Problems arise at new apartment

Some residents at the Marshall have reported issues, but more staff are on the way to help.

by Anne Millerbernd

The Marshall was on its way to becoming one of Dinkytown’s two newest housing complexes when Mikala Jaderborg and her three friends signed a lease to live there.

In addition to being blocks away from the University of Minnesota campus, a TargetExpress opened at its base a month before move-in. But Jaderborg, a biomedical engineering senior, said the apartment was not what she and her roommates had expected.

Residents of the Marshall apartment have expressed concerns that range from management issues and noise complaints to the complex simply not providing residents what they say it had promised them.

Officials from the apartment’s owner and developer, Memphis-based Education Realty, say they’re aware of the arising issues. In light of the reported complications, the company said it’s working to hire additional staff, but students need to be proactive in reporting problems.

Residents voice facilities woes

The Marshall, currently the largest occupied student housing apartment in the University area, took about a year and a half to build, said Scott Barton, Education Realty’s vice president of properties and acquisitions.

While Barton said he would have preferred the complex to have gone up more quickly, Jaderborg said she thinks it seems like it was hastily constructed.

“It seems like it was built really fast and I know a lot of the properties on campus are,” she said, “but it doesn’t seem like a lot of thought was put into it.”

Residents said they’ve also noticed malfunctioning appliances like dishwashers and clothing dryers.

Biology junior Kim Nagel, who lives in the Marshall, said her dryer doesn’t stop running.

“If you turn it on and leave for the day, you’ll come home 10 hours later and it’ll be on,” she said. “I know a lot of people have problems with their dishwasher and their microwave.”

But as of last week, she hadn’t reported the problem to leasing managers.

Regional Director for Education Realty Jennifer Worsham said she wasn’t aware of any appliance issues and that residents shouldn’t keep those concerns to themselves.

But Worsham said she understands that moving more than 700 people into an apartment building would create some problems.

Most of the residents, who moved in around the week of Aug. 25 when the Marshall opened, had signed a lease without seeing the completed building — though they had the option of taking home and mulling over floor plans.

Jaderborg said the four roommates in her apartment had thought their two bedrooms would be the same sizes, since they all pay about $500 a month. But it was after signing the lease that they discovered one room was smaller than the other.

Jaderborg’s roommate, marketing senior Tamara Miljkovic, said their pre-furnished apartment didn’t come with a dining room table, adding that she’s not impressed with the “cheap” appearance of the existing furniture and amenities.

And Jaderborg said the building’s “study room” does not have a table.

Some residents say management has been turning off the hot water without warning. Nagel said that’s happened to her at least three times.

“They’ll send us an email like a day later saying, ‘Sorry about the lack of hot water; we’ll get it fixed today,’” she said. “That’s obviously an inconvenience when I go to take a shower and it’s freezing.”

Managing weekend crowds

On weeknights, one security guard watches over the Marshall’s approximately 700 residents. And one housekeeper cleans up after them.

Education Realty officials said they decided earlier this week to hire more staff after receiving feedback.

Residents say limited housekeeping has presented a particular problem. One of the most common complaints about the apartment is that parties there get out of hand and clean-up afterward is lacking.

The Marshall’s leases stipulate that no more than 10 people total can be in a unit, and on weekends three security guards monitor its three buildings, Worsham said.

Biology junior Abe Freybler shares an apartment with his girlfriend and another couple.

The first weekend he lived there, he said, a party that lasted until 4 a.m. kept him from sleeping.

He finally talked with a community assistant after multiple attempts to contact them, he said. But Freybler said he later discovered that the leasing managers didn’t know about the situation.

“It was like, ‘OK, there’s a serious communication issue because the CAs are not telling the manager what’s going on around here on weekends,’” he said.

Sometimes, residents say, parties have gone too far — like the two times since move-in that they’ve woken up to a hole in a hallway wall.

One resident, child psychology sophomore Jazlyn Gramer, said a main elevator broke after a party this past weekend.

Some developers, like Kelly Doran, who owns several complexes in the University area, outline party restrictions in their leases. He said factors like the day of the week, time of day or whether major events like homecoming are going on impact the amount of security in his complexes.

“We understand kids are in college [and] we want them to have fun,” he said, “but that doesn’t meant that that should be at the expense of their neighbors and other people in the building.”

The Marshall’s management team does its best to act quickly after an issue is reported, Warsham said. Management has already taken steps, like contracting more cleaning staff, to resolve things that residents have taken issue with.