3 Ways to Explore
Vertical Living
If you ask urban professionals the difference between high-rise living in Dallas and in other large U.S. cities, right away they mention the value – larger space and more amenities for the price. Similar to reasonable single-home prices in the region, vertical living properties come in many varieties – lofts, condos, condo-hotels – that are typically located close to employment centers, major freeways, shopping and cultural venues. With the cost of fuel increasing, many are opting to live closer to work and spend less time commuting. In this section, we’ll highlight various areas of the region attractive to vertical living and the amenities you can expect.

Vertical living options can be found throughout Dallas, including Downtown, Turtle Creek, Uptown, and Victory Park. Downtown Fort Worth has more than a dozen vertical living properties to choose from with contemporary and traditional designs.

More people are coming to the Metroplex from across the country and across the world, furthering Dallas as an international city. Many foreign born residents are accustomed to high-rise living and prefer the convenience while an increasing number of suburbanites are finding the lifestyle change an easy transition.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING VERTICAL LIVING

Before purchasing a high-rise, loft, mid-rise or condo-hotel unit, there are several things to consider. While the urban lifestyle of vertical living may be right for some, others find they prefer living in a single-family residence. Below is an overview of a few things you should consider when contemplating vertical living.

Marital Status: Many single professionals are attracted to vertical living because of the lifestyle it supports. Often vertical living developments are built in close proximity to entertainment venues, offering hassle-free access to restaurants, clubs and bars. Young couples who do not have children and are not expecting to expand their families anytime soon are also attracted to this exuberant lifestyle. Additionally, many married empty nesters have gravitated toward vertical living because it offers a convenient lifestyle they are free to enjoy once their children have left home.

Commute Time: Working professionals realize time is precious. After a long day in the office, the last thing they want to do is commute for an hour back to the suburbs. This is why vertical living is appealing to them. Vertical living provides housing options in locations close to many major companies, which the majority of suburbs do not supply. By choosing vertical living, working professionals save time, money and gas.

Property Maintenance: Imagine having a professional repair man always at your service. When a pipe breaks, you make a phone call and someone comes to fix it. You no longer need to head to the hardware store, buy the supplies and fix it yourself. Vertical living supports this lifestyle, as many of the buildings have onsite property managers to assist you with all aspects of home maintenance. Many of the higher-end properties even have a full-service concierge to tend to residents’ every need, including show tickets and dinner reservations. Furthermore, while some loft properties now feature amenities including rooftop gardens, most vertical residences afford a routine free from yard maintenance.

Safety: Many people are drawn to vertical living because of its outstanding safety features. On a structural level, high-rise residential towers are commercial-grade products that require industrial strength concrete and steel. All of the building plans and materials must meet required wind and seismic ratings, assuring the safety of all tenants. These developments also require life-safety and sprinkler systems. Aside from structural safety, many vertical living developments feature guard-gated entries, security monitoring systems and onsite security guards. For people who travel frequently, the abundant safety features are especially appealing, providing them with the ability to “lock and leave,” knowing everything will be secure when they return.

Diversity: Vertical living developments offer a chance to live next to a diverse group of people. First-time tenants of vertical living compounds often find that their fellow residents come from every walk-of-life imaginable. As buildings can often be considered micro-communities, vertical living provides a chance to become acquainted with a host of interesting people.

Amenities: The amenities vertical living developments offer are truly unmatched. Some of the onsite services include concierge, room service, fitness centers, full-service spas, restaurants, valet, movie and game rooms and conference facilities. While some developments allow you to customize the interior of your residence to suit your specifications, many other properties feature turnkey-style living. Turnkey residences offer every imaginable upgrade, from appliances to furniture, in the pre-determined rent cost.

The View: For many people a scenic view may not be something that immediately comes to mind when thinking about vertical living. These people would be pleasantly surprised to gaze out of a panoramic window on the 25th floor of one of Dallas’ high-rise developments. Many of the projects offer spectacular views, including some of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable. From your vantage point high in the clouds, you can enjoy unmatched views of the hustle and bustle of city life.

