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Turnberry is not asking anywhere near $900 per square foot. It's really in the $500 - $600 per square foot range before terrace space and less than $500 per square foot after terrace space. It's $800,000 - $3,500,000 for the bulk of the building at 1,830 sq ft - over 7,500 sq ft after terraces. The two tower suites are over 15,000 sq ft each for $8,500,000 which is about $566 per square foot - quite a deal, if you've got the cash. Seeing as how all of the other developers factor in the terrace square footage, I included terrace space in the sq ft quotes above. Feel free to review the plans at www.turnberrytowerhouston.com

$2,000,000 will actually get you about 4,500 square feet, after the terrace. The model unit at the sales center is about 2,600 square feet, after terrace, and ranges from around $1,100,000 - $1,400,000. I don't know where the $2,000,000 number on the 10th floor came from but it is completely erroneous. The 10th floor model unit would cost about $1,200,000.

The Huntingdon was orginally sold as SHELL - not even "to the white" with plumbing stubbed out and sheetrock installed - it was simply concrete floor, concrete ceiling and exterior glass and it required a complete build out, including plumbing, electricity, etc. Turnberry simply does not install flooring and the walls are primed, ready for paint. It's hardly shell or even "to the white." Further, the Huntingdon is a 25 year old building with no amenities to speak of. Never mind the $.70 per sq ft (including terrace sq ft) a month in maintenance - more than TWICE what you would pay at Turnberry for monthly fees for a building with full amenities.

Thanks for bringing us back to reality. Those psf #s seemed way off at 2mm; about as far off as some of the details of the 2727 Kirby post that just went up (the penthouse unit actually goes over 10k sq ft, etc.). I did not realize the Huntingdon was sold as 'true shell' - does anyone with high rise condo knowledge have an explanation about the difficulty/intricacy of doing plumbing, specifically, and electric after the building is 'completed'? Also, we should have a thread about maintenance fees for different buildings/living areas throughout Houston and other cities. 2727 Kirby, before the HOA first meets and probably raises the fee, is charging $.65 psf, which a 'lot' of people consider pretty high. I had no idea Turnberry is charging less than $.35 psf for maintenance. With Huntingdon charging $.70 psf (probably due to the age of building, erring on the side of higher monthly fees instead of frequent assessments, as well as keeping 'competitive' with newer buildings), maintenance fees really seem to range with just these 3 examples.

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2727 Kirby, before the HOA first meets and probably raises the fee, is charging $.65 psf, which a 'lot' of people consider pretty high. I had no idea Turnberry is charging less than $.35 psf for maintenance. With Huntingdon charging $.70 psf (probably due to the age of building, erring on the side of higher monthly fees instead of frequent assessments, as well as keeping 'competitive' with newer buildings), maintenance fees really seem to range with just these 3 examples.
Turnberry actually charges about $.41 per square foot but it's only on the ENCLOSED square footage, so after factoring in the terraces (which are not constant, as there are several different sized terraces), the maintenance is around $.35 or $.36 per square foot. Don't forget that Turnberry Tower is a very large building with 184 units, so that accounts for a lot of the difference in the maintenance fees. $.65 per square foot on the overall square footage is relatively standard, as that is what the Huntingdon was charging until very recently and Montebello and Villa D'Este charge in the $.62 - $.65 range, as well.

Regarding plumbing, electrical, etc., at the Huntingdon, there is 14' between each slab, so all of the pipes, ducts, and wires are run in the subfloor, overhead and in the walls that are constructed. Since there is so much space on each floor, the ceiling heights are not affected due to drain locations, as I have seen many units at the Huntingdon with 11'+ ceilings. There have been some plumbing issues due to leaking into other units over the years in the building, though, as the wet walls are not restricted to certain areas as they are in most high rises. One of the restrictions on remodeling or new construction in that building is that the owner must install a computerized floor with moisture monitors in it in all wet areas.

Actually, the "last available raw space is currently for sale in The Huntingdon. $3,999,000 for 8,864 square feet ($451 per square foot, and again, that is "raw" space.)

That shell space is on one of the highest floors in the builidng, too - I believe it's on 32 and 34 is the penthouse level. Remember - 34N penthouse was sold as shell for $5,000,000 in 2001 and 34S sold for $7,000,000 and it was basically gutted and redone. Each of those spaces was under 6,000 square feet.

