Condo Spies in the Night: Investigating Sales at 2727 Kirby

Sure, we all want to know how well the condos at the newly completed 30-story 2727 Kirby tower have been selling. But a couple of dedicated readers decided to investigate on their own:

[We] have been musing that 2727 Kirby looks awfully dark for a building for which the Chronicle proffers “all but 18 units have been sold

Well, we put on our trench coats and went parking garage climbing to find out exactly how many souls live in that wraithlike monument to a bygone era.

These scary night pictures were taken on a Tuesday evening at around 8 pm. This was a prime time for at least a sampling of residents to be at home among their new Imported Stone Flooring and European Cabinetry. The night photos were taken from atop the parking garage on West Alabama that is the home of Fleming’s and from the Parking lot on Westheimer that serves Taco Milagro/Downing Street.

And they show . . . ?


We saw the flicker of only one giant television from the south side of the building [photo above]. We saw lights on in 1 other unit.

On the north side we saw perhaps 3 units with some kind of light on. This seems closer to the reports of “about 8 units closed” than to “all but a few, or all but 18”

We were surprised by the lack of staging. Someone should at least have the chutzpah to turn on some lights at night, buy some plastic lawn furniture and plants and stuff them on balconies, and get a few flat screens (you are going to end up giving them away) on a timer at night.

Is there a daylight report, too?

Over the Labor Day weekend, we found ourselves atop the West Ave apartments in the pool clubhouse. We did see evidence of some activity [across the street at 2727 Kirby]!! A bed!! Perhaps a new resident is moving in?? However, upon closer inspection, the bed might be the modest beginnings of some staging –as evidenced by the large tag in the mattress at 3x zoom:

. . . We both think it is staging or a model apartment getting set up. There is also a small fleet of relatively expensive cars that sit out front. About 8 (I keep coming back to that number). They were sitting there in the rain on Labor Day. We are wondering if they are staged.

Our readers conclude:

The only action at 2727 Kirby is where the old leasing office was at W. Alabama. There is a yummy new yogurt place there. So I guess the building really did change the Upper Kirby district. On Alabama.

Photos of 2727 Kirby: Swamplot inbox

33 Comment

  • Well, maybe their units aren’t built out yet? This is what some called the ‘brita filter building’ right?

  • Also, sold and occupied are two different things.

    Currently, Miami and Las Vegas condo towers are seeing an influx of new investment buyers since the prices have dropped so much. I’m not saying this is the 2727 Kirby’s situation, but given that Houston in general has a stronger housing outlook than most places around the country, it’s not inconceivable for investors to buy in again.

    Also, someone in the real estate know might be able to answer this question: With the devaluation of the dollar and predicted future drops of the dollar, is there a good chance of a large influx of foreign investors (like in the 80s) for US property?

  • After seeing these photos, the “future” residents are probably waiting for their freaking window treatments to arrive. Nice work, kids. A+ for the creepy bed shot. Is that a conference room at the top of pic #3?

  • What Wilf said! Way to go & good on you! How we gonna know the truth if we don’t go lookin?

  • Who are these hateful photogs who are so eager to undermine a quality development that played by the rules?

    You assholes do know that the lead developer shockingly DIED at 53, and his family has pushed forward to complete the project,partly as a tribute?

    You assholes also do know this project was in motion well prior to the recession and was NEVER considered “shaky” or “irresponsible”? In fact, some have reported this address was the finest remaining high-rise dirt available in the RO area.

    What did these people ever do to you hateful “reporters” – is this supposed to be “snarky” or clever? Because as others have noted, this “reporting” proves absolutely nothing. I have a unit in a downtown Denver loft – 100% sold, usually 5-10% lit up at 8 pm.

    No real proof, just mean-spiritedness. Congrats on your “work”.

  • Assholes? Maybe for you next job you could work at the Kanye West school of charm. I think the gist of the original blog post is to bring light the bending of the truth on the marketing of the high-rise. I call it “turd-polish.”

  • I like the place and hope it does well, the timing was poor but who knew. Investors have plenty of product on the east and west coasts to choose from in this market. I hope Mr. Atlas enjoys the view from overhead.

  • Great report on 2727. If my name were Devans, I wouldn’t call people assholes without first thinking about the name my mama or her baby’s daddy gave me. Devans.

  • ‘Snarky’? No. Observant? Yes. What does one of the developers deaths have to do with what remains? Your type of people are so into bulldozing over the past to get on with the future that I am confused by your sentimentality. To hell with the 100 oaks some ‘busy body’ group planted years ago with an eye toward the future. Your developer’s ‘vision’ conquered all.

  • i’ve heard that most of these owned units are being built out by the city’s best architects and interior designers. this is long process when custom furniture, kitchens, and high end imported fixtures. these things take time, chill.

    the building looks great, i’m so glad to see it on the skyline.

  • How long does it take for HCAD to recognize a sale and list a new owner?

    How long does it take HCAD to open a new account for a new condo unit being sold for the first time by the developer?

    Type 2727 Kirby into HCAD’s database and there is still only one listing, for the entire building. No listings for individual condo owners.

    I’m not saying this is evidence of anything all by itself. I just saying…

  • I recall fondly the building that was. Our family dentist officed there. His floor had bizzarely low ceilings and tiny doors, thus we called it the “Being John Malcovich” Building.

    But what confounds me is that so many seemingly intelligent people get angry and hateful to those who report facts that they don’t like. Why shoot the messenger? Aren’t we beyond that?

