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Black Sand Apartments

4911 North 32nd Street

Lincoln, NE 68504

 
 
 
 
 
 

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Resident · 2007 - 2008
Rating Breakdown
Noise
Maintenance
Neighborhood
Safety
Grounds
Office Staff
09/21/2008
I lived at Black Sands from August 1, 2007 through July 31, 2008. Now that I have moved to a different apartment complex I've realized just how nice Black Sands is and regret that I moved out. I rented what they call a "Traditional One Bedroom" (just a fancy way of saying a 1 bedroom apartment which was in the middle of the building & not an end unit with any extra windows) on the 2nd floor. My rent was $550 & a nice feature of living at Black Sands is the rent rate you're quoted when you move in will remain the same for five years, so there's no worrying if you'll be able to stay in your apartment a year from now due to increasing rent rates (at least until you've reached the end of your fifth year of living there). I was the first person to live in my particular unit. My apartment building was on the western perimeter of the property abutting against Hy-Vee & Bed, Bath, & Beyond. As with anything in life this apartment complex presented both positives & negatives aspects. Black Sands paid for the gas used to heat your apartment, water, & for cooking in your gas range/oven. There was no limit on how warm you wanted your apartment during the winter & you could take the longest hot shower imaginable without worrying about paying the consequence. The only utility you had to pay for was electricity & this was for the W/D & lights. Even with paying for the electricity to operate the W/D, my monthly electricity bill averaged a little under $23/month for the year. The most I ever paid for electricity was $37.75 for Aug. 2007. However, this was the first month I lived there & I washed all of my clothes(& and I have a ton!) after moving in, & on top of that it was the hotest Aug. in Lincoln's history forcing me to run the A/C for the entire month! Still, I didn't think this was bad. The thermostat WAS NOT very accurate at all & if you are energy & money conscience (as I am) when running the A/C, I would suggest getting a digital room thermometer which can be purchased for about $10 at the Wal-Mart next door & hang it in a central location. The appliance situation was both a positive & a negative. All of the appliances are Whirlpool, but they're the most basic level of Whirlpool appliances available. One of the main reasons I selected these apartments was because they have full-sized washer & dryers (not those minature stackable washers & dryers where you can only fit half a load of laundry at a time & these are bigger than the supposedly full-sized coin-op W/D at my current apartment complex). It would have been nice for the W/D to be in their own separate room instead of in a closet behind metal bifold doors which I felt amplified the noise. However, this can be easily solved by setting the washer to run while you're gone at work or school. The dryer DID NOT have a buzzer to let you know when the clothes were dry, so if you're using the automatic temperature sensing setting (this uses the least electricity because it ends the cycle when the dryer detects the clothes are dry), you need to pay close attention to hear when the dryer stops. Otherwise, you can set it for a timed dry & set your own timer. This might use more electricty, but you won't have to worry about the cycle ending without your knowing causing the clothes to become wrinkled from sitting on top of each other. The oven had EXTREMELY basic features as I've discovered comparing it to the features on my oven in my current apartment, but it cooks just like any other oven. The thermostat for the oven WAS NOT very acurate, but this problem can be easily solved by buying an oven thermometer from the Wal-Mart next door. The oven is SO basic it didn't even have a timer, but again this can be easily solved by using your own timer. The dishwasher uses the space effectively & was decently quiet. You could easily fit tall glass, e.g. martini glasses on the top rack without having to worry about the stems & bases clearing. If you're trying to watch TV while the dishwasher is running you'll really have to turn up the volume. However, this can be just as easily solved as the W/D noise problem by setting the dishwasher to run its cylce while you're at school or work. The refrigerator was a good sized refrigerator for an aprtment & is bigger than the refrigerator in my current apartment. Its a basic refrigerator so there isn't an icemaker in the freezer, but again this can be solved with another trip to your local Wal-Mart for some ice cube trays. To obtain cable TV you had two choices, get cable through a company owned by Black Sand's parent company or get Dish Network. Either way, Time Warner is not an option which has apparently upset a lot