Breathtaking views, arts and cultural conveniences, vibrant restaurants and hot spots, plus shorter commutes -- those are just a few of the reasons many young professionals, families and empty-nesters are bidding farewell to the 'burbs and embracing the urban lifestyle in DFW.
"My only regret with downtown living is that I wish I had done it sooner," says Dr. Wayne Peavy, who has lived in the Tower in Fort Worth since 2005. "Sundance [Square] is like a mini-New York City. I am walking distance to over 50 restaurants, the library, movie theater and Bass Hall. The only time I ever need my car is to go to work or church."
The true beauty of urban living in DFW lies in the fact that there is a little something for everybody depending on your particular taste and price range. There are countless complexes featuring lofts, condos, town homes and high rises for lease and sale here, but there are also some places that leave you in complete awe as you drive down West Seventh in Fort Worth or McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas.
It's hard not to imagine your life inside one of these exclusive addresses. After all, the W Dallas Residences has a 12,197-square-foot penthouse for a cool $10 million (and don't forget the monthly HOA dues). Or you could opt to follow the lead of Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom and his wife, Khloe Kardashian, and lease a posh two-bedroom condo at the W for $7,500 a month. The location gives Lamar an easy walk to work at American Airlines Center.
Then again, you may want to shop around. It is possible that the place that captures you heart has not even opened yet (Museum Tower in the Dallas arts district opens later this year and features 42 stories of "sky bound" estates!).
From the largest rooftop pool deck in Texas and scenic riverfront views to 24-hour room service and two-story penthouses, we've narrowed it down to the best of the best for the 2012 edition of "The Hottest Places to Live in DFW."
Check out a photo gallery of the Omni Residences.
Home, sweet home: Located on the southern end of downtown Fort Worth atop the Omni Hotel, the residences (Floors 16-33) provide picturesque views of the entire cityscape. After leaving your car with the valet under the residents' portico, you enter through a private lobby and are immediately greeted by the concierge. Residents also enjoy access to a rooftop terrace and garden, private pool, fitness center and club room on the 16th floor, not to mention the full-service Mokara Spa and Salon on the third floor. They can also order in from the Bob's Steak & Chop House, located downstairs, as well as having the convenience of a Starbucks in the lobby.
Dazzling decor: There are three interior styles for the units including traditional, transitional or contemporary.
Up all night: Residents can also take advantage of the Omni's 24-hour room service, housekeeping, and guests can stay at the hotel for a reduced rate.
Most expensive unit: 4,500 square feet, $2 million
Most affordable: 873 square feet, $299K
1301 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth. 817-535-6665. omniresidences.com
Check out a photo gallery of The Tower.
Home, sweet home: The Tower is a luxury high-rise with a prime location on the edge of Sundance Square. The building itself opened in 1974 as the Bank One Building before it was hit by the March 28, 2000, tornado. The building was developed into the city's first luxury high-rise condominiums, with its first homeowners moving into the sparkling building in March 2005. The Tower houses 288 units, including four penthouses on the 36th floor.
The amenities: The outdoor oasis on the fifth floor includes a pool, sundeck, hot tub, grills, covered gazebos and a grass lawn for pets. There is also a state-of-the-art fitness center with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the pool area. The party room, including a pool table and flat-screen, is available for residents' private functions. There are also two guest suites set up like hotel rooms for guests of residents.
Prime location: In addition to the restaurants and nightlife in Sundance Square, the street level of the Tower includes eateries such as Cantina Laredo, Qdoba and Potbelly with Vice, the city's hottest nightclub, located in the basement. The Tower also provides THE best views of the city.
Diane Morrison recently decided to live in downtown. She chose the Tower for "the view, the proximity to so many different things, and the Tower management and how they make me feel very safe."
Most expensive: 5,580 square feet, $1.5 million
Most affordable: 923 square feet, $199K
500 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth. www.livedowntownfortworth.com
Sundance West/Sanger Lofts
Check out a photo gallery of Sundance West/Sanger Lofts.