Even though there is only one existing large original shell space left at the Huntingdon, many of the older units are being sold either already gutted or to be gutted. 27S is one example of space in the building that was previously built out and then gutted before it was sold due to mold issues. I believe it sold in January 2005 for about $1,300,000 and it was about 7,000 sq ft. What a DEAL!!! There consistently continues to be quite a bit of construction in that building.

Edited by sanman
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  • 2 months later...

I worry about developers who want to put up condo towers with units that start around $1,000,000, but don't know how to market themselves very well. Turnberry doesn't even seem to know the market into which they are coming.

Their tower does seem luxurious, but their materials are terrible.

Points:

Their ad in the Playbill for the Houston Ballet has a typo. They need to inspire confidence that they pay attention to details when asking for millions of dollars from potential customers.

The Flash presentation on the site inexplicably opens with a couple of shots of cattle -- hardly the image I associate with high-rise living in a major city -- but exactly the image I associate with someone's perception of this town who has never been here. That may be fine for marketing to out-of-towners who, perhaps, share this perception. But, what about Houstonians who might be in the market? Do you really want to give the impression you know nothing about this city?

They go to the "everything's bigger in Texas" tired old routine. Sigh.

They use stock photography from the 80s to show what kind of ladies might live here. Seriously, I think the one in the silver dress was Kelly LeBrock from the Weird Science days. There's also one by the pool, where the model is sneering at the pool boy as if to say, "leave the towels, you insignificant piece of feces." It's pretty amusing how hard it's trying to show pretentious luxury, while I think the shot was actually meant to be comical or ironic in nature.

In the location tab, they acknowledge Galleria I,II and III being just a block away, but fail to point out that Galleria IV is right across the street! They show Nordstrom as just some anonymous building right next door to the site. Does the marketing team know their own site? Is it stronger to represent your location as a 5-minute walk away from The Galleria (with entry via a not very pedestrian-friendly area across busy streets and through massive parking garages, by the way) or as having access to the street level entrance to Nordstrom right outside your front door?

Looking at the Flash presentation, I'd assume Turnberry Tower was Williams Tower. They say it is "rising to the sky" with a shot of Williams. They offer its location as prime, with a shot of Williams. They circle Williams Tower from the air. I understand the limitations using stock photography puts on creativity, but again, it makes Turnberry seem like they don't know what they're talking about.

They represent Uptown as the place for the ballet and symphony, calling it the city's premiere entertainment district. Well, I was in The Galleria Friday evening and went to the ballet. With traffic and a stop at the Pulse machine, plus parking downtown, I was able to make the curtain by just 10 minutes, leaving 55 minutes before. Again, I don't think Turnberry knows where they are. Great shopping, yes. Entertainment? Culture? Performing arts? That's a different neighborhood.

These seem like small gripes, I'll agree. But, together, they paint a picture of a developer that's out of touch with the location and stereotypical of his view of Houston. In the past, that hasn't been a good sign for the success of business of any kind in this town.

I'd recommend they spend some more time here, or at least hire some local marketing experts to help them get it right, before perception becomes reality.

Edited by dalparadise
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Ditto on the advertising & promotion of this place. Had it not been for the business mixer I attend there about 3 months ago, I never would have known it was being built there. I still have the brochure which is nice, glossy and does use those several old Texas cliche's. Perhaps the consulting and Advertising people they hired should have done better research prior. :):mellow:

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  • 3 months later...
For an urban highrise, using cattle was a stupid idea, and just plays up the stereotype.

www.turnberrytowerhouston.com

The Williams waterwall is featured as a focal point on the website as well.

I think they were just trying to make it feel like Texas. I think the longhorn and the sunset is awesome. I liked from the first time I saw it. Then again, I'm not the millionaires they're selling to.

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For an urban highrise, using cattle was a stupid idea, and just plays up the stereotype.

Cattle, lol :lol:

You can take a tour of the model (If still there). Pretty impressive to bad its just a temp demo. The cattle can stay out on the balcony.