  • Maybe none of the lights we’re on during labor day weekend because all of the residents are at their vacation homes? While your stuck in your apartment across the street?

    Drive down the backside any day. People moving in constantly.

    I am sure they have some units left over to sale, but I am sure you will never be buying one on your swamplot revenues. I did click on an add for you however. Congrats on that $0.02 you made.

  • That is one polished turd.

  • In this case, the “apartment across the street” rents for around $2/sf, so if that’s an indication that the owners at 2727 breathe a rarer air then the rest of us, then I don’t mind the quality of the breeze.

  • Certain posters continue to prove my point

  • Perhaps if the sleuths had turned around and photographed the Huntingdon when they were in the Taco Milagro parking lot, they would have documented a similar lack of illuminated units in that building. In the past, I have been amazed at the lack of lights on in that building when driving by at night. In other words, I don’t think the number of lights on any given evening in a luxury highrise condiminium is any indication of how many units are owned and/or occupied by wealthy, mobile residents.

  • Do you hope the project turns out to be a financial failure?
    Do you wish the old building were still there forever?
    Please clarify.

  • This really is a stupid “report.” Whether lights are on during labor day weekend is hardly evidence that a building hasn’t sold any units. If you have nothing better to do than play peeping tom/roving swamplot reporter, then I don’t know what to tell you except get a life.

  • …but given that Houston in general has a stronger housing outlook than most places around the country, it’s not inconceivable for investors to buy in again.

    You read too many HAR press releases in the Houston Chronicle.

  • Perhaps if the sleuths had turned around and photographed the Huntingdon when they were in the Taco Milagro parking lot, they would have documented a similar lack of illuminated units in that building.

    Their windows are tinted as I recall so unless there is a lamp by the window or they have the 1,000 “accent” spotlights or the chandeliers on, you may not see the lights. Plus those are “pied-a-terres” for quite a few who aren’t here all the time plus several units are on the market plus what does the Huntingdon have to do with 2727 Kirby? That’s like comparing a Bentley with a Volkswagen.

  • rdan is on to something. Even in long-completed residential highrises, lights are only on 1) when people actually are home, because when you pull down this kind of cash, you eat out a lot and often work long hours, 2) when a particular room is occupied AND the occupants are awake, and 3) when the maid is there. Blinds, solar shades, or other window treatments mays also be an issue.
    If 5% to 10% of window faces were lit, I’d say that they’re probably doing better than the worst-case rumors. The truth of the matter as it pertains to closed sales is probably somewhere in between. Most condo sales staff seem to have a knack for putting out borderline-fraudulent information. Cases in point: Mosaic and Endeavor. That’s not to say that Mike Atlas designed a crappy building–the truth is that this one really is better and was less reckless than the others–but I suspect that market forces will wreck the financial viability of the project anyway.
    Nobody say anything else bad about this project. From the sound of it, you might cause Devans to stroke out. :rolleyes:

  • Ok, devans and bizzle lighten up before you bust a blood vessel. It is a light hearted report for the entertainment of the Swamplot readers.

  • The building is built. The units are there. They will sell eventually, at some price. Wasn’t the construction lender Fremont Investment & Loan? They’ve been dead quite a while now. No telling who owns that loan now, or how much they paid for it. I hope Mrs. Atlas can sell the units. If not, someone else will.

  • “comparing a Bentley with a Volkswagon”? Which is which in your opinion? Interesting analogy considering that VW owns Bentley. There are some, umm, interesting people posting this week.

  • The Huntingdon is the Bentley. Although it’s a classic Bentley. The newer Bentleys, well, as you point out, they are made by Volksagen. Draw your own conclusion.
    Perhaps I should have said comparing a Maybach to a Volksagen.

  • Matt, you know as much about Bentleys as you do Ikea, some units in the Huntingdon did not sell until years after completion, btw, I prefer 2727 as well.

  • Actually, areas of the Huntington still have not been built out.

  • I love the cloak-and-dagger work by the Swamplot roving reporters! The posters getting all bent out of shape by this report need to just take this for what it is – some observations about occupancy perception vs. reality. I’m highly entertained.

  • It’s pretty simple. 2727 Kirby is priced as high as eagle p%&*y and few people are going to support that in this market. Doesn’t matter if the developer had a great idea – nobody wants ’em right now. The old real estate saying holds true, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

  • I don’t think these photos are a very accurate indication of sales velocity for this kind of condo. Buyers of high end condos don’t tend to sign on the dotted line and move right in. They may be doing extensive interior build-outs or they may be trying to sell a big house in Tanglewood. More than a few are probably not using it as their primary residence, etc.

    That being said, this is a high quality project in the worst development market in memory and I’m impressed that they are doing as well as they are. Also, no sane person listens to sales people talking about how well their product is selling.

  • From Bernard:
    How long does it take for HCAD to recognize a sale and list a new owner?

    Usually within a month.

  • Matt, you know as much about Bentleys as you do Ikea, some units in the Huntingdon did not sell until years after completion, btw, I prefer 2727 as well.


    I know enough not to drive the Bentley to Ikea although I wouldn’t drive the Volksgaen because I wouldn’t be caught dead in Ikea.

    As for the Huntingdon, two things worked against it in the beginning. The first was the “novelty” of buying just a shell and having to hire an architect to “complete” it. The second was the boycott of the developer which was how people in River Oaks “protested” it being built which began with quite a few withdrawing their money from his bank. In time all was forgiven and those with the money to buy the units began to buy them. Even they were “fire-saled” they were still very expensive.