Home, sweet home: Sundance West opened in 1991 during the downtown Fort Worth renaissance. The 12-story building was designed by Washington, D.C., architect David M. Schwarz, whose portfolio includes American Airlines Center in Dallas, the Ballpark in Arlington, Bass Hall and Southlake Town Square. From 1991-2007, floors two through five of the redbrick building were home to the AMC Sundance 11 cinema. The space was taken over by the Norris Conference Center with the 59 apartments beginning on the sixth floor, where they wrap around the Reata rooftop bar. There is also the Terrace Room and Garden, where residents can relax and entertain friends.
A 'Fine' addition: Carol Charette moved to Sundance West this past fall after living in Arlington. She was drawn to the downtown Fort Worth lifestyle by "the restaurants, the nightlife, and I have season tickets to Bass Hall, which is a five-minute walk." Charette also says she loves the recent addition of Oliver's Fine Foods, a 6,600-square-foot grocery store that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in the adjacent Sanger Building.
Home, sweet home, part 2: The Sanger Lofts features 59 unique loft-style apartment homes beginning on the second floor of the Sanger Building. The building opened in 1929 as the Sanger Bros. Department Store (the first store west of the Mississippi River to be air-conditioned) and was home to J.C. Penney from 1946 until the early 1970s. Schwarz also designed Sanger Lofts, which opened in 1993. It has a very modern atmosphere that is evident in the spacious hallways and The Deck, its outside lounge area complete with a flat-screen and a nice view of the downtown area.
As an added amenity, residents of Sundance West and Sanger Lofts have memberships to the City Club of Fort Worth in the DR Horton Tower.
Sundance West: 333 Throckmorton St.
Most expensive: 2,268 square feet, $5,000-plus (lease per month)
Most affordable: 650 square feet, $1,400 (lease per month)
Sanger Lofts: 222 W. Fourth St.
Most expensive: 2,004 square feet, $3,295 (lease per month)
Most affordable: 840 square feet, $1,395 (lease per month)
Check out a photo gallery of Museum Place.
Home, sweet home: Located in the heart of Fort Worth's Cultural District, the 34 condos at One Museum Place are walking distance to world-class museums and the vibrant West Seventh entertainment and dining district. The condos are on the top three floors with panoramic views of the city. Directly below is Eddie V's Prime Seafood, one of the city's best restaurants.
A work in progress: When all is said and done, the Museum Place development will include upscale retail stores, unique restaurants, hundreds of residences and a boutique hotel. In addition to One Museum Place's 34 condos, there is also the Corner Store, which offers townhome-style condos, and the Plaza at Museum Place on Camp Bowie Boulevard, which houses the popular Blue Sushi Sake Grill. Luxury apartments are being built and are expected to be completed in the next year or so, to go along with retail and restaurants. Primebar has already signed for one of the corner locales, while a new sports bar featuring stadium seating is also set for what will be the gateway between downtown Fort Worth and the cultural district.
Amenities: The condos at One Museum Place offer a fitness center, rooftop deck with a pool, hot tub, fireplace and stainless-steel grill and the Social Room, complete with catering kitchen and entertainment pit.
Most expensive: 2,093 square feet, $719K ($4,000 per month lease)
Most affordable: 959 square feet, $260K ($1,300 per month lease)
3100 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth. www.museumplaceliving.com
Villa De Leon
Check out a photo gallery of Villa De Leon.
Home, sweet home: Located along the Trinity River in the neighborhood that was home to Fort Worth's original settlement, Villa De Leon features 23 condominiums and a resort lifestyle in an urban setting. It's a 10-minute walk to Sundance Square or a quick ride on Molly the Trolley. The panoramic views from the Spanish-style building also look across the Trinity River to LaGrave Field and over to the historic North Main Street bridge.
