Resident • 2004 - 2005 Recommended
My husband and I love it here, except for a few things we've gotten tired of over time. We moved in when they were still under construction and forfeited a deposit at another complex to do it. I'll start with the actual apartments:<br><br>PRO:<br>We reeeeally love the apartment itself. LOVE the fact that they did not scrimp with the tile and granite. There is granite in both bathrooms and the kitchen, of course, and tile in the bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen. We LOVE the high ceilings and the 8 ft doors, as well as the "exposed" AC ducts. The floor is like a wood laminate (or not even, actually - I think it's that Wilsonart) - VERY low maintenance and it looks good. Everything works great, with the exception of stretches of funky water pressure in one of our sinks (the master has two sinks). GREAT storage space witht he two walk in closets - we were able to vacate our rented storage unit. In my opinion, the floor plan is very well designed - we have been in the (name floorplan later) and found it to be an efficient use of space with generous living areas. I will definitely miss our apartment unit a LOT. It was very hard to get ourselves to put in our notice (in spite of many many practical reasons to leave...and get a house closer into town). <br><br>PRO:<br>We like the neighborhood a lot - feel much safer here than in Midtown or even Montrose. Augusta is a nice street to be on, for the most part - it feels very residential and cozy, but it's easy access to 59 or 610. There are fewer weirdos walking around here, but saturday nights crazy people race down Augusta at 90 mph, which is scary when you're out walking. There have been a couple of occasions where cars have gotten their wheels stolen in the garage (most apts. have that problem, I guess). I like the little street in front of the complex too - feels tucked away and hidden from the traffic and sketch of strippy Westheimer. Augusta does have a fair number of sirened vehicles travling it, however - but it's not too frequent.<br><br>PRO: <br>The BEST SUSHI in Houston - GINZA - is just up the street on San Felipe (between Augusta and Fountainview) - we have made friends with Marvin, the owner, over the years of living in this area and IMO that sushi cannot be beat (but I suppose I'll save that for another review). Also, Chacho's is a 10 minute walk, so you can have your two jumbo margaritas and stumble home (just don't stumble home along westheimer - take the back route up Potomac to Burgoyne - much nicer to walk by $400K townhomes than crackheads hanging out in strip mall parking lots). <br><br>PRO: <br>The breezeways and hallways are wonderfully designed - we LOVE the open architechture, the ceiling fans, and the good lighting. I feel VERY SAFE as a female walking around the complex itself at 3am, which I have done. (The garage is also well-lit, although poorly designed to accomodate Texans' taste for gargantuan city vehicles). <br><br>PRO: <br>The assigned parking is a plus. You know who you're parking next to, and often see them, so it adds a little friendliness to an otherwise insular and frigid community, IMO. Also, it minimizes the chance that your car will accidentally be dinged by a non-resident in a huge SUV, for example - kind of an I-know-where-you-live deterrent.<br><br>PRO:<br>Maintenance has been timely and efficient. Actually, we have only called maintenance two or three times in 18 months, for our water pressure and to replace bulbs in the track lighting. <br><br>CON:<br>The management HAD BEEN nice, professional and helpful, for the most part (note the use of the past perfect tense). Not much interaction with them, although they will allow you to use their fax since the "busniess center" fax is often out of order. However, in the 18 months we've lived here, there has definitely been a DECLINE in the quality of service provided. For example, if you ever try to call their number during the day, it rolls straight to voicemail. I redialed every 15 minutes one day - except for my lunch break - because i had an urgent question regarding my move-out date and was not going to be able to go to the office in person that day. It rolled straight to voice mail the entire time. When confronted with this as an inconvenience, instead of apologizing they make excuses, such as "Have you seen our office lately? We're really short staffed" or "we're so busy we have to turn it to voice mail" but never an acknowledgement that this is doing a disservice to their residents, who pay alot to live there. <br><br>CON (continued from above):<br>Another issue I have with the attitude of the leasing office is that they are long on corporate baloney and short on personal empathy. Although they have their scripts memorized, they have trouble thinking outside the box. As another poster said, one or