DALLAS-A vintage package of in-town buildings, some on and off the market for some time, appears to have been pulled again just days before a full-fledged marketing campaign rolled out the door.

One of the local owners, Andrew Kasnetz, did not return telephone calls by publication time to discuss the pending offering for a pair of West End properties, a 71,765-sf, five-story office building and 6,900-sf structure with a 23-stall parking lot; 1516 Elm St., a 25,000-sf, five-story structure built in 1900; and 2909 Thomas St., a pair of two-story buildings with 5,551 sf divvied into three apartments and retail space. It’s been no secret around town that the buildings, one or all, were available at the right price and being quietly offered to scores of condo converters scouring downtown and Uptown for redevelopment propositions.

The decision comes at a time when the in-town multifamily market has reached 94.4% occupancy, the second highest in the Dallas metro, and rent is 1% higher than a year ago, one of a handful of sectors to show some gain, Greg Willett, editorial director of M/PF Research Inc. in Carrollton, tells GlobeSt.com. The average in-town rent is $1,161 per month or $1.26 per sf, cornering the top spot on the metro price index.

“It’s a market where new product is dominant and the reason for the high rents,” Willett says, noting 8,700 of the 11,500 units in downtown and Uptown were built in the past decade. Another 1,456 rental units are rising, with deliveries coming within 18 months. Some will be good candidates for a swing to condos after they’re completed, he says.

“We’re pushing things to a new price point,” Willett says. But, Dallas still trails Chicago and Los Angles by $39 per month and lags San Francisco by $400 per month. “I think it’s realistic for the very top buildings in Dallas to get around $2 per sf,” Willett says.

While the fate of the de-listed portfolio hangs in limbo, another downtown owner, International Capital, two days ago sold the last condo at 509 Elm Place Residences. Christiana Hepfer, International Capital’s president, says there have been seven sales in four months. But, she confides, the unit prices were shaved slightly so the books could be closed on the mixed-use West End project, which until recently had 23 sales in six years.

“I feel the condo market is very spotty down there,” Hepfer stresses. “We got it done, but we took prices down. I think it’s a good idea to go residential, but I would not go condo again.” Now rental, she says, is a different story: “I personally would build apartments, rental. They go very well.”

Randall Turner, president of Harvard Cos. Inc. and an in-town broker with an inside track, says the portfolio buildings, one of which he previously marketed, are “great properties…it’s a good time to put them on the market.”

Turner says condos are “just now starting to catch on in downtown” although admittedly high-rollers like Hillwood and Crescent aren’t having one bit of trouble in Victory or Uptown. He believes says the CBD’s vintage stock needs extra perks to attract renters and condo owners. To aid development, downtown caregivers are kicking around a series of ideas to help “bring life” to the two- to five-story buildings in the Main, Elm and Commerce corridor. One idea being probed, he says, is a master valet parking system for renters and condo owners for front-door drop-off and pick-up service.

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