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The longhorn makes me think they have determined their market is largely foreign nationals, who still associate Texas with cowboy imagery. Somehow I doubt that local jillionaires buying units do anything as time-wasting and common as surfing the net looking at floorplans.

The quality of marketing for these exclusive properties is really awful, like they paid some college kid with a mac to slap together some royalty-free images with the renderings and call it a day. Like those ads for the Titan.

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The longhorn makes me think they have determined their market is largely foreign nationals, who still associate Texas with cowboy imagery. Somehow I doubt that local jillionaires buying units do anything as time-wasting and common as surfing the net looking at floorplans.

Lol, I agree.

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Many of the high-rise units in the city are being sold to out of towners and foreign nationals.

Being the energy capital of the world kind of helps that. Also, serving as a financial hub for much of South America is another plus.

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The problem you run into is how much of it is speculative? A lot of the new condos that went up in Miami between 2004 and 2007 were bought by foreigners who were merely speculating. They drove the market price up until they priced longterm buyers out, causing the market to burst. Now you have fancy new highrises that are only a 1/3 filled (or even less).

I realize that Houston's high-rise construction isn't that extreme but still...

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I don't think it's that speculative. Houston wasn't a hot speculative market to begin with even in the high-rise market.

If Houston was more speculative oriented, I think we would have saw more of the explosion of high-rise get built.

Houston is luckily to be in a much more balanced real estate market.

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i agree, very stupid to build a lavish sales center to only for it to last a couple years. far more posh highrises were fine with movable structures with some sort of landscaping.

I hope this ugly boxy thing does not get built. Why couldnt they have designed something with the same sleekness as Transco tower? This high-rise looks like all the other boring boxes that have been built. Again, I hope the plan falls through.

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Turnberry has very good record on their projects. This project looks like it'll go through.

The sales center is worth nothing compared to final structure. The sales center is also more inviting than a trailer parked on the site.

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from their march newsletter...

Two spectacular 15,000-square-foot tri-level Tower Suite residences with four bedrooms and nine-and-a-half bathrooms are also being offered from $8.5 million.

good gosh! 9 bath in a condo?!

Also, the wiki says 36 floors. The newsletter says 34

edit: architect website says 32 residential floors but 38 total

Edited by lockmat
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  • 3 months later...
Any paperwork or anything else to document this? It's probably not on a web site.

I just spoke to the Director of Sales yesterday, who is a good friend of mine, and she said they cancelled the project.

I also have it on very good authority that several Buyers are already looking to move over to another high rise that is already well under construction (delivery 2009) and in the same price range (read between the lines).

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I also have it on very good authority that several Buyers are already looking to move over to another high rise that is already well under construction (delivery 2009) and in the same price range (read between the lines).

2727 Kirby?

Probably should move this topic and merge it with Turnberry Tower and rename it.

I am kinda bummed out, but at least maybe a good mixed use project, with a combination of retail and residential can fill in the void in the future. Give some nice outdoor shopping around the Galleria.

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Honestly, I'm not torn up about it in the least. I thought it was another run-of-the-mill concrete block with little elequence. I'm sure that eventually it will be replaced with something far more achitecturaly appealing. Just my opinion of course.

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Honestly, I'm not torn up about it in the least. I thought it was another run-of-the-mill concrete block with little elequence. I'm sure that eventually it will be replaced with something far more achitecturaly appealing. Just my opinion of course.

Yay! First post! Been browsing this forum for weeks, figured it was time to join. Anyhow, introductions aside, I agree with wxman. Although Turnberry may have looked pretty nice to many and was going to be loaded with amenities, it looked to me just like a larger version of the Villa D'Este.

I'll probably ask this question many times, but who is supposed to be moving into all of these new residential hi rises?? I'm guessing a shrinking number since this project was scrapped due to lack of sales?

Anyhow, I think the best use for that spot, ideally, would be something that compliments the Williams Tower and the green space of adjacent Waterwall nicely, whether it be a tower, mixed use, or shopping center.

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She's a sweetheart. I met with her on several occasions and sent a few prospects her way. I was looking at one of the smaller units but never pulled the trigger because I didn't think they'd sell enough to get started. The most beautiful units in the place had availabilities and that was a bad sign.

