Real Estate / High-Rises

Inside the New World of Dallas High-Rise Living — a Plush Luxury Palace on Edge of Highland Park Raises the Bar

The McKenzie Brings Refined Perks — No Renters Under 25 Allowed

BY // 03.07.19

The views of a high-rise are always important. But sometimes the zip code means even more. After all, it cannot be a true luxury tower if it’s not in a neighborhood where luxury seekers love to frolic.

The McKenzie — a 22-story, 183-unit high-rise at the corner of Harvard Avenue and Tracy Street in Dallas — reflects this. This Streetlights Residential tower sits right across the street from where Highland Park begins.

Highland Park Village, Highland Park Stadium and the SMU campus are visible from some of its units.

The McKenzie also has direct access to the Katy Trail via a simple stairway. And high-end realtor Allie Beth Allman & Associates’ own plush world headquarters happens to be right across the street.

Yes, this tower takes its surrounds very seriously.

“You can access everything. But you don’t necessarily have to be in everything,” is how Sanders Avrea, vice president of Allie Beth Allman’s Urban team, puts it.

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After all, The McKenzie is a refined place. Hence one of its most prominent rules: prospective tenants need to be at least 25 years old to rent here. This is not a party tower. It’s a high-rise with top level finishes and decor.

Its rents also fit into the neighborhood. Units start at $3,550 per month and go up to $18,500 per month for the stunning penthouses on the top floor. The McKenzie’s most popular apartments — its two bedrooms — range from $5,500 to $8,500 per month.

Allie Beth Allman does not typically deal with rentals. This is a firm that made its name with its clients buying and selling some of Dallas’ most lavish houses.

“The McKenzie is a good fit for us,” Avrea tells PaperCity, “because it’s essentially a high-end residential situation. We like to think of our tenants here as residents.”

With many of its first residents signing two-year leases, the feeling appears to be mutual. People moving to The McKenzie — many of whom are leaving elaborate Highland Park homes — seem to expect to stay for a good while.

Empty nesters from the nearby area who don’t need a massive house — and all the demands that come with it — are an important demographic for this new tower. In many ways, The McKenzie is built to make the transition to high-rise living an easier prospect with its much larger than average apartments.

“Our homes average 1,600 square feet — which is very high,” Avrea says. “Even our small one bedrooms start right at 1,100 square feet.”

A High-Rise Retreat

Walking around The McKenzie, with its garden room, boardroom and private studies, feels like walking around a high-end condo building or an exclusive boutique hotel. And that’s the point.

“Vertical living is still so new to Dallas,” Avrea says. “We’re just starting to see vertical living becoming a little more mainstream or acceptable.”

The McKenzie
The McKenzie’s units average 1,600 square feet — much bigger than most luxury apartments.

Soon, keeping up with the Joneses may mean going higher in Dallas.

But putting a Texan in a high-rise does not eliminate the mandate of everything needing to be bigger in Texas. Not by a long shot. Take The McKenzie’s supersized closets and storage spaces.

Understanding that storage space is very important for people who are downsizing from an impressive house, this high-rise’s closets are beyond walk in. They’re practically big enough to lounge in.

“Many of our residents have been storing the china for years,” Avrea says. “They need that space — and they’ll find it here.”

They’ll also find a third floor amenities level with a pool, fitness center, fire pits and plenty of room for entertaining. Valet and concierge service that runs 24-7, seven days a week, completes the retreat-like vibe of this tower.

Still, the finishes inside the apartments themselves — from the crown molding to the granite and marble, to the cabinets, to even the high-end Baldwin locking system — are what clearly set The McKenzie apart.

“In the ultra high-end luxury market, you can see where the separators are,” Avrea says, before he claps his hands and instructs Alexa to turn on the lights and music — and raise the shades — in a unit.

Yes, The McKenzie is as tech-savvy as a resident wants it to be. A built-in Alexa system is one option. Blackout shades are standard in all the bedrooms, reinforcing the notion that this is your own personal lair.

One where you can let the world in — or tune it completely out — depending on your mood.

This high-rise isn’t for everyone. You have to be a little more mature to embrace it. This isn’t an SMU grad student’s party tower. You also have to possess a mature bank account.

The McKenzie’s most popular units have been its two bedrooms, which range in price from $5,500 to $8,500 per month. High-rise living is changing in Dallas — and in many ways, it’s becoming even more plush.

This Dallas neighborhood is a prime place for a different type of Dallas high-rise.

One where refined luxury rather than over-the-top displays rule. Welcome to a new high life.

“As we’re starting to see more and more of these living experiences, we’re refining our approach,” Avrea says.

Perhaps the reaction of my Uber driver on pulling up The McKenzie’s drive says it all. “What celebrity lives in this building?” he asks.

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