Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

Designer Starck plans Victory condos

DALLAS (DallasNews.com) - The last time Philippe Starck made a splash in Dallas, he opened a nightclub during the go-go 1980s real estate boom.

London developer John Hitchcox and Philippe Starck plan to collaborate with a Boston architecture firm on a 26-story residential building at Victory called the House. So it's only fitting that the French designer is back to play a part in Dallas' current craze – high-rise condos.

On Monday, Mr. Starck talked about his plans for the House, a 26-story, 150-unit residential tower in Uptown's Victory project.

Mr. Starck promises the $80 million project won't be a beige box.

"I can bring something unique from around the world," said Mr. Starck, 56, who is also doing residential buildings in Boston, New York and Miami with his partner, 43-year-old London developer John Hitchcox.

"The people in the U.S. have a small view of the global market. I am the global view."

That view will come with an average price tag of more than $500,000.

The developers have already begun taking reservations at $5,000 a pop.

Mr. Starck's condo tower will be built in partnership with developer Hillwood on Lamar Street at the south end of the Victory project.

BETSY BOCK/Staff Artist It's the latest in a string of recent announcements in the 75-acre project, owned by Hillwood and Hicks Holdings Inc.

Hillwood wanted Yoo Ltd., Mr. Starck and Mr. Hitchcox's design firm, to give buyers something unique, said Jonas Woods, president of Hillwood Capital.

"We will have a very different offering in each residential building," Mr. Woods said. "The design of the House and character of it will be very different from anything Dallas has ever seen."

But we'll have to wait a few months for a detailed look.

Boston architecture firm Elkus Manfredi is designing the exterior, and Mr. Starck will collaborate with architect Howard Elkus on the plans, according to Hillwood. Yoo will design the interiors.

"We plan to break ground in the first quarter," Mr. Woods said.

The Dallas condos will range from 1,000 to about 3,500 square feet.

Amenities planned for the building include a swimming pool, lounge, business center, guest apartments and 24-hour concierge.

All of Yoo's projects come with a big slice of Mr. Starck's eye-popping style – whether in the building lobbies or – if the buyers choose – complete residential interiors.

"Other people at the same price give concrete and steel," Mr. Starck said. "For us, we give dreams.

"People who chose to have an apartment made by me expect something special."

Who's Yoo

Mr. Hitchcox said he met Mr. Starck about seven years ago while working on a residential project in Paris. "I had been building lofts in London and we had been doing a lot of design-oriented development, and I knocked on his door."

They struck up a friendship and eventually started designing projects ranging from small historic renovations in Boston to 40-story towers in Tel Aviv.

Yoo has built residential projects in cities including Melbourne, Boston, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Miami, Buenos Aries, Hong Kong, Seoul, New York, Madrid and Vienna. Most of its projects are done in partnership with other developers or investors.

"What's interesting in America is how quickly this business has taken off and the appetite for good design," Mr. Hitchcox said.

The prices and sizes of Yoo's projects are just as diverse.

"We have apartments in Melbourne that are $80,000 each," Mr. Hitchcox said. "Our apartments in New York sold for $8 million.

"You can put three of our apartments in Hong Kong into one of our apartments in Miami."

Back to the Wild West

Mr. Starck has a special relationship with Dallas that goes back more than 20 years.

When he opened his West End nightclub in 1984, Dallas got a disco that attracted worldwide attention. Just getting in the door of the Starck Club was a challenge – because of both the crowds and door screeners who made sure only the right folks gained admittance.

"I was known because of my success in Texas," said Mr. Starck, who lived in Dallas for almost a year. "It was a big adventure.

"It was the Wild West here, and I was not disappointed – it was wild."

More 'charming'

Today, he says, Dallas is more "charming and polite" than it was in the disco days.

The condo market here is also different than it is on the two coasts, he says.

"Dallas is the center of America," Mr. Starck said. "To work in the center of America is interesting."

The demand for Mr. Starck's work in the U.S. is growing, according to his development partner.

"At the moment, there seems to be a huge appetite for what we are doing on a scale that surprises us," Mr. Hitchcox said.

"This building is going to be full of people who were 20-somethings 20 years ago when Philippe had his nightclub here."


What: The House is a 26-story, 150-unit luxury condo tower planned for Uptown's Victory project.

Where: At the south end of Victory at Lamar and Houston streets.

When: Buyers can reserve units in the building for $5,000. The House is scheduled to be designed by the fall, and construction will start in first-quarter 2006.

Who: A project of French designer Philippe Starck and Yoo Ltd., the London development company headed by John Hitchcox. Victory developer Hillwood is the majority partner in the Dallas condo tower.

For more information: www.thehousebystarck.com and www.yooarehere.com

SOURCES: Hillwood; Yoo


Philippe Starck was born in Paris in 1949, the son of an aircraft designer.

Since the 1980s, he has been one of the world's most popular contemporary designers of everything from furniture to appliances and interiors.

His interior design projects range from apartments and caf├ęs in Paris to hotels in New York and Miami and offices in Japan.

In 1984, he designed the Starck Club disco in the West End. The original Starck Club was open for about five years.

Mr. Starck's Web site is www.philippe-starck.com.

SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research