Investment: Many people decide to purchase a vertical living residence for the sole purpose of having an investment property. With the prime location of many developments, investors often find that these properties rent more easily and at a higher price than single-family homes. Popular among investors are the condo-hotel properties, as they are placed into the hotel’s rental pool for a large portion of the year, thus becoming a supplemental source of income for its owner. Others choose to make an investment in a second home, offering an urban retreat close to shopping and entertainment destinations.

Rules and Regulations: There are many more rules and regulations in vertical living than in single-family residential properties. Buildings often have strict policies concerning visitors, pet allowance and noise levels. In certain cases, the building policies will dictate how you can decorate and/or alter your residence. While some people may find this restrictive, many people find comfort in knowing that all residents have certain standards by which they must abide. It is always advantageous to familiarize yourself with building rules and regulations, prior to purchasing a residence to determine if they comply with your lifestyle.

Fees: In addition to mortgage payments, residents in vertical living developments are subject to a variety of fee assessments. For instance, building maintenance fees may be charged on a regular basis. Special improvement fees may be assessed as needed. You may also be charged for certain amenities such as parking or concierge service. Many developments have homeowner associations (HOA) that require monthly dues to cover property upkeep, staff payroll, insurance and repairs to the building. HOA dues and any other potential fees must be disclosed before purchasing a residence, so be sure you are fully versed prior to making your decision.

WHAT’S YOUR HIGH RISE STYLE?

Before you go shopping, review the various styles of high-rise living available in Dallas to determine what’s right for your lifestyle.

— Townhomes/Brownstones
In Dallas, townhomes are usually two or three-story residences that are individually owned and interconnected. Townhomes are virtually maintenance free, conveniently located close to business centers and shopping. Prospective buyers will find an ample selection with affordable pricing, various styles and quality features. For many, townhomes provide more space and privacy as there is generally nobody living below or above you. What people like most about townhomes and brownstones are the attached garages. Oftentimes, there is a small yard for pets and entertaining. Learn more about townhomes located in the area, visit www.RelocatingToDFW.org.

— Lofts
Traditionally, lofts were situated in low-rent downtown areas. While the neighborhoods were not great, the empty spaces above were appealing to artists who needed large studio space and great light. Times have changed, these spaces are now desirable and located throughout Dallas. These characteristics identify loft living today: spaces are usually located in downtown areas or near it; spaces have high ceilings; exposed brick walls; pipes and ducts in the ceiling; few hard walls separating rooms; expansive windows; open kitchens; hardwood floors and contemporary design accents.

There are also many examples of commercial buildings converted to lofts in the Dallas region, including 1505 Elm, which was originally the Dallas Federal Savings Building. 2220 Canton Lofts are currently unique living spaces for East Dallas residents but the property was a manufacturing facility in 1925 and was known as the Olive and Meyers Building.

— High-Rise Living
Where Dallas lofts are open and airy; Dallas high-rises are sophisticated and worldly. Chances are that while waiting for your elevator, you can hear several different languages being spoken as the city is a hub for international business. One delightful surprise for many is discovering the views from upper story high-rises. Despite what many may think, Dallas is a very green city with lush green spaces and trees. One trend that is driving the move to vertical living is interest among empty-nesters to select a more maintenance-free lifestyle. With children out of the house, there is no need to do yard work, pool maintenance or gardening, leaving more time for hobbies and travel within easy access to airports. Amenities also appeal, including media rooms, concierge service, spas and lifestyle programs.

Dallas has many traditional high-rise buildings, like the Mosaic Dallas which has suites complete with solariums, balconies, or terraces. Gables Republic Tower is a 35-story mid-century icon topped by a rocket reaching for the stars — the tower is the tallest all-residential building in the city.

