of a great developer: he knows when to time the market. Last spring we were treated to a preview party held at the Dorothy Draper designed penthouse at the Stoneleigh hotel, which has just been acquired by Le Meridien Hotels and will be managed by Starwood. Teresa Gubbins over on Culturemap broke the news January 9:

The Stoneleigh Hotel changed hands yet again over the weekend, and it will become a Le Méridien on January 31, to be owned by private equity hotelier HEI and managed by Starwood. According to Starwood’s website, the hotel will be called “Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh.”

Steve did not say in his story whether the Stoneleigh condos will continue their relationship with the hotel, but we will find out shortly. Carlton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Associates designed the 7,200 square foot penthouse which was once the biggest in Dallas.

cn_image.size.carleton_varneyI recall the opening of the Stoneleigh Hotel, back in 2008 when Jeff Trigger personally met guests at the door, martinis flowed in the sales center, wine and champagne flowed at the bar. Food par excellente. The rooms were lovely — a near-flawless re-do. The bathrooms are spacious and the bedrooms have walk-in closets with Baronessa Cali bath products. Jud Pankey told me Prescott/Apollo was looking forward to completion of the Heritage at the Stoneleigh, the high-rise next door as it was called, connected by underground tunnel.

Sigh.

The project went into bankruptcy in 2009 with only about 12 floors of the condo structure finished.  There was even worse news to come: a  construction worker was killed when a hook snapped off a crane at a construction project behind the Stoneleigh in June, 2008.

Steve says Moayedi paid $4.55 million to buy the development out of Chapter 11, then took out a $25.3 million construction loan to finish the project. Which at that time, think 2009 folks, was effing amazing. I imagine he had some very, very good collateral.

Mehrdad also told Steve that Centurion Development’s investment in the project is much lower than the original developers — he has a loan to value ratio of about 25%, which keeps him from jumping through hoops, as he said. He also says he’s pre-sold six units, with another six buyers circling.

Mehrdad House

Moayedi Residence Creeks of Preston Hollow

As for the condos, like he told me back in the spring, he plans to finish a few as models and then let people buy shells and finish out their own units, using Shariff-Munir or Crescent. Note: Museum Tower even has a few shell floors like this. It’s smart — many times buyers in this price range are picky and totally want to customize their own units as far as layout and design. It is also less risky for the developer — less skin in the game, but may take longer to sell, says Dallas housing analyst Mike Puls, who thinks Mehrdad is smart to focus on large units. The original Stoneleigh Heritage was more than the 75 units in 22 stories now planned — I am recalling 95? The units will be pricey: one million per shell.

Good question for my next meeting with Mickey Munir: how much to finish out one of those puppies? Could these be pricier than Museum Tower?