Sat, 17 May 2008
May 17, 2008
Fri, 16 May 2008
May 16, 2008
IN UPSCALE HE TRUSTS
Million-dollar custom condos may boost
Luxury $1-million-plus condos are among the most desirable units on the upscale end of
And with that in mind, a local developer wants to create some of uptown's biggest and most expensive condos yet.
Jim Donnelly plans to buy the former Home Federal Savings and
The concrete and glass building, is a locally designated historic property because of its banking industry significance and Modernist architecture.
Donnelly said he plans to preserve the distinguishing features.
The estimated $28 million project, between
Two condos would be 7,000 square feet each and priced in the $3 million range. Six would be 3,500 square feet each and priced in the $1.5 million range.
This might be a Next Big Thing for a couple of reasons: It could confirm the strength of the city's upper-end condo market, and it could help boost
Both 50-story The Vue in Fourth Ward and 50-story 210 Trade at College and Trade streets are offering $1 million-range penthouses, but some won't be listed for sale until later.
Developer Flaherty & Collins plans to top 210 Trade with a 12,000-square-foot, two-story residence that includes a 2,000-square-foot terrace. The price is yet to be announced.
Churchill Development Group has sold four of seven 3,217-square-foot penthouses at The Vue in the $1 million range, but it hasn't yet priced six larger 3,744- to 4,337-square-foot penthouses.
Just a few years ago condos selling for more than $500,000 were scarce in
Darryl Dewberry of Spectrum Properties, which is converting an office building at
He believes the market for spacious, luxury condos is deeper than it was just two or three years ago. Among the reasons he cites:
+¢ Owners of existing homes are taking advantage of appreciation and selling their residences to buy condos.
+ People arriving from major metropolitan markets sold homes for $1,000 a square foot or higher and are investing here in what they see as "affordable" penthouses.
+ Mortgage rates have remained historically low, encouraging residential real estate investment.
Who are the high-end buyers?
Our experience here has been the buyers are split almost 50-50 between young professionals who have high incomes and retired or semi-retired empty nesters who have lots of equity.
The high-end purchasers have arrived at a place in their lives that they are discriminating -- they know what they want. When a new high-rise comes on the market, they gravitate toward it because they have the money to do it.
That's the type of buyer Donnelly would like to attract to the old
The interior of the building, completed in 1967, has been gutted so buyers will be able to design a custom home in the shell space, he said.
"We won't have any lower-priced units, so we can orient this project completely to our buyers with high-end concierge service, a wine vault and other amenities they expect," he said.
Donnelly said he's working with lenders on financing and plans to close on the property by mid-November. He expects construction to take about a year.
And, he's offering individuals a chance to buy a piece of The Square.
Jim Donnelly moved to
He is a co-founder of the salon at
Donnelly also was a co-founder of IgoUgo.com, a Internet travel site that was acquired in 2005 by Sabre Holdings.
Donnelly bought the building at 221
The experience with that project convinced him to put a contract on the nearby
THE TRUST CONDOS
The previous owner gutted the old
Buyers of the 3,500 and 7,000 square foot units will be able to basically design a custom house inside the floor-to-ceiling glass space.
Donnelly believes owners will design large, open spaces for entertaining and enjoying the views.
Each unit will have at least two terraces, and owners will have access to a rooftop "social plaza" with outdoor seating, entertaining and grilling space.
The building's bank vault will be retained and used for dining and wine storage.
Donnelly said restaurants and retailers consistent with the building's upscale image are being sought for two lower levels of commercial space.
He's working with Clay Elder of ESD Architecture and Interior Design on the conversion and interviewing contractors.