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Here’s a Day in the Life of Luxury High-Rise Turtle Creek North

A June 1962 edition of the Dallas Morning News heralds a new housing trend that’s sweeping Dallas — “foxy new apartment buildings,” as the full-page news feature calls them, that offer a pool, patio, and easy luxury lifestyle.

One such building is “the fashionable” Turtle Creek North, a 13-floor gleaming white stucco building located at 3701 Turtle Creek Blvd. near Blackburn St. in Oak Lawn. The prestigious Turtle Creek address features one- and two-bedroom condos, and four-bedroom penthouses. Turtle Creek North is where you’ll find two listings by Allie Beth Allman and Associates agent Sanders Avrea — the now-under-contract apt 4H, a two-bedroom, two-bath condo that was completely renovated by Allie Beth Allman Realtor Kyle Crews, and the for-lease 4E, a fully-furnished, one-bedroom, one-bath condo that’s a coveted corner unit with something a little extra inside that’ll call you home.

Crews alerted us to the condos and the building’s rich midcentury history, and of course, we love our Midcentury Modern around here. But I also can’t resist the opportunity to jump in my proverbial time machine to see what Turtle Creek North was like at its inception. (If you don’t want to time travel, just scroll on down to the home’s link and give Sanders a call.)

Tall and Tan and Young and Lovely

A lithe woman rests her hip and left leg on the wrought-iron rail of her downtown Dallas patio. The photo is taken in shadow, with only the woman’s stylish cigarette pants, perhaps a sleeveless top, and an unmistakable beehive shown against the bright shimmers of a cool, blue swimming pool a few stories below.

Dallas’ jet set of the early ’60s lived in and positively loved these newly-erected luxury dwellings throughout Oak Lawn, Preston Hollow, and of course, “behind the pink wall” where kitten heels and cocktails were requisite.

“This city of homes and yards is becoming more and more a metropolis of apartments,” the Dallas Morning News wrote. “Some say the tremendous explosion of Dallas garden apartments — built around a pool and patio, often fringed with banana trees or palms — is unparalleled in all the world.”

In this metropolis of luxury high-rises, there were two kinds of tenants who represented very different demographics — differences I’ll describe with help from music of the era, specifically the Billboard Top 100 singles of 1962.

Dallas’ High-Rise Scene

There were prominent Dallas names who had a little bit of money to throw around for this trendy new luxury, or former homeowners — “solid citizens who have surrendered in the battle with crabgrass and bagworms, utility bills and repair men, bookkeeping and taxes.” These were the ones who dropped the needle on 1962’s hit, “Moon River” by Henry Mancini with a martini in hand at the end of a long Mad Men-esque workday.

Then, there were the young professionals whose appetite for luxury exceeded their bank balance. They bundled two or three roommates into an apartment, purchased the best Egg Chair and Tulip Table lookalikes they could afford, carved up the space with a rattan folding screen or two, and voilá, they had the ubiquitous bachelor or bachelorette pad. Think of this brand of tenant as more of a toned-down version of Holly Golightly. (I mean, Audrey Hepburn’s Holly did hail from Tulip, Texas.) But these were the high-rise tenants who might have kept quieter neighbors awake playing records and “Twistin’ the Night Away.”

Without a doubt, Turtle Creek North had the well-to-do “Moon River” crowd. Kyle Crews, the Realtor who renovated a two-bedroom here, said early residents included employees of the downtown Neiman Marcus department store, or ultra-wealthy society types who could use a pied de terre for shopping trips or entertaining.

A Dallas Morning News ad from May 1962, announcing the near completion of Turtle Creek North

Names on the proverbial mailbox included Earle Cabell, the ’60s-era Mayor of Dallas, U.S. Congressman, and later namesake of the Federal Courthouse, who lived here. So did Marion Fooshee, one-half of the esteemed Dallas architect team of Fooshee & Cheek, the firm that designed Highland Park Village and the most exclusive homes throughout Dallas. A couple of Strausses lived here too, as in former Mayor Annette Strauss.

An All-Star Refurbishment

In 1966, Turtle Creek Properties, a six-man joint venture group acquired the high-rise. This was a who’s who of Dallasites, including department store titans Richard A. Gump and Stanley Marcus, businessmen Theodore Strauss and Robert Strauss, and two others. They undertook extensive remodeling and refurbishing in 1967 and by the early 1970s, the apartments were converted to condos for sale.

“Several of the original tenants who worked for Mr. Marcus bought their units and are still in residence —along with new generations of owners,” Crews says. “Plus, the building originally had its own private club called for dinner and drinks.”

This in-building amenity had a few different incarnations. In 1963, it’s Mr. Peppe’s Restaurant. By 1964, new owners transformed the in-building restaurant to the French and Swiss cuisine restaurant, Beau-Rivage (but they kept Mr. Peppe’s chef). There was the Turtle Dove restaurant in 1967, which became THE place for ladies’ tea and cucumber sandwiches. All very proper with gloves and a tiara.

How Turtle Creek North Lives

“For someone needing a second home in Dallas or a pied de terre-type place, it is perfect. Or getting a divorce and needs a nice “instant home” in a great midcentury building on Turtle Creek,” Crews said.

From the listing:

Completely renovated in 2022 spacious two bedroom, two bath mid century modern condominium in the iconic Turtle Creek North boutique building! New open kitchen with quartz countertops, all new cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Two new full baths, numerous closets all outfitted with Elfa storage systems. LVP wood plank flooring throughout. Large living and dining area with custom wood applique accent wall adjoins a spacious terrace. Building amenities include valet parking, fitness center, pool and 24hr concierge.

Listing for 3701 Turtle Creek Blvd. Apt. 4H — pending contract

Crews’ renovated unit at 4H is a spacious two-bedroom, two-bath condo with 1,340 square feet that comes fully furnished. It’s now pending contract for $400,000. But don’t fret, Sanders has a fantastic lease, too.

4E Now Leasing

From the listing:

This beautifully updated corner unit is reminiscent of a sophisticated New York apartment and comes fully furnished! Upgrades include hardwood floors throughout, an updated kitchen with marble countertops, custom build-ins with exceptional storage and a spa-like bath. Overlooking Turtle Creek Blvd, this fourth floor unit features a large, private terrace. Tons of natural light throughout the spacious floor plan. Amenities of this mid-century modern building include a pool and fitness center in addition to excellent staff.

Listing for 3701 Turtle Creek Blvd. Apt 4E — now for lease

Avrea says Apt. 4E is a prime find for many reasons. We’ve established that Turtle Creek North is a fantastic building with a foxy nod to the early ’60s. But this 4E lease is one of only a small handful in this 13-floor Turtle Creek North high-rise that has its own washer and dryer in unit.

Not a juicy enough nugget? The condo is a coveted corner unit that overlooks Turtle Creek Blvd. with gorgeous, verdant treetops and people-watching for days. A suitable escape to hum a little “Moon River” if you’re feeling “the mean reds” or the blues. So I’ll leave you with Holly Golightly’s thoughts on this place.

“If I could find a real-life place to make me feel like Tiffany’s [or like this lease at 4E], then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name.”

Sanders Avrea of Allie Beth Allman and Associates has listed 3701 Turtle Creek Blvd., #4E for lease at $3,000/month.

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