If they sell off the sales center it would be a great place for someone to buy, open a restaurant or cafe downstairs and live upstairs in the model. lol

I just spoke to the Director of Sales yesterday, who is a good friend of mine, and she said they cancelled the project.

I also have it on very good authority that several Buyers are already looking to move over to another high rise that is already well under construction (delivery 2009) and in the same price range (read between the lines).

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This isn't surprising at all.

As I said before, those price points are not going to move on the wrong side of Westheimer. These towers were being geared towards the wealthy empty nesters of the Tanglewood and River Oaks area as well as to wealthy foreign nationals (Mexicans). Those folks aren't going to buy on that side of the Galleria. It's really that simple and has little to do with the current economy. A bad location with bad prices will FAIL in any market.

These out of town investors need to hire better local scouts.

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This isn't surprising at all.

As I said before, those price points are not going to move on the wrong side of Westheimer. These towers were being geared towards the wealthy empty nesters of the Tanglewood and River Oaks area as well as to wealthy foreign nationals (Mexicans). Those folks aren't going to buy on that side of the Galleria. It's really that simple and has little to do with the current economy. A bad location with bad prices will FAIL in any market.

These out of town investors need to hire better local scouts.

While I will grudgingly conceed (and grudgingly only because it is such a petty issue) that blue-bloods (albeit not necessarily foreign nationals) have a strong preference against the south side of Westheimer, I am more hesitant to write the post mortem on that basis alone. There are a lot of things going against condo highrises in a general sense.

Many prospective buyers were no doubt going to utilize funds from the sale of stocks, bonds, or other securities in order to make a large down-payment. This would be especially true, I think, of the older crowd. As the value of these holdings has plummeted, these people may not be able to cover a purchase. Even among the younger crowd, relying more upon securities investments as savings for a rainy day and/or retirement and their current job as the financial justification for the purchase, they probably are watching the market caps of their companies shrink and have become more concerned for their current employment, their future employment opportunities, and as to whether their savings will be a large enough safety net.

International buyers aren't doing well at all and they comprise an enormous part of the demand for highrise condos in Houston. Those from Europe and many other parts of the world have seen the exchange rate become less favorable to them. Buyers from oil-rich countries are terribly exposed to a precipitous drop in the price of energy commodities and are probably pulling in the reigns. High-profile buyers from developing countries were relying upon first world consumers to keep their economic engines running, but manufacturing orders are falling rapidly and the performance of their stock markets make ours look like a cake-walk. Everybody has good reason to be pulling in the reigns.

Then there's promotion. Turnberry spent a heck of a lot of money on their sales center but did not seem to hit as heavily in terms of advertising; and where they did spend was excessively targeted. Advertising is important. Even if they had their salespeople schmoozing at the uppitiest parties in town, they would need some pre-existing brand awareness established in order to pique peoples' interests and get the ball rolling. 2727 has that in place, as do all Randall Davis projects. The sales center may be impressive, but they needed to do a better job luring more traffic in there; even if a lot of that traffic is fake traffic by people that just want to see what's going on and that have no intention or ability to purchase a unit, luring in these kinds of folks allows them to talk to their friends and family about it, establishing positive brand awareness by way of word-of-mouth.

But market demand is only one aspect of the post-mortem. Condo developers need to meet a pre-sales target in order to get the financing to break ground and it needs to be met before obligations made previously by a prospective lender expire. If I had to guess, I'd imagine that Turnberry's obligations expired recently and that Turnberry was unable to find anyone that was able to offer an even remotely feasible financing deal to them. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Turnberry's ability or credibility as a company or the location of the site, just that the money is hard enough to come by even for tried-and-true forms of real estate and that extremely speculative highrise condo money is just not there.

EDIT: Another thing that I forgot to mention is that pre-sales contracts typically have a lit fuse attached to them. If the developer fails to accomplish particular objectives within a certain time frame, the prospective buyer has a right to opt-out. If Turnberry was in such a position that their pre-sales contracts were expiring, then they were not only having to seek out new business, but also continually sell themselves to their own stakeholders and make up for cancellations. That would be impossibly difficult in this environment.

Edited by TheNiche
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Honestly, I'm not torn up about it in the least. I thought it was another run-of-the-mill concrete block with little elequence. I'm sure that eventually it will be replaced with something far more achitecturaly appealing. Just my opinion of course.