of the other reviewers. As a poor college student, I couldn't afford either option nor had the time to watch any more TV beyond what was available locally. However,the apartment complex has a great oudoor antenna which you can hookup up to easily from your apartment through the regular antenae/cable jack. This is exactly what I did & I was able to receive the following stations with great picture & audio quality: Ch. 6 (NBC affilite in Omaha), Ch. 8 (ABC affiliate in Lincoln), Ch.10/11 (CBS affiliate for both Lincoln & Grand Island), Ch. 12 (Nebraska Public TV affiliate in Lincoln), Ch. 15 (WB/CW affiliate in Omaha), and Ch. 42 (FOX affiliate in Omaha). Again, Time Warner was not an available internet provider at Black Sands. Your two options were getting DSL via your phone jack through Windstream or cable internet directly through Black Sands. Windstream has an option called Greenstreak which is ideal for people who don't want a home phone & use their cell phone as their only phone (such as myself & nearly every other college student I know). I think this costs about $30 & you receive free incomming telephone calls (great for when you're at home & you've nearly used all of your minutes you can have the other person call you back at home). I never used this service, but I think you still have to pay additonal fees & charges beyond the $30 just as you do with regular landline telephone service. I selected the basic cable internet Black Sands had available directly through them which at the time cost $29 with no additional fee. The fee for the internet could be added to your monthly rent so you only had a single check to write. I was very satisfied with the quality & speed of the internet & would highly recommend getting it to anyone living in Black Sands. I didn't have a garage, so I CANNOT comment on this subject or the other reviewer's thoughts. Like some of the other reviewers stated, the first manager was extremely unprofessional, uncommunicative, & unresponsive. This is exactly how he treated my attempts to contact him with questions regarding the move in process. Fortunately, he was replaced by a new manager around October or November of 2007. It could be said this manager fits a certain sterotype & has a definite attitude. None-the-less, she does her job & luckily most of my interactions I had were with the leasing consultants who were always friendly & attentive. In fact, one of the leasing consultants by the name of Katrina always went out of her way to be courteous & helpful & knew nearly everyone by their first name. The lack of weekend office hours was annoying, but at least to make things better the office was open until 6:00 PM weekdays. The grounds were well maintained & the maintaince staff can almost always be seen somewhere on the grounds on a daily basis, regarless of the weather conditions. My maintaince requests were always responded to quickly. One major feature these apartments boasted was a massive amount of closet & storage space. Each apartment had a private enclosed storage unit located off of the balcony/patio. Inside, the the kitchen had more cabinet & counter space than I knew what to do with. The closet had a built-in closet organizing system with racks for shoes, sweaters, even ties & belts! As an indiviudal with ADD & also as a college student who requires a quiet place to study, I didn't always find the noise levels to be conducive to studying at home in my apartment. Its hard to describe, but some parts of the apartment were quiet while others felt paper thin. Typically I couldn't here any noise from my neighbors when I was in the living room except for when one of the neighbors who must have thought they were Eric Clapton would play their guitar (which by the way it is in the lease you're not allowed to play any musical instruments). In the kitchen, I would sometimes hear my neighbor's microwave going off. I think the floorplans are the same for every level, therefore creating a column or shaft of where all the W/D are located. This caused you to be able to hear when either the person above or below you was doing their laundry, but not too terribly bad. The worse noise issues were in the bedroom. Even with the closet between my bedroom and the adjacent apartment's bedroom, I could tell on Sundays my neighbor was an avid NASCAR fan & I could hear the roar of the TV. The bedroom was also next to the stairwell, so you could hear the main door slam shut every time somebody came through it. Due to the apartment's design, the stairwell created a vacuum chamber causing the door to your own apartment to shake whenever someone passed through the main door. For some reason, the steps in the stairwell were made of cement, so whenever someone was walking up/down the steps it sounded more like a horse than a human being. The worse aspect of the noise problem is the outdoor A/C units are located just outside the bedroom windows, so you pretty much had to