New Life for High-Rise Project Seen as Sign of Rebound

Developer buys unfinished Residences at Stoneleigh

Construction is about to resume on a half-finished condominium project that was abandoned two years ago.

The unfinished Residences at the Stoneleigh was a symbol of the economic downturn when the developer walked away from the job in 2008.

Sales were slow, and there was heavy competition from many other Uptown Dallas condo projects.

The concrete skeleton for 12 of the planned 22 stories was completed.

Like other passersby in Dallas, Kay Zafar, the new developer, saw the abandoned construction site. But unlike others, he also saw potential.

"We decided to look at it and liked what we saw," he said.

He and his investors recently purchased the property in bankruptcy at a substantial discount, which he plans to pass on to buyers for a competitive price advantage this time.

Zafar also said the new plan calls for custom interior finishing to buyer specifications and larger unit sizes.

Instead of five or six units on each floor with a total of 119, there will now be just four per floor for a total of 75.

The completed exterior design is the same as before to complement the traditional appearance of the connected Stoneleigh Hotel.

"We just took it and adapted it to today's market, which we think is a little bit larger units and a little bit more formal and traditional," Zafar said.

Plans also call for a swimming pool, fitness center, 24-hour concierge service and other luxury amenities such as those offered at competing condominium projects connected to Dallas hotels, including The W and The Ritz.

"We feel the economy is due to come back, and so that would help definitely selling the units," Zafar said.

The resurrected project is an indication of optimism in an economic recovery, said William McClung, a commercial real estate agent and executive with Cushman & Wakefield in Dallas.

"I think that optimism is increasing in all different sectors of the real estate market, and that's just one of them," he said.

McClung specializes in office leasing and construction, where he also says there is optimism about the coming year.

"Overall, the rates are pretty low right now," he said. "It's a good time to be indebted. It's a good time to make a move. 2011 we think is going to be a much better year."

A sales office for the Residences at the Stoneleigh is due to open early next month on Wolf Street across from the abandoned construction site.

Zafar said construction will resume early next year with completion expected in 2012.

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