Dazzling design: Villa De Leon was designed by architect Ames Fender, grandson of prominent Texas architect Wyatt C. Hedrick. Hedrick's Fort Worth projects include the Texas & Pacific Terminal and Warehouse (1931), the Will Rogers Memorial Center (1936) and City Hall (1938). The interiors are tailored to each individual owner.
Amenities: A 24-hour concierge service, fitness center, terraces, gardens and an outdoor pool overlooking the Trinity back to a spectacular view of the downtown skyline.
Most expensive: 3,379 square feet, $1.2 million
Most affordable: 1,122 square feet, $336k
501 Samuels Ave., Fort Worth. www.villadeleon.com
Check out a photo gallery of Montgomery Plaza.
Home, sweet home: Montgomery Plaza's 240 luxury condos are on floors 3-8 and range in size from 800 square feet to 5,000 square feet. The residences combine the 1928 Art Deco design with modern sophistication.
Rich history: The original Montgomery Ward store and catalog building was completed in 1928 as the largest building in Texas. It withstood the 1949 flood and 2000 tornado. The Montgomery Ward Co. closed in 2001, and in 2004 the building was converted into restaurants and retail below and residences above. The twin-tower design of the building, which used to allow trains to enter to unload goods to the store, now functions as a gateway off of West Seventh to a promenade of restaurants including Gloria's, Pei Wei, Boomer Jack's and Sushi Axiom, leading to retail offerings such as Super Target, Office Depot, Marshall's GNC, Radio Shack and Luke's Locker.
Amenities: The largest rooftop pool in Texas, with a waterfall, six private cabanas, five fire pits and two practice putting greens, a movie theater, media room and fitness center. With its prime location in the heart of the West Seventh neighborhood, you can take your car down Carroll Street to get it serviced and walk over to Super Target to grab some groceries, do lunch at Baker Bros. Deli and get you hair cut at Super Cuts or Floyd's 99 Barber Shop, all before walking back to pick up your car.
Most expensive: $1.225 million
Most affordable: $200K
2600 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth. 817-348-9477. For more information, contact Denise Elliott at 817-348-9477 or Denise@montgomeryplaza.com.
Check out a photo gallery of Grand Treviso.
Home, sweet home: Grand Treviso is a 17-story high-rise in Las Colinas along the Mandalay Canal with sweeping views over to the Mustangs of Las Colinas in the Urban Center as well as Lake Carolyn and the downtown Dallas skyline in the distance.
Amenities: Two entertainment rooms with DVD, surround and projection TV and pool tables, fitness center, jogging trail around the canal and lake, resort-style pool with spa and fountains on the sixth floor and 24-hour concierge service. With so many golf fans in the Las Colinas neighborhood, Grand Treviso has a poolside garden terrazzo complete with a netted driving range.
Signature elements: This locale has its very own Havana Cigar Lounge. Common areas also include original works of art from the Kiron Espace Gallery in Paris.
Most expensive: 3,100 square feet penthouses -- $1.1 million each
Most affordable: 733 square feet, $175K
330 Las Colinas Blvd, Irving. grandtreviso.com
Check out a photo gallery of Azure.
Home, sweet home: The 31-story blue-tinted glass high-rise in Uptown opened in 2008 and was designed by world renowned architect James Cheng. The entry to the Azure feels like a luxury hotel, and the lobby is highlighted by Asian artwork of a samurai warrior on a winged Pegasus floating above cobalt-blue water. The tranquil environment is enhanced by the cascading ripple of the water in the background.
Amenities: 24-hour valet and concierge service, a private 17-seat movie theater available to residents, an exercise room that opens to the outdoor pool, which features views back to downtown Dallas, a massage room, lounge, library and private boardroom. The pool area features eight cabanas and is 100 percent in the sun for those wanting to soak up rays.
