Here is the thing about living in Houston: it’s a high rise city that loves its parks.
Still, high rise dwellers here often crave a “backyard”, a touch of nature, even though their home may be on the 15th floor with glorious city views.
That’s one reason why one of the city’s older, most storied residential high rises in the heart of the Museum District is making a huge comeback with younger buyers. The Parklane, located at 1701 Hermann Drive, is an iconic building with a rich Houston history. Once the tallest high-rise residential building in Houston, it paved the way for many luxury high-rises to come.
I Just Adore a Penthouse View
The 35-story residential building boasts fantastic walkable access to the Museum District, Rice University a mile away, proximity to the Zoo, Texas Medical Center, even downtown Houston. Now the nearly 40-year old residence is being re-vamped with first-class amenities in individual units and community areas targeted for upscale urban home buyers.
“The Parklane is offering the best of both worlds for today’s consumer demands,” says Nadim Zabaneh, vice president of Houston-based Tema Development, Inc. “What we hear from buyers is “I want my own maintenance-free house I can lock and leave, but I also want my own backyard.”
Voila: Hermann Park, 540 acres right across the street.
It usually doesn’t happen this way. High rises are usually constructed as apartments that convert to condos much later, due to the warranty liability exposure of developers associated with condominium sales. But the Parklane was built as condos first, then converted to apartments when the real estate market crashed in the late 1980’s.
In fact, there has not been an apartment conversion to condo in Houston in at least ten years.
“We built The Parklane in 1983 and were one of the first to introduce high-rise residential living to Houston’s thriving Museum District,” said Nadim Zabaneh, in a company statement. “We came to realize there was a niche in the market with a price range conducive to all buyer types, including first-time home buyers, real estate investors, second homeowners, and empty nesters. This drove our decision to convert rental residences into condominiums. Already some of our residents have jumped at the chance to purchase their rental units.”
The new residences feature designer finishes, new cabinetry and counter tops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and private balconies, which maximize The Parklane’s panoramic views of Hermann Park and beyond. Once renovations are complete, the building will offer 195 gorgeous residences, with sale prices starting in the $300s. Though the Parklane was built in the Nintendo era, each home will be pre-wired for smart home automation by 2021 standards. And talking natural and artificial light: each home has recessed lighting, back-lit vanity mirrors, and abundant natural light in nearly every room.
Every Unit Has Fresh Air and Competitive HOA Dues
“Every unit has at least one private balcony, offering fresh air,” says Zabaneh. “The units were designed at an angle, allowing sweeping views from the building. So much natural light floods into the units.”
The abundance of light influenced a material palette of warm classic interiors, with stone used in abundance in the lobby restoration.
“It is a unique space, especially for Houston, given the scale, and the height of the ceiling,” said Jerry Hooker, principal of Mirador Group in a press release about the project.
The Parklane’s community spaces, already sophisticated for a 40 year old property, are also undergoing massive changes for maximum buyer appeal. Resident conveniences will include a 24-hour concierge and valet service, resort-style pool and cabanas, outdoor grills and a lush exterior entertaining area, a state-of-the-art designer gym with workout machines and a weight area, and a tennis court, all on the amenity deck.
There will also be reserve parking – a four story parking garage connects to the building — electric-vehicle charging stations, a professional business lounge for work or meetings, a coffee bar, and a luxury shuttle to ferry residents to the Texas Medical Center and the nearby METRO Rail stop.
HOA dues will be mighty competitive comparatively.
“Condo dues at the Parklane run 61 cents a square foot,” says Nadim Zabaneh, adding that typical HOA high rise dues in Houston run 70 cents to over a dollar per square foot. Zabaneh says the building’s age actually contributes to the lower cost.
“The Parklane has efficient systems requiring less maintenance,” he says. “And the original developer has invested in the building significantly over the years.”
Air conditioning chillers, for example, were replaced when they became expensive to maintain. Now sporting the gold standard 45 Chiller System, the Parklane offers on demand heating and cooling. HOA dues cover gas, water, and trash collection.
Reconstruction began back in January, with remodelling and marketing phases. The balance will be complete by December 2021, leaving 195 units total to sell. Elevated Group at Compass is handling condo sales, which are
The success of the Parklane’s conversion to luxury condo homes is another indicator of the tremendous demand for vertical living engulfing Houston.
“Residential high rise living here is still not typical of other dense, major cities, but the way Houston is growing, vertical will be the only way to add housing,” says Nadim Zabaneh.
The nation’s fifth largest metro area, experts project Houston’s metro population could exceed 8 million by the end of 2029.
Houston is not exactly a poster child of great mass transit, thus buildings with great, central locations stay in high demand.
In addition to sweeping park views and new-fangled amenities, the Parklane is close to Rice Village, downtown Houston, the TMC, and the burgeoning Ion Technology and South Main Innovation District.
Location, location, location was as true in real estate in 1983 as it is today. Which is why sales are more than brisk at the newly re-imagined Parklane: eight condo units sold, with three closed and five under contract, according to Casey Ebel at Compass Elevated.