Developed by the visionary Steve Tortolani with IKON development BGRE assisted with all aspects of this development from site acquisition, to market demand studies, concept scenarios, design advice from the standpoint of what buyer’s are looking for, marketing, advertising, and final sell-out. The timing on this project is truly a tale of the peaking of the market and subsequent decline in values as a result of the mortgage crisis and the cyclical nature of real estate. It was akin to doing an IPO about a year before the Great Depression and seeing it through to the end.
The site was being held by the great modernist urban pioneer Diane Cheatum who was way ahead of her time on almost everything she has ever done. Ms. Cheatum was starting Urban Reserve and was willing to part with this wonderful location over looking the Katy Trial and in between Knox Street and West Village and Mr. Tortolani was wanting a prime location to do a modern project.
Initially the idea of doing a boutique mid-rise was contemplated but ultimately Mr. Tortolani felt that it made more sense to build Townhomes overlooking the Katy Trail and the Overlook at Katy Trail was born.
The timing of this project was truly fascinating with the original sales prices being record breaking while the second phase sold for consecutively lower prices as the horror and depth of the mortgage crisis came into clear focus. “I got my first gray hair during this time period but realized in a declining market you either lease it out or sell it as soon as possible because time is not your friend”, says Mr. Griffin.
The Overlook is a lasting monument to the vision, talent, and abilities of Mr. Tortolani and at the same time a classic example of the cyclical nature of real estate and how things can change very quickly. It was a great pleasure and a supreme challenge to be involved in this project. I take great pride in the final product and am thankful that the we were able to sell this project out despite the challenges that we faced.
The original marketing copy on this project:
“A modern sanctuary in the heart of the city. Katy Trail adjacent, and central to the Uptown and Knox Travis areas, The Overlook at Katy Trail offers you the opportunity to live in a sophisticated modern residence that is designed to be sleek, open, functional, and most of all, unique. The cutting edge, modern design of The Overlook at Katy Trail immediately stands out as the innovative option for buyers looking for the convenience of a central location as well as a novel and fresh design aesthetic. Bask in the light of expansive glass walls that frame the main living areas, inviting the front and rear gardens right into your home. Amazing views, yet amazingly private and intimate. The downtown and treetop vistas from the roof decks will envelop you in the city that surrounds you.”