two are competent, most are not. I HIGHLY recommend if you have specific issues you need answers too that you talk to the manager - I have heard two of the regular office staff reel off BS with such confidence it's disturbing. From a previous conversation with their Manager, I KNEW that they were spewing bogus information, but rather than admit any doubt and say "Oh she said that, let me get back it you" it was a lot of fast-talking, lease-quoting, bogus BS. Ultimately I just went to the manager again, who confirmed what she had previously said (proving her two employees wrong in the process). There has been lot of turnover in the office, so it's difficult to get to know any of the office personnel and, in turn, they have very little vested in you or the "gables community", it seems.<br><br>CON:<br>The answering service is ATROCIOUS!!! Gables, GET A NEW ANSWERING SERVICE! They have got to be the bottom of the barrel in terms of answering services - you can tell they are cutting corners there - I'm just surprised they haven't outsourced it to Jamaica. Although foreign answering services would stick like glue to their script, at least they wouldn't cop the attitude that these people do. Maybe they hire prisoners to answer the phones, because seriously no matter what you call about or how sweet you are, they get defensive, petulant and outright aggressive if you push them for an answer outside their script. Unfortunately, the answering service has been the only way to get in touch with the Gables office lately (and that's during business hours!). <br><br>CON: <br>The parking garage was horribly designed, as another poster mentioned. It is WAY too narrow for two cars to pass one another safely, let alone two gigantic SUVs, especially around the corners. I often flash my high-beams as I'm approaching a corner because it is so easy to get into near-head-on collisions. It is very frsutrating. As another poster said, the layout of the stairs and elevators is annoying if you want to walk out of your apartment as opposed to drive out. The stairwells are well-lit, but incredibly grungy. There are two elevators on either side of the parking garage (which, itself, is in the middle of the apartment complex) - it would have been INFINITELY better to have the two elevators further apart, on either ends of the complex, for example. But that is obviously not going to change, and overall it's minor. <br><br>CON: <br>For a luxury apartment, the fitness center could certainly be bigger. The ceilings are the lowest you will find in the whole complex, and the machines are very cramped. There is no remote for the two TV's. If you go during "rush hour" - ie. after work for most people - good luck getting any type of machine. You might be able to snag a barbell or bide your time on the stretching apparatus, but it is frustrating. I gave up trying to get a treadmill or eliptical machine and (started running outside instead) - now I don't use the weight room at all (but I have explored at length the nice, cozy Briargrove subdivision a few streets over - great place to walk or run with your dog, even if it is a small subdivision). <br><br>OK, that about wraps up my review. I feel qualified to write at length because we have lived here for 18 months and have seen it in it's various stages. Overall, the units are some of the nicest out there (although I would NOT pay the nearly $2000 that our unit is now going for, but that's just me). For what we pay, it has been a wonderful place to live. The units themselves are what Gables Augusta has going for it. There are community events which are nice if you like to participate in that sort of thing - cooking classes where you get essentially free appetizers, breakfast a couple times a month, and other activities. Unfortunately, while the so-called "CARES Team" (residents who work with the office to plan many of these events) are nice people and work hard, the management itself just smacks of corporate hollowness. I don't get a great sense of community here, but maybe the type of people drawn to a luxury apartment complex are not into "community". Community was not a priority for us, however, so it is probably as communal as you want to make it.<br><br>In sum, I recommend Gables Augusta for the apartments themselves - hopefully they'll be offering some substantial bonuses with the way they have raised their prices. The management should be better for the level of luxury they are purporting to provide, so don't have high expectations there. That being said, Gables Augusta has more going for it than against it. After all, you will spend waaaaay more time in your actual apartment than in the fitness center, parking garage, or in communication with management combined. The apartments are really what Gables Augusta has going for it.
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