420-438 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02474
Legacy at Arlington Center
Resident • 2006 - 2012 Not Recommended
I'm disabled and needed a rental unit with an elevator and secure basement parking, and this was all I could find in Arlington but it's a stretch when the Legacy calls itself a luxury apartment complex. It does have some luxury features, such as the two bathrooms and a washer/dryer in the unit, but for a disabled person, the bathtub in the master bathroom was unusable, and the stall shower in the other bathroom was the smallest I've encountered in a modern building (it was 30 or 32 inches by 32 inches, about the smallest you can get and meet code -- too small for grab bars to be installed, I think, even though I believe state law calls for bathrooms in post-1991 buildings to be constructed in such a way that grab bars can be installed later). This building was completed no more than 10 or 12 years ago, but the kitchen counter, floor, and appliances look like they are part of a not-very-nice 1980s kitchen. The surfaces are some kind of Formica or other plasticized surface that stains easily and never looks good, and there's a gap of about 1/3 to 1/2 inch between the edge of the counter and the stove (big enough for spoons to fall through, small enough that you can't retrieve them). The kitchen cabinets may look like painted wood at a distance, but they are actually particle board covered by white plastic film. The floors are some kind of linoleum that also seems easy to damage and doesn't look vey good. The kitchen does have a stainless steel sink, microwave, garbage disposal, and dishwasher, but there is no no ice maker in the refrigerator. What was most bothersome to me in my time at the Legacy was the inadequate air conditioning. It's good that the heating and air conditioning system is zoned, because most of the time I could save money by leaving off the air conditioning in the living/dining area (the vent for it was near the windows, far from the area I actually used, so it had to be turned way up to have any effect at all, while the bedrooms were smaller and the AC worked a bit better for that zone). Worst of all, air conditioning is only available from about mid April to mid October; the rest of the time the system can produce only heat. This may not be as much of a problem in the few apartments with cross ventilation, but it can be a major issue in an apartment that has all the windows along one wall, especially if those windows face south or west -- this is New England, where it can get quite hot in late October through early April. (And the lease forbids tenants from installing window air conditioners.) Parking costs extra, and there are only two guest parking places, almost always full, though by advance arrangement one can get a guest parking permit for $5/day. (The nearby on-street parking spaces mostly have one-hour or two-hour limits.) The building has good features -- Dave Crowley, the super, is very helpful, as is Tina Johnson in the front office. But decisions made by those higher up seem to reflect an aim at keeping things cheap in a way that feels unpleasant. There's what looks like a nice guest reception area at the entrance, but in recent years no one gathers there, maybe partly because there's no restroom available (there is one in the office area, I think, but that's only when the office is open). There are restrooms in the fitness area, but that's on the garage level, a long way from the entrance; because those restrooms are not very well maintained, the toilet paper often runs out (sometimes one extra roll of toilet paper is left in the rest room, but almost never more than one extra, which often is not enough -- in this so-called luxury complex, you would think they could afford to leave two or three extra rolls of toilet paper routinely in a restroom that can't be reached except by tenants with key fobs; are they expecting that people paying $2000 or so per month are going to steal toilet paper?). The building is mostly quiet, but one year I had a heavy-footed upstairs neighbor who would noisily tromp around in the middle of the night. The main noise problem for the apartment I had was the dumpster for the Shanghai Village under my window, which was routinely emptied Monday and Friday mornings by a huge truck that beeped noisily as it backed into position, and then caught hold of the dumpster with some kind of automated device that noisily dropped the dumpster's contents into the truck. If I was lucky this happened between 8 and 10 am, but many times it was as early as 5:30 to 6:00 am. The noise from this probably affects all the apartments that have the ugly view of the Shanghai Village parking lot, but especially the apartments directly over the dumpster. For those who don't care about having a really nice kitchen or having air conditioning in the off season, this can be a good place to live IF you wait for an apartment with a nice view to be available (or move into one of the units with a wretched view and keep most stuff in boxes until an apartment with a good view becomes available).
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