— Mid-Rise Developments
Mid-rise properties are defined as consisting of buildings that are of moderate height, about five to ten stories. Locally, mid-rise properties are enjoying great success because they are often located within or near single-family home neighborhoods and away from the commotion of high-traffic areas. The excellent locations, smaller buildings (from 70 to 100 units) and efficient floor plans are well suited for families seeking vertical living. In fact, several mid-rise properties are located in Highland Park, giving their children access to the coveted Highland Park ISD.

8181 Douglas Condos is a great example of a North Dallas abode with excellent public school eligibility. Also included is a gated entrance, state-of-the-art security system throughout the premises, 24-hour concierge, two passenger elevators with keyed access for each floor, and a beautifully designed swimming pool complete with waterfall.

— Condo-hotels
Condo-hotels, also known as condotels, are high-rise luxury properties similar to high-rise condominiums. The one major difference is that condo-hotel developments are owned and operated by well-known hospitality companies such as Hyatt, Hilton, Trump and Starwood. The amenities offered by condo-hotels are typically unsurpassed and include world-class dining, high-end spas, full-service concierge and numerous pools. Some owners of hotel-condos enjoy use of their residence all year round while others only occupy the space at certain times during the year. When they are not using it they can place the condo into the hotel’s rental program and receive a portion of the revenue it generates. The hotel takes care of renting and cleaning the condo as well as all other management functions. The revenue received from the rental helps to offset the high fees associated with this type of ownership.

The Residences at The Ritz Carlton is an extremely desirable condo-hotel because of the renowned Ritz-Carlton standard of excellence. Residents take full advantage of luxury living in the regency-style building which includes valet, gourmet dining, butler service and more. An adjoining second phase called The Tower with separate entrances, elevators and parking is the only new high-end, high-rise luxury homes to be ready for move-in before 2011. Other area condo-hotels are The Residences at Hotel Palomar in north Dallas, The Mansion Residences in Turtle Creek, and The Metropolitan Club at Hotel ZaZa in Uptown.

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Pearl Street and Woodall Rodgers Freeway in the Arts District is the site of the new $200 million Museum Tower. The sleek and curving glass structure will add to the Downtown skyline and offer VIP services for residents. Construction on the 42-story condo tower started this summer and is slated to have 123 luxury units for sale at prices starting at $1 million.

Upscale three story homes, called The Brownstones at Town Square, are a combination of small-town atmosphere with a modern city feel. The brownstones are located in Southlake within the Town Square enclave. Upscale materials and old world charm have made the development appealing to those spending $400,000 to $600,000 on their brownstone home.

Canton Townhomes in Downtown Dallas will be priced between $274,000 and $365,000 and the first units will be finished by the end of October. The three story downtown homes with rooftop patio are within walking distance to the Dallas Farmers Market and DART transportation.

READY TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS

According to MetroTex Association of REALTORS, the average price of a townhouse/condominium in Dallas County increased to $133,000, which represented a 6 percent increase from August of last year. In general, though, pricing can run from the $100,000s to more than $6 million depending on the neighborhood, amenities and features. What distinguishes the Dallas market is the ample supply of properties in all styles and price ranges, especially compared to other U.S. and international cities.

Before embarking on a search for your new home with a view, use the help of a professional by visiting www.dfwrealtors.com and searching for a Realtor. Look for Realtors in the Dallas region who cater specifically to the vertical living market. When looking for a rental, realtors may also help in your search or refer you to a leasing agent.

Hopefully this chapter of Relocating to Dallas/Fort Worth helped you determine if vertical living is right for you. If you choose to move “up” in Dallas, remember that it pays to conduct your own research. Contact the property you are interested in and ask to schedule a walk-thru. Local area realtors are a wonderful resource and can provide you with additional information on Dallas/Fort Worth developments. Be sure to inquire about included amenities and additional fees associated with any property you are considering. Finally, sit back, relax and enjoy the view from your new home high in the sky.
 
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