Amen to that. I want steel, etched glass, titanium, curves and angles. Something more interesting, void of the "blue pants, white shoes and the $6.95 early bird special" look.

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Might be a good opportunity for Hines to repurchase the land and incorporate it into Williams Tower, perhaps a smaller office tower, which seems to be much more appropriate to the space than residential ever was.

I knew it was toooooo good to be true.

Oh well, glad I at least got to tour the model (little movie set). I can hold on to the beautiful brochure as a What Could Have Been souvenir. :)

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I will grudgingly conceed [sic] . . . highrise condo money is just not there.

My two cents:

I took it upon myself to edit your post for brevity. :P

Also, is your quote a joke: "Vote for John McCain. You don't have to like him, respect him, or really have any expectation that he's going to be a good president (I certainly don't). The important thing is that he isn't a classist scumbag. He is not Barack Obama. And that is sufficient."

Maybe TheNiche isn't omniscient after all. Cue the flame war.

Edited by bkjones98
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Also, is your quote a joke: "Vote for John McCain. You don't have to like him, respect him, or really have any expectation that he's going to be a good president (I certainly don't). The important thing is that he isn't a classist scumbag. He is not Barack Obama. And that is sufficient."

Maybe TheNiche isn't omniscient after all. Cue the flame war.

It is not a joke. I passionately dislike both candidates, but Obama's economic policy errors are aggregious; the long-term implications dwarf any other active policy discussions. If we're going to talk about this subject, though, lets do so in a more appropriate thread.

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I am not a marketing expert but I am an empty-nester living in River Oaks so I guess I'm part of the market they were targeting

Yet the print advertisement I saw for the project showed a hot 40's ish blonde covered in jewelry and elegant clothes. In other words, a second trophy wife

I'm pretty sure my wife and most of the first marriage empty nest wives in River Oaks and Tanglewood don't want to live in a building full of young second wives with their gym

suits and their jewelry. So I found the marketing approach to be inconsistent with the conventional wisdom as to the project's theoretical target market.

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Without repeating the obvious (slowing economy, etc) I am not a suprise that this failed. I am not a marketing expert but it probably had something to do with their cheesy, stereotyipcal ads which didn't align with the fancy showroom and high-end clientel. Overall this project just didn't have it together for their high-end target. :wacko:

With regard to the location comments or at least the one of it being on the "wrong side" of Westheimer - this is funny at best. I could agree with it (since I live north of the street nearby :blush: ) but think for this area it doesn't fit.

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I am not a marketing expert but I am an empty-nester living in River Oaks so I guess I'm part of the market they were targeting

Yet the print advertisement I saw for the project showed a hot 40's ish blonde covered in jewelry and elegant clothes. In other words, a second trophy wife

I'm pretty sure my wife and most of the first marriage empty nest wives in River Oaks and Tanglewood don't want to live in a building full of young second wives with their gym suits and their jewelry. So I found the marketing approach to be inconsistent with the conventional wisdom as to the project's theoretical target market.

Highrise condominiums are inconsistent with reality, so the ads made sense. ...no, seriously! Mosaic targeted hip young professionals with their ads and drew in doctors wanting an urban pad to stay at during the week, empty nesters, and international buyers. The youngsters were nowhere to be found.

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Highrise condominiums are inconsistent with reality, so the ads made sense. ...no, seriously! Mosaic targeted hip young professionals with their ads and drew in doctors wanting an urban pad to stay at during the week, empty nesters, and international buyers. The youngsters were nowhere to be found.

Maybe that's why so many of them don't get built.

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I'm pretty sure my wife and most of the first marriage empty nest wives in River Oaks and Tanglewood don't want to live in a building full of young second wives with their gym

suits and their jewelry. So I found the marketing approach to be inconsistent with the conventional wisdom as to the project's theoretical target market.

All of this makes perfect sense. Midtown seems to be mostly focused on a "Friend's or Greg & Darma" crowd. The Galleria has historically been known to attract a Zsa Zsa Gabor :lol: type crowd, used to anyway.

Maybe they should have called this Faulty Towers and with a mostly British clientele. lol

PS, I want to take home that little model Travelguy mentioned as a souvenir too.

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