I lived at the Lofts Apartments in Dunwoody, GA for ten and a half years and moved to the Flats @ Perimeter Place on March 1, 2023.  The first seven years at the attractive Lofts, now part of the Drexel Collective and located on Perimeter Lofts Circle in Dunwoody’s Perimeter East neighborhood, were delightful.

The Worthen Realty Co. provided excellent maintenance and amenities; tenants felt they were living in a resort. Work orders were acted on in thirty minutes to a day; burned out light bulbs and toilets were quickly changed or fixed, and air filters were replaced every six months.

Worthen, after building and maintaining a beautiful property, sold it to Greystar of Charleston, SC, owner of 894,000 multi-family units.  Greystar emphasized Luxury Apartments across their Drexel Collective facing while cutting back on maintenance. A semi-emergency response became the norm.

Two years ago, the Arrive apartment complex, located next door to the Lofts, blew up and injured four people.  Arrive, a few months later, was quietly purchased by Greystar who renamed it The Heights and began incorporating the new property in to the Drexel Collective.

Arrive / Heights has been closed for repairs from mid-2021 through April of 2023.  Hundreds of reports of gas leaks covering six months were ignored as Arrive apparently practiced non-maintenance. Many Arrive tenants fled next door to the Lofts and some brought bad behavior that has created a toxic atmosphere.

I recently took down the web page that described how the Perimeter East area was at risk from corporate realty groups like Greystar seeking 18% – 30% yield on investment by scrimping on maintenance.  To be fair, Perimeter East is also at risk now from selfish, noisy young tenants who disturb neighbors, dangerously race their cars, wantonly play loud music at 4 AM, and obnoxiously sit in parking lots loudly talking on their phones with the Bluetooth on.

Lofts – part of the Drexel Collective

Perimeter Center Village – A Destination Area in the Making

The Flats at Perimeter Center in Dunwoody are also marketed as a luxury apartment complex. According to their web site, the Connor Group owns luxury apartment complexes in 18 major cities and is worth $3.7 billion dollars.

The Connor Group business model is widely employed in the industry and apparently very profitable. Key question: Is the luxury apartment market shaped by the law of demand or supply?

If demand, do people really want amenities more than responsive maintenance? Do they care more about cornhole than quick service?

What if the tenant is elderly, has twelve-foot ceilings, and multiple bulbs burn out? Are they expected to get on a ladder and change them? If they fall and are injured, who is responsible? How long are they expected to stay in the dark?

If supply, then the industry is apparently creating the standard of luxury by emphasizing amenities over maintenance and claiming it is a consumer preference.

What defines or constitutes luxury apartment living?

Google says there is no definition for luxury apartment. The claim is based on a unit having high ceilings, large rooms, higher quality materials, desirable amenities, and gated and / or secured premises.

Apartmentguide.com says a luxury apartment is large and spacious and includes everything one could ever want or need. How about total maintenance?

What role does good maintenance play in the luxury apartment equation? I contend that excellent maintenance should be a major component and less maintenance should equal less luxury.

The Flats is a very nice and comfortable building and my apartment is quiet and sunny.  The amenities and location are very impressive and do give value to living here. Maintenance though is below the Worthen gold standard and I have pressed the leasing office to act at times.

The Flats varied rooftop amenities include two hot tubs, cornholes, table tennis, sitting areas with TV’s, fire pits and other nice assets.  However, the rooftop can be windy and one ponders to what degree this sizable investment is being utilized by tenants.

How long though should it take a so-called luxury apartment complex to fix a broken toilet? Thirty minutes after the work order is submitted? 24 hours? 48 hours? Three days?

The picture of the Flats pool is three years old and it is still very nice. The interior walls are currently being painted white, gray, and blue.

My faucet lost a key plastic piece they day I moved in.  Maintenance ordered it a few days later. The faucet is still spraying four weeks later.

Ashford Lane: Fast Developing Open Carry Restaurant Destination Area

The adjacent Ashford Lane restaurant courtyard area provides a village-like ambience.  The lighted entrance to the newly renovated open carry district at night is majestic and beckons strollers to enter a very improved communal space.

Flats tenants step outside their main entrance and find several small vest pocket park-like settings with benches and attractive landscaping that provides a pleasant place to stop, sit and relax.

The roundabout includes a pretty garden and is at the junction of a promenade and the entrance to Ashford Lane.

A lovely landscaped area with water feature and benches is followed by a European-style restaurant courtyard with gardens, lawns, and open carry privileges.  Couples and families play or stroll on the lawn.

Flats residents enjoy a high quality of life and have many conveniences and attractions within minutes of leaving their building.

Courtyard restaurants currently include Taco Mac, Hobnobs, Superica, Hawkers (Singaporean street food) and a new yet unnamed place that appears close to opening.  The Hall, around the corner across from the Manhattan tower, will also open shortly.

Life is pretty good until a tenant needs a broken toilet to be fixed and the repair takes three days to get done.

Current list of needed repairs submitted after moving in.

My apartment, which has many desirable luxury components, was poorly prepped; wooden floors did not look washed, the rugs appeared unvacuumed, the bathrooms were decent except for a bad shower stain in the master. Therefore, I was forced to bring in professional cleaners to get the unit up to standard.

The prepper, who did not do several repairs nor use a drop cloth or paint tape, left scattered tiny paint stains on wooden floors. A few stains were dissolved by maintenance responding to my first request to remove them.

This paint stain was located under the dining room window along with two others that lined the terrace door and bathtub in the second bathroom before removal.

This image is of stained kitchen cabinet facing / door.  It is uncleanable and worse than pictured. It is supposedly being replaced but it’s still there.

The stove top was disfigured by the previous tenant; a rough unknown texture mars the surface and it looks terrible. The burners work well enough. Maintenance is supposedly replacing it but it’s still there.

Look top right and observe the one-inch gap between stove and wall – why? A paprika spice jar fell into the space which is still there.

The washer, dryer, and dishwasher all work adequately but are older models than I had at the Lofts despite paying rent that is about one-third higher.

The ugly stain on the master bedroom bathroom shower’s front wall and head was cleaned up.

This unknown device is on the walls of both bedrooms.  Maintenance and I cannot identify them and they are still there.

Tenants are provided an app that assists them in paying rent, submitting work orders, and contacting the leasing office. If repairs happen at night, an emergency phone number is provided.

The first five times that I called the emergency number, my call went straight to voice mail. Each time I joked to my son Sasha that I was glad that I wasn’t calling a suicide prevention number.

In fairness, my master toilet overflowed on April 4, 2023 and I contacted the emergency number. The receptionist picked up on the second ring and assured me that maintenance would fix it in the morning.  At 9:30 AM the next day, the maintenance man knocked on my door with a snake to unclog it.

I consider this episode to be maintenance at its best. The key question is this the norm or an exception? We shall see.

I have tried to show luxury apartment living at its best in the Perimeter Center Place area, and inform future renters that maintenance is important for safety, happiness, and real luxury apartment life.

This is a continuing report.  Stay tuned for occasional updates.