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Resident 2005 Not Recommended
Reviewed 10/21/2005
Parkmerced suffers from a somewhat unusual combination of circumstances that make it a bad place to live. The biggest problem is that the management does not care in the least about _preventing_ problems; they are more than happy to fix problems that do occur, but not much foresight (or perhaps too much) has gone into their operation. Exhibit A: security. They do not provide any; while they provide a "Courtesy Patrol" to ensure that the facility isn't burned to the ground, the courtesy patrol does not exist for the resident. The parking garages are a known target of Russian organized crime and auto theft gangs; there is only one camera at each entrance, and which the management will not allow you to watch even if you are the victim of a crime. The garage is locked, but you can get in a side door anytime you want by stealing a key and duplicating it. Despite that the management is aware of all the auto burglaries, they do not take any steps to increase security-- they apparently view any short-term cost as worse than a long-term cost, because they recently spent $20 million building a nice clubhouse with modern appointments and landscaping but chose to forego putting security cameras in the parking garages. Case in point: my bicycle and iPod were stolen recently by criminals who had obviously been in the garage before. The Courtesy Patrol says it happens all the time. Exhibit B: bait and switch. The model unit they show you when you tour the place has a nice wood floor and a dishwasher; very few if any of the actual units have these things. The person who shows you around and whom you pay your deposit to never returns your phone calls when you have questions, which gives you no opportunity to refuse the unit they assign you (e.g., "does our unit come with a dishwasher?") In addition, they are indifferent to your worries as an applicant about credit checks and the like; my roommate and I have excellent credit but they waited until _the day before move-in_ to let us know we were approved and they never returned our multiple calls on the subject. Exhibit C: economics. SF State students are their number one target market. Why? The students have high turnover and don't complain about rent increases as much as longtime residents because of financial aid money. In addition, students are less likely to have families, which are less profitable for Parkmerced. <br><br>What happens here with prospective residents is akin to going to a used car dealer; they spend a lot of money and effort attracting you to the place, but once you sign on, they really couldn't care less. This is partially due to the size of the complex: 3500 units, so figure about 7,000 people. The management is practically like a foreign corporation. Their facility has so much potential and the rent is pretty reasonable, but they ruin it by alienating people who sign on to live there. I now see why they had a "one month free" promotion when you sign a one year lease-- had I known about the major problems here, I would never have accepted anything but month-to-month. In Parkmerced's defense, the maintenance staff works very hard to fix things that break, and I've not had any problems with them. I realize it is difficult to administer a large apartment complex like this, but I don't feel that I've gotten what I paid for in the beginning in light of the problems management is aware of but fails to correct. Don't live here.
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