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DALLAS-A local condo developer is planning a 26-unit project beside the former St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church, which is owned by an investor from Los Angeles who’s eyeing a conversion to residential and commercial space. St. Kim Flats, now on the drawing board, isn’t expected to break ground until late 2009.

St. Kim’s Development LLC acquired the 29,000-sf tract beside the church at 2712 Swiss Ave. in November 2007, getting a spot within walking distance of Baylor Medical Center. Philomena Hu, division manager of Dallas-based Mayse & Associates Inc. is St. Kim Flats’ lead architect. In today’s world, Hu says construction costs would hit $5 million, but that certainly could change by the time work begins.

Hu tells GlobeSt.com that the density formula would allow the developer to put in 30 units without rezoning, but St. Kim Flats is being designed with three penthouse-size condos, one of which will have a private elevator, so the count was lowered to 26 to accommodate the premium component. “Density is really critical to condo projects, more so than any other project,” Hu says.

Under design is a podium-style building with 23 one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 1,000 sf to 1,300 sf and three 2,200-sf condos. St. Kim Flats, with views of the Downtown skyline, will have three floors of condos, with common elevators, and perched atop a parking level. The brick-and-stone exterior is being designed with a warehouse-style facade to fit into the East Dallas neighborhood without being obtrusive, according to Hu. The Mayse design team includes Dan Kazachki, senior project manager, and Justin Chitwood, an architectural intern.

Hu says the site was carved from the church property before it was sold to the California investor, who is planning to live in the church and hopes to open an outreach center in the existing fellowship hall. Hu says the condo developer opted to put the St. Kim name on his project to maintain the historical integrity of the site.

Hu says the project’s construction documents are only 25% complete so groundbreaking most likely won’t be until late 2009. The site is part of a $2-billion redevelopment being undertaken by Dallas-based Incap Fund, which is backing St. Kim Flats.

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