The Best Centrum Terrace I’ve Ever Stood On

I feel a little like Star Wars … Chapter Six: The Attack of the 1980s.  Yes, there have been five other installments in this series (and two to go).  The first two detailed the condos that include utilities in their HOA dues and those buildings north of Northwest Highway (here, here). Then it was upward to Dallas’ most expensive projects (here, here). This installment is the final of two on the mid-market offers. Next we’ll talk about what constitutes the lowest price tier of high-rises (warning, it’s still not that low).

I call this The Attack of The 1980s because all of this column’s buildings were built from 1981 to 1984.  Dallas has had definite growth spurts in residential high-rise construction.  The early 1980s, before the banking implosion was one of those times. Once that happened, Realtors couldn’t give a condo away in this town.  It was the ultra-swanky Mansion Residences, build in 1994, that reawakened Dallas to the high-rise.

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Bubbles, Margaritas and Beautiful Views

Bubbles, Margaritas and Beautiful Views

Ya know, I probably could have thought a bit more about the potential logistics of having a Cinco de Mayo event on top of a large Mexican restaurant. To say that parking was an event in itself, even with a garage and valet parking, would be an understatement.

That said, 66 brave souls charged the gauntlet and were treated to two wonderful homes that prove my contention that the higher the home, the closer to paradise.  It was a Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty double play with unit 1208 hosted by Pam Brannon and unit 1304 (wo)manned by Gayle Schneider.

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Centrum de Mayo SM

Your own campground with city and sunset views

Your own campground with city and sunset views

On May 5, CandysDirt.com is hosting a double open house event at The Centrum that we’re calling Centrum de Mayo.  If you’re just joining us, the first unit and a little Centrum history can be found here.

Our second featured home is a whopper. It’s double unit 1304 spanning 4,350 square feet and is listed with Briggs Freeman’s Gayle Schneider for $1,949,000. There are four bedrooms, four full and two half bathrooms … and 1,700 square feet of terraces.

Seventeen hundred freaking square feet of outdoor space 13 stories off the ground?  Oh my, yes.  Picture those Centrum stair steps?  Unit 1304 has its own stair running from the front of the building to the back facing west. It’s the Victory Park view without the 35E noise.

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Centrum Exterior 3

You haven’t been in The Centrum in years (or ever), right?  Well, you should, and you can.  On May 5, CandysDirt.com will be hosting a double open house “Staff Meeting” event at The Centrum we’re calling Centrum de Mayo – with Mattito’s on the ground floor, how could we not? Watch your inbox for your invitation.

History Lesson:  The Centrum certainly has a history stretching back to the days of 1980s grey melamine cabinetry.  The Centrum was developed as a mixed-use building with floors below 12 being office and those above 12 being residential.  From the exterior, the boxy part is offices, the stair-steps residential.

The Centrum started life in 1985 on the eve of Texas’ banking crisis which would push nearly every bank in the state to insolvency by the end of the decade. As Judy Pittman told me months ago, at that time you couldn’t give a condo away.  Mirroring our recent recession, units in The Centrum were pushed into service as rental units.

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Park Plaza

We’re continuing our roundup of 1980s high-rises so slink into your Bob Mackie and pop yourself a Bartles & Jaymes and read on.  Missed part one?  Catch up here.

Park Plaza: 4500 Roland Ave.

I will not be this 46-unit building’s target audience for decades, because at 76 percent, the Park Plaza has the highest rate of over-65 tax exemption filers in the city.

I called the Park Plaza a cannibal because I’ve been told there was an older building on the site that was stripped to the steel skeleton and reconstructed into the Park Plaza. The story goes this was the only way to keep the height and footprint of the original building as Highland Park building codes had changed. The logic is much like some communities that classify a “renovation” as leaving at least one original wall versus a “complete” new-build – it’s done to avoid zoning changes or the potential cost, permitting and taxation differences.

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Robert Durst letter

Ebby’s Linda Walker Zevallos was going through a divorce in the late 1990’s, before she got into Real Estate. She went to New York City for a national newspaper convention. She flew back to Dallas first class and sat right next to the man now on suicide watch in New Orleans and suspected of murdering three people, including one in Galveston whose body was meticulously dismembered. Linda sat right next to Robert Durst.

“I asked if I could read his newspaper once he had finished it,” she said. “He said of course. Then we started to talk. We talked about my divorce. He was very nice but he did say one weird thing,”

That weird thing was advising Linda to break into her estranged husband’s office to steal his financials for the divorce.

On the plane he also told Linda a friend of his ex-wife was missing. (more…)

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Robert Durst, the New York Real Estate scion who may finally be charged with at least three murders, lived in Dallas for at least a year at The Centrum in Oak Lawn.

Durst was “the oldest son and heir apparent to a real estate magnate father, and grew up in privilege outside New York City, according to the New York Times. He was passed over for the presidency of the Durst Organization in 1994 in favor of his younger brother Douglas, but he remained a wealthy real estate mogul.”

Douglas Durst, estranged for years from Robert, described his brother to the New York Times as brilliant, disturbed and dangerous. He said his brother had come to his house with guns and wanted to kill him. He also said Robert was removed from the line of succession after urinating in a wastebasket.

Durst  was arrested in New Orleans last week and extradited Monday — looks like justice may finally be coming after the airing of a documentary on Durst:Centrum 3 (more…)