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Turtle Creek Evolves
Area offers living options from condos to luxury homes and a desirable near-downtown location
By Lisa Tanner, Staff Writer, Dallas Business Journal
13-19 April 2007
Once, the Turtle Creek area of Dallas was embodied by large, stately homes tucked among trees. Then came the towering high-rises offering spectacular treetop and downtown views that sprang up and still define the exclusively residential corridor.
Now there are also small developments of new multi-story homes offering luxurious, close-in living.
“Turtle Creek is synonymous with luxury high-rise living,” said Nancy Martínez, an agent with Virginia Cook, Realtors, who sees a revival of interest in that niche.
She has handled two recent listings in Turtle Creek's landmark high-rise, the “3525,” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and is seeking a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. A one-bedroom unit in the $180,000 range is at the lower end of the spectrum, contracted with an extensively updated, double unit with 3,861 square feet, listing at more than $1 million.
The influx of new high-rise properties in the Victory Park area and construction and conversion of residential buildings in downtown Dallas is sparking interest in pre-owned units in Turtle Creek, which offer lower prices, Martinez said.
The challenge with high-rise properties is that both the property and the individual unit owner must continually update to compete with new construction, she said. And while these units will not command top downtown prices, the greenbelt Katy Trail location is very appealing for buyers “in the know.”
Although there are some lower price options to be found, including a 544-square-foot condo in an aging complex on Buena Vista Street for $66,000, many sport hefty price tags, with multi-million-dollar selling prices common.
The Turtle Creek area is roughly bordered by Fitzhugh Avenue on the north, Reverchon Park on the south, Cole Avenue on the east and Oak Lawn on the west.
New construction on pockets of land created by razing a previous dwelling is a hallmark of the Turtle Creek area.
Prescott Realty Group Inc., for example, is putting the finishing touches on its Regent's Park, a luxury- home development that features stand-alone, four-story homes modeled after those found in the Regent's Park area of London.
It's a dream that began with Dallas businessman Roger ”Dick” Dixon, who began plans for the project after his wife, Dixie, died, in part to keep his mind occupied after her death, according to those who have worked on the project from the beginning. Dick Dixon died in January 2005 without ever having occupied the first house built, where he had planned to live.
After his death, the project languished before the Prescott Realty Group purchased it in December 2005 and finished the enclave of luxury homes, which includes a first phase of seven homes. Each is freestanding and built on zero lot lines, but with designs that assure privacy for windows, balconies and patios. A homeowners association cares for a striking entry and courtyard and maintenance services.
The site, on Gillespie Street near the Mansion on Turtle Creek, is planned to hold 14 homes in total, in the 4,750- to 5,800-square-foot range. Prices start at about $2 million.
The project was designed by Will Snyder of Boerder Snyder Architects, who had worked with Dixon on the original plans, even traveling to London to search for ideas for the design.
There weren't any four-story, single-family homes of this type in Dallas at the time,” Snyder said of the pioneering project.
Interior design was handled by Collins + Sweezey Design and the general contractor was Geoffrey Grant Custom Homes. Amy Detwiler, Carole McBride and Michelle Wood of Adleta Fine Properties of Dallas have the listings on the homes.
The development is a modern take on the English Regency style, complete with iron rails and trim, said Louis Routhermel III, director of Prescott Realty. Modern touches enter the picture with energy-efficient windows, elevators and top of the line kitchen equipment. The homes also boast such pricey extras as wine cellars, multiple fireplaces and wet bars on every floor.
In that immediate corner of the Turtle Creek area, thee were 31 active residential sales listings from October 2006 to April 3, 2007 and 20 homes sold during that period. Prices ranged from $135,000 to $1.7 million, according to the MetroTex Association of Realtors in Dallas.
But the broader area sports a range of prices and products.
“There are lots of high-rises with man more going up and lots of inventory.” said Joan Eleazer, an agent with Briggs Freeman Real Estate Brokerage in Dallas. Buyers are drawn to the Turtle Creek's close-in location, linking the exclusive Park Cities area to downtown Dallas.
Many no longer need a large house and yard and are looking for the ease of living that a townhouse or high-rise home provide, including the ability to “lock and leave” the home while they travel, she said. 
But it's not all empty nesters or those seeking a second home in Dallas who are drawn to the area, she said, citing an influx of people from other cities, including New York and San Francisco, who have already embraced the in-town living concept and are looking to replicate that experience in Dallas. In addition, young professionals are drawn to the mix of nearby entertainment options. That includes easy access to shopping, dining and the arts as well as the nearby Katy Trail for exercise.
The area offers a mix of product and price ranges, with many condos available in the $400,000 range in the area around Fitzhugh Avenue to homes in the $3 million to $4 million range, such as those in the Place Des Vosges 16-residence project under development.
“The sky is the limit, price wise,” Eleazer said. Prices are stable, and there is quite a bit of product with every amenity available. Still, homes in some of the older high-rise buildings may take longer to sell, in the 60- to 90-day range, even if they are well-priced.
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3525 Turtle Creek Boulevard • Dallas, Texas 75219 • www.3525TurtleCreek.org