Think “residential real estate” here in Oak Cliff, and you probably conjure up images of tree-lined streets and brick ranchers, Austin stone cottages or wood-clad prairie foursquares. Sitting on a porch in Elmwood or swinging a club in Stevens Park, it’s hard to imagine an Oak Cliff with hip urban lofts, granite-and-steel kitchens and mile-wide cityscapes.

Developer Steve Everbach of Evergreen Partners hopes to change your mind with his much-anticipated Lake Cliff Towers project, which is opening its doors this month. Two years after the start of renovation, 12-story Lake Cliff Towers is officially reborn, and early buyers have begun moving into the building’s renovated urban-loft condos.

A lofty project…

It’s hard to underestimate the appeal of this latest iteration of Oak Cliff’s tallest building, which combines a rich history and proximity to downtown Dallas with the cutting-edge convenience of modern, open-concept living and unparalleled views. It’s a residential equation that’s impossible to beat, according to Cassie Nutter, an Oak Cliff schoolteacher slated to move into one of the condos this month with her boyfriend, John Scott.

“I’ve lived in Oak Cliff for 10 years,” says Nutter. “For years, John and I would pull into the parking lot and sit and say, ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something with this building?’ It’s so beautiful. When we heard about the project, we knew right away that it was where we wanted to live. We went straight to their sales office and put down our deposit.”

The building reminds the teacher of her hometown of Denver, a city with a strong track record of historic preservation. “In Denver, there are all these great buildings that have been renovated and are still in use,” she explains. “Dallas is much more of a tear-down place, so it’s hard to find places like this.”

Much as she loves the building’s history, it was Lake Cliff Tower’s urban-loft styling — including concrete floors, exposed ceilings and ductwork, and granite-and-stainless steel kitchens — that helped seal the deal. “We’re definitely city dwellers,” she asserts. “We love the views, and the fact that we don’t have to maintain a bigger space and yard.”

…with its roots in the past

Since putting down the deposit on her 1,000-square-foot unit, Nutter has learned more about the building’s many faces. Originally opened in 1928 as the luxurious Cliff Towers Hotel, the structure was erected by the owner of the former Jefferson Hotel, located across from Union Station. The hotel had its heyday in the ’30s, when Lake Cliff was one of the nation’s largest amusement parks. Then, as traffic to the area died down, the building became a residential hotel.

During the 1950s, the structure’s basement served as the original home of popular Dallas radio station KLIF. In the 60s, the structure was converted to a nursing home and assisted-living facilities, serving as a home to Oak Cliff seniors for nearly three decades. When the nursing home ceased operation in the mid-’90s, the building remained shuttered.

Other developers looked at different plans for retooling the building, but it took Everbach to breathe new life into Lake Cliff Towers. Today, the building boasts 54 newly refurbished units, more than half of which are already under contract. The sales agent for the facility, Keith Cox of Cox + Partners, says buyers “are blown away” by the building’s views and chic sensibility.

Towering project

“When I tell potential buyers that I can show them high-end urban lofts in Oak Cliff, they’re always skeptical,” Cox laughs. “It happens every time,” he says. They walk into Lake Cliff Towers, and they can’t believe the views. Then, they take a look at the quality of the finish-out and the amenities. More often than not, they’re sold.”

All Lake Cliff Tower condos feature sleek and modern concrete floors, exposed ductwork and ceilings, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. More important for many buyers is the fact that 100 percent of the units offer views of either downtown Dallas or Lake Cliff — and many have views of both. Prices for remaining units range from $192,000 to $270,000 for one-bedroom units and $310,000 to $600,000 for two-bedroom condos.

New homeowner Nutter, who “can’t wait” to move in to her Dallas-view unit, isn’t surprised in the least by the project’s popularity. “Oak Cliff is one of Dallas’ best-kept secrets,” she asserts. “I think that’s about to change.”