Nearby condo replacing noisy steel carport roof with … noisy steel carports roof

Maintenance doesn’t necessarily mean repairing something back to its original condition.  If it did, we’d all still be using outhouses. And while we’re pretty good at changing interior spaces to suit our living needs, often exteriors are left out.

Here’s an example.  In my building, probably 80 percent of our balconies are (unfortunately) enclosed and will likely (unfortunately) remain that way.  Outside those enclosures are the original railings which give owners a nice prison-bar view from the waist down.  Not very enticing.

When it came time to repaint and repair the exterior of the building, railing repair was part of the drill.  My question was why couldn’t we ask the city if the railings on those completely enclosed balconies couldn’t just be removed.  They served no useful purpose, were unattractive and ultimately cost money to maintain.

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In my recent Dallas High-Rise Buyer’s Guide series, I noted that there are a lot of buildings too close to highways for comfort.  If I added in all the recent highway-adjacent apartments, none of us would be separated by the requisite six degrees from someone who has a noise problem.  What can you do?

Technology

High-tech and smart folks are of more use than making battery-operated gadgets that fit on your pocket.  Turns out there’s a whole science to minimizing road noise intrusion not only inside our homes, but shaving a few decibels when we’re outside. The place to start is the Acoustical Society of America, which was founded in 1928 by some smart folks at Bell Laboratories (yes, the phone people).  By the time of their first meeting in 1929, there were 450 members. By 1931 they’d joined with three other groups to form the American Institute of Physics.  Don’t let the “American” fool you — this is an international body that develops and sets standards in a variety of sound-related disciplines from musical acoustics to architecture.  Nifty, eh?

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Unassuming entry opens to another world, trust me …

The area south of Lovers Lane and east of Greenville Avenue is on fire.  Of course anyone looking for a reasonably-priced condo already knows that. The area was built-up in the 1960s with acres of apartments, many of which over time converted to condos.  Those remaining apartments are being mowed down for new condo and townhouse developments costing a heck of a lot more than the original condos of the area.

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Security 1 SM

Two subjects are sure to get any HOA meeting roiling — money and security.  If there’s a special assessment or dues increase, the next HOA meeting will be attended as if Elvis would be in the building. Similarly, security topics will set the assembled on high-murmur even long after the meeting is done.

Cash and fear … all that’s missing is a little sex.

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When buyers select a single-family home, one of their criteria is of course, price, but there are other measurements of a successful home.  Yes, to an extent, location is dictated by costs, but the personality of a neighborhood isn’t.

There are blocks that regularly socialize and those where anonymity is expected.  A lot of single-family buyers’ criteria revolves around children … schools, playmates, etc., but never having been in that bubble, I’ll not comment on its subtleties except to acknowledge its existence. For the vast majority of buyers in the condo world, children are either gone, not arrived, or never will.

But once you decide to live in a communal environment, where your only “fence” is your front door, “neighborhood” becomes more nuanced. Because not only is neighborhood the area surrounding the building, it’s the area inside the building.  Let’s take a look at three condos, each with around 1,150 square feet, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms … and all steps from the Katy Trail.

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67739371-10

You might expect to pay a cover fee to attend an open house at a property of this caliber. The art alone is worthy of exhibit. And together with  perfectly selected fixtures and finishes, 1717 Arts Plaza, unit 2208 strikes a masterful balance between the warmth of home and the aloofness of a gallery. The combination is purposeful and stunning.

“It’s very livable, though still museum-like,” said Realtor David Griffin. “It’s just very thoughtfully designed.”

With museum-smooth walls and impressive 11-foot ceilings, the design intent of this space is clear: art lives here. “The owner of this unit is an art collector,” said Griffin. “I think the floor plan, finish-out, and amenities of this particular home are perfect for those with artistic interests. It’s perfectly set for that purpose.”

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Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Hiring outside professionals to assess the systems and structure of a condominium is often scoffed at by HOAs because of the expense.  It’s as shortsighted as complaining about the cost of toothpaste. Condominiums are larger and definitely more complex than single-family homes. It’s negligent not to have plans in place that understand the current condition of the overall building coupled with a plan for regular maintenance that stretches out as far as the longest-lived components.

It’s also critical that reserve studies are performed by outsiders.  HOAs and management companies may either lack the expertise required or want to soft-pedal the truth to avoid uncomfortable conversations with residents.  We are generally “shoot the messenger” kind of people.

Another reason for using an outsider can be managing companies that also have their own staff contracted to perform repairs.  If they’re the ones doing the capital reserve studies, isn’t that a whopping conflict of interest? Didn’t Fair Park teach us that competitive bidding is best?

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Edgemere on the Parkway 1

Just last month we reported on a lawsuit involving Preston Tower and now it’s been uncovered that another Pink Wall condominium is reeling from at least three lawsuits filed by recent buyers against their HOA, the prior owners, and managing agent Intercity Investments (also named in the Preston Tower suit and a third that was settled out of court also in Pink Wall turf).  Edgemere on the Parkway is located at the corner of Northwest Highway and Edgemere Road. It comprises two 10-unit buildings at 8505 and 8511 Edgemere that were built in 2004, making it 13 years old.

All three plaintiffs (Bartlett Family Trust, Lawrence and Brenda Weprin, and Syann Singleton) make essentially the same claims.  Each purchased their units in 2014-2015 and almost immediately began experiencing frequent ceiling and window leaks that stained walls and ceilings.  In addition, raw sewage was backing up into at least one of the second flood units.

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