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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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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The Shelton

Wow! I stumbled into Carolina Rendon’s hip pocket and neither of us felt a thing – but I saw something wonderful that stirred my renovator’s heart. But I get ahead of myself…

In 1983, The Shelton popped up in Preston Center located on Luther Lane just south of Northwest Highway and east of the Tollway. It began life as a condominium but has had an interesting life since.

It was sold to Japanese investor Takeharu Miyama in the early 1990s who leased the units. In 2005, nearly 15 years later, the building was marketed to developers. The building sold in 2006 for approximately $35 million to Dallas-based Dunhill Partners who planned to return the Shelton to condominiums and committed $12 million for the renovation of units and public areas – estimated at about $65,000 per unit. In the process of renovation, the original 129 units shrunk to 115 as some units were combined and supersized.

(After the sale, Takeharu made the prescient move to buy 1909 Woodall Rodgers months before Klyde Warren Park was approved. The park transformed freeway frontage into park-side prominence.)

We all recall how real estate turned dollars into dimes in the late 2000s as global economies crashed and residential mortgage availability evaporated. While Dallas was no Miami or Phoenix, the real estate market still faltered as banks threw another log on the fire in overtightening mortgage qualifications. An ebullient 2005 turned grim by 2007 when the newly renovated Shelton units hit the market. As citywide inventory stacked up, the unsold Shelton units were again pressed into service as rentals.

Now, just over two years as Dallas real estate turned from indolent to incandescent, Shelton units are coming off lease and selling at a fairly brisk clip. This isn’t unique to the Shelton. Nearly all established high-rises have had a lot fewer listings and fewer days on market.

And it’s here that we get a peek into Carolina’s pockets.

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