Posted by: Natalia Elko
On this month’s Beyond the Build, we spoke with real estate expert Julie Kleine at DC Partners, a Houston-based real estate development and investment firm dedicated to traditional and innovative venues. DC Partners takes on real estate projects of all shapes and sizes—from luxury high-rise condominiums and sleek office spaces or hotels, to multi-family and residential communities.
I love following along on their Instagram for this reason—there are always so many kinds of exciting projects happening at once! It was such a pleasure chatting with Julie and learning so much about DC Partners’ incredible portfolio and what happens behind the scenes.
1. Hi, there! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and DC Partners?
Julie Kleine, Director of Sales & Marketing for DC Partners. I have been in the real estate industry for 20 years, not counting the years in university when I sold homes for my father, who is also a real estate developer.
DC Partners is a luxury mixed-use real estate developer. We passionately believe that all things should be not only beautiful, but purposeful. This belief informs everything we do and is evident in our commitment to creating real estate environments that cater to discerning residents and thriving markets. Each of our projects share these attributes yet are otherwise completely unique from conception to completion. We apply extensive experience, strategic partnering, creative vision, and strong instincts to everything we do, blending leading-edge design with long-term growth and changing skylines, one landmark development at a time.
2. Can you tell our readers about your recent Arts Residences project at the Thompson Hotel? It looks like such a stunning project!
The Arts Residences at the Thompson Hotel is San Antonio’s premier River Walk address, located in the epicenter of San Antonio’s vibrant performing arts district. The 337,000-plus-square-foot mixed-use development encompasses The Arts Residences’ 59 luxury-living condominiums atop San Antonio’s first Thompson Hotel and a restaurant led by a world-class chef. Developed by DC Partners and San Antonio-based Universal Service Group, designed by Powers Brown Architecture and interior design by Amass & G, the project is scheduled to be completed before year’s end. Homeowners began moving in this November and the Hotel opening is scheduled for January 2021.
Thompson San Antonio is the first luxury hotel to open in San Antonio in the last 5 years and only the second Thompson Hotel in Texas. it is also the first Thompson hotel with residences for sale.
As the developer and hotel owner, DC Partners is very involved in all design aspects of the project. We pride ourselves on developing modern architecture and design that stands the test of time.
3. How do you prepare for a big project? How do you make sure your team, the client, and anyone else you may be working with are all on the same page?
We have an all-team kickoff meeting at the beginning for design and architecture, then again before several milestones. In addition, we have weekly meetings before construction begins.
During construction, our Project Management team is meeting weekly, if not daily, with the architect and General Contractor. Strategic project management and thorough documentation are essential to these types of projects.
4. What’s your favorite thing about the kitchens in these projects? Any sneak peek details you can share?
It is very important that we maximized the kitchen design for the highest performance with a luxe aesthetic. The appliance packages paired with gorgeous porcelain surfaces accomplish that. Thermador appliances are expertly engineered and provide technology driven solutions that work well for high-rise living. We partnered with Moderno Porcelain Works to install porcelain surfacing and blacksplashes in all our residences. The marble-veined porcelain is scratch, stain and heat resistant, which maximizes the counterspace.
5. Is there a design or building “rule” you love to follow? Can you provide us with an example?
We design the buildings from the inside out. We are very interested in how one lives in and interacts with the interior spaces. In a hotel, as well as a residence, you want great views and comfortable living spaces. This approach has proven to work well for us, and in turn, informs the exterior design.
6. What’s your best piece of advice for someone embarking on a remodel or new build?
Any new build or remodel takes years of planning. Researching the living patterns and functionality is very important. Consider the goal of the space and how the floorplan can best serve you. Be ahead of the design needle and trends.
7. Did you run into any big challenges during this project? How did you pivot?
The location of this project is outstanding, and the lot is an interesting crescent shape. Powers Brown Architecture really needed to get creative on how to design a functional yet beautiful building that accommodated a hotel, restaurant on the Riverwalk and residences in the highest and best possible use.
The building is long linear, so there is not a central core. We were able to have two elevator shafts – one for hotel and another for condo only. The condos also have a private lobby on St. Mary & Lexington which was very important. The hotel is primarily on Riverwalk side.
Construction and residential sales during the pandemic has been a challenge faced by many. We experienced some material delays due to shipping issues. We quickly implemented safety procedures to regulate the number of construction workers throughout the site to keep them safe. When the model residences were completed, we were unable to host a big event for the grand opening. Instead, we hosted a virtual unveiling in the prime of COVID which was still very successful.
8. What’s the biggest trend you’re currently seeing in the kitchen space with your clients? What about in the overall home?
Striking the perfect balance of smart technology and spatial functionality are key priorities for homeowners today. As we move toward more regular at-home dining, the demand for high efficiency and smart appliances, ample counter, storage and dining spaces has grown significantly.
9. What was the most interesting part about this project? Is there anything else you’d like to share or add?
The Arts Residences at Thompson Hotel is the first of its kind to enter the San Antonio market. Because of this, we wanted to make a splash in every aspect of this project – from choosing the most high-end interior finishes to making our mark on the San Antonio skyline. From a residential perspective, the access to hotel amenities and 24/7 services is a major market differentiator that has pushed our project to the forefront of demand.