close the windows & turn the air on even if you didn't really need it, during most of the summer because somebody else maybe using their A/C. The ventilation duct to my bedroom also made a wierd vibrating sound only when the heat/air would first come through during each cycle, but I assume this happened in my apartment only & it wasn't enough to bother me or wake me up. If you decide to move to Black Sands DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT lease a unit where the bedroom faces the west side of the property behind Hy-Vee & Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Besides the other noise isues I already described related to the apartment itself, I had to deal with hearing the public announcements from both of these stores, the noise from the trash trucks backing up to get the trash from these stores (sometimes early in the morning or late at night), & there were refrigerated trucks often parked behind Hy-Vee which made a ton of noise when their refrigeration units were running. Another reason for not wanting an apartment with a bedroom which faces the west is it will be VERY hot & bright. This was annoying for two reasons. The first reason is there is only one ventilation duct into the bedroom & since the apartments were undeniably cheaply built, it was located in the wall furthest from the window & it didn't blow the air very far into the bedroom. This created a situation where it would be cool & comfortable in the living room/dining room/kitchen portion of the aparment, but incredibly uncomfortable in the bedroom. Secondly, since there wasn't anything outside blocking the light from shining into the bedroom you couldn't really sleep in on the weekends. In either event, installing light blocking shades & maybe even some dark colored, heavy drapes would prevent this problem. As I said before, these apartments were built cheaply & I was the first person to live my specific unit. When I attempted to wash the walls the paint literally wiped off. When I informed the office staff of this issue they referred me to the maintainance staff who informed me the apartments were initially painted with only a primer & when someone moves out it is protocol to paint the apartment anyhow, but it is at that time they use actual paint. Therefore, this shouldn't be an issue, in theory, if you're not the first tenant in the unit. However, if you are the first tenant in your specific unit, the best piece of advice I can give is to use the utmost caution in attempting to avoid marking the walls & if you do, just leave it alone. The carpeting was a nice neutral beige color, but in terms of quality it is the worse carpet I have ever seen. Even after a year of living in the apartment, I would suck up enough fragments of carpet fibers to fill the collection container on my Dyson half-way full (& this was always starting with an empty container). Furthermore, when you walked on the carpet you could feel screwheads (or what I thought were screwheads) from the floorboards poking through the carpet into the soles of your feet when walking bare-footed. This wasn't an issue when wearing slippers during the winter, but who honestly wants to wear slippers during the summer? Whatever it was poking through the carpet, seemed to disappear with time & if it was screwheads I would have suspected they would have popped through the linoleum in the bathroom & kitchen, as well. Therefore, I wonder if it wasn't debris that was still on the floor from the construction & they were too lazy to sweep it up & carpeted over it. Despite the shoddy construction & with an apartment which had windows facing the west, the windows never squealed or howled when the wind blew hard. The only recreational amenities Black Sands provided was a swimming pool. I never took advatage of using the pool, so I can't comment on it. A fitness center would have been nice, but it probably would have meant higher rent prices. Some of the reviewers have said they didn't like how Black Sands didn't have secured access entry. Now that I live in a building with secured access entry, I've realized how much of a convenience it is to NOT have it. If you think about it, what's going to stop a robber from comming right up to your front door in a house. Furthermore, many people are considerate and hold the doors open for people going into an apartment with secured access entry & most people don't know if they really live there or not. To me, secured access entrys are just a safety blanket & create an annoyance when carrying large or heavy loads into your apartment. In summary, nothing in life is perfect, nor is any apartment perfect for that matter. Living at Black Sands had many benefits & there were disadvantages, too. In general the disadvantages can be easily solved & you can't beat the price & value for what you get. As I said in the title, "I wish I still lived here".
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