Private matters: Privacy is a huge aspect of living at the Azure. Every point is covered by digital video surveillance and you can pre-screen your guests from any TV in your residence. Elevators are programmed for restricted access based on the floor. And perhaps my favorite part of the Azure is that every condo comes with a private garage below ground rather than a huge garage with your own assigned spot. The size of the garage is based on the number of bedrooms in the owner's condo.
Most expensive: 5,025 square feet, $6.49 million
Most affordable: 881 square feet, $325K
2900 McKinnon St., Dallas. 214-623-6682.
Check out a photo gallery of the Savoye.
Home, sweet home: The Savoye in Addison features studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. It is at the center of the new 12-acre Vitruvian Park community, just northwest of LBJ and the Dallas North Tollway. Savoye's master plan includes 392 apartments and 16,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurants. Nearby restaurants and bars include 300 Dallas, Duke's Original Roadhouse, Sherlock's Baker St. Pub, Lawry's the Prime Rib, Champps Americana and Taco Diner. And don't forget the Galleria mall is right around the corner.
Amenities: park-side pool oasis, luxury fitness club, a fire pit with signature water wall, resident lounge, an indoor/outdoor Internet cafe and coffee bar and full-service concierge and business center. 42-inch HDTVs come standard with each unit.
Most expensive: 1,276 square feet, $2,175 (lease per month)
Most affordable: 533 square feet, $1,024 (lease per month)
3850 Vitruvian Way, Addison. visit savoyeaddison.com
Check out a photo gallery of Museum Tower.
Home, sweet home: Set to open later this year, the Museum Tower located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District will have 42 stories with 112 "sky-bound" estates with floor plans ranging from 1,450 square feet to 9,000 square feet. With its sleek design by Los Angeles architect Scott Johnson, it is destined to become a landmark in the Dallas skyline and among the city's museums.
Amenities: The concierge staff is available to stock your place with groceries, arrange for limo service and secure tickets to events, ranging from the opera to a Dallas Mavericks game. Also, every owner will have access to a personalized concierge from the downtown Neiman Marcus. Famed chef Stephen Pyles will provide cooking classes for residents. Two separate owners' lounges, the Museum Tower Gallery and the Terrace Lounge, are available to host private events. The fitness center has a studio for yoga, Pilates or tai-chi overlooking a Zen garden. There is also an 82-foot pool with cabanas, a fire pit, outdoor cooking and dining areas and an on-site dog park.
Most affordable: Prices begin at $1.4 million and go up from there, with full floors custom priced.
2120 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas. 214-954-1234. visit museumtowerdallas.com
The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas
Check out a photo gallery of The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas.
Home, sweet home: These are the only condominiums in the Southwest managed by Ritz-Carlton. There are 95 homes on 23 floors, with the residents split among empty-nesters and successful 30-somethings. The Regency Row homes are town homes next to the pool that range from 6,000 to 7,000 square feet with the final decor left to the owner. After touring the showcase condos designed by Carleton Varney, Jean Liu and Ann Sutherland, I paused for a moment and stared across the Rolex building to the American Airlines Center and knew without hesitation, if I could live anywhere in DFW, I would choose the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown.
Amenities: Each residence has a priority phone with direct access to the concierge for housekeeping services, security, valet and 24-hour room service through the hotel. There is also a lush resort-style pool and state-of-the-art fitness center exclusively for residents. As a resident, you are also entitled to the "Preferred" rate at Ritz-Carlton hotels. Just outside of the Regency Row homes, Crescent is developing a new contemporary village designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli that will offer residential, retail, office and homes. It will undoubtedly be the new heart of Uptown and those who live at the Residences at Ritz-Carlton will be in the prime location to take advantage of the new spot. For further information, contact Kyle Crews (214) 855-2020 or email@example.com.
Most expensive: (Tower) 4,644 square feet, $4.09 million
Most affordable: (Tower) 1,375 square feet, $745K
Regency Row homes: (Shell) 7,402 square feet, $4.4 million
2555 N. Pearl St., Dallas. 214-855-2020. www.theresidencesdallas.com