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The sky’s the limit for a number of real estate entrepreneurs who are building new luxury high-rise condominiums in Houston.

Leading the way is Giorgio Borlenghi, president of Interfin Corp., a real estate development company founded in 1978. Interfin’s development projects in Houston include the Four-Leaf Towers condominiums and Four Oaks Place office complex. His latest project — a 27-story, 100-unit structure situated on the banks of Buffalo Bayou — range in size from 2,400 to 5,000 sf. and cost upward of $470,00 each.

In 1980, Borlenghi set the tone for the city’s luxury high-rise construction despite the onset of the tumultous 1980s when real estate markets took a nosedive statewide. The prestigious Four-Leaf Towers consisted of two 40-floor condominiums, with 200 units each. Its elegance, boasting marble countertops and baths, and savvy marketing are a testament to Borlenghi’s foresight. For 14 years, he waited as he focused on other projects for just the right timing to undertake a second luxury high-rise, a project that broke ground two years ago. His second project, the Villa d’Este, opened in June and is 90% sold, say area real estate professionals.

Meanwhile, other developers are following Borlenghi’s lead to build downtown luxury high-rises. Developer Sam Lutfak will begin construction on a 25-story, 117-unit Ar’talia at 1515 Rusk near Enron Field, home to the Houston Astros. Plans also are under way to convert downtown’s 914 Main St. into “Commerce Towers,” featuring 120 luxury condominiums. Analysts say high-rise living definitely is catching on in Houston, evidenced by $150 million in sales last year in comparison to $6 million in 1985. High-levels of security offered at the luxury complexes are part of the attraction for their popularity, according to market watchers.

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