Ah, that fabled “urban experience” and Eco living | Street Jazz

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ah, that fabled “urban experience” and Eco living

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 11:13 AM

According to the Sunday edition of the Northwest Arkansas Times, the notion of two new five-story apartment complexes holding more than 1200 bedrooms along Fayetteville's Lafayette Street “excites many,” though in truth, the only folks in the article who seemed excited were the folks behind the project, Seth Mims and Jeremy Hudson of MC3. Who have brought us:

Eco Downtown.

Everyone else quoted seems to have guarded enthusiasm, at best.

No one went door- to-door and asked the folks in the neighborhood how they felt about the project.

Well, as Mims says, it offers those who live there the “urban experience” - something they just couldn’t get anywhere else, I suppose. You just have to pity their poor neighbors, living in those silly little houses, or folks in other apartment buildings.

Urban, meaning city or town, is is the “experience” that pretty much all what all of us in any city at any time of the day or night are having. Ah, fabled “urban experience.” I myself, siting here hunched over a keyboard sharing a chair with a cat and slurping from a large cup of coffee, am having an “urban experience.”

But it’s like this.

This urban experience is “sustainable” and “higher end,” meaning you won’t be rubbing shoulders with any riff raff.

Well, any of the 99% riff raff, at any rate.

It’s sort of like the line from Woody Allen’s Manhattan, when he hears a woman at a party tell someone that she finally had an orgasm, but her analyst told her it was the wrong kind.

Ah, well, Allen’s character replies, every time he has an orgasm it’s right on the the money, which is how most people feel about the so-called urban experience, I suspect.

Mims and Hudson, according to the NWA, are conducting a “traffic study” to see how their apartments might impact the traffic flow downtown.

Well, gee, let’s see.

Lafayette Street is sort of crappy, and the bridge? How much more traffic will be going over the bridge?

Of course, as ever, we don’t talk about the human factor, especially in the terms of the human beings who used to live there. They are what might be called “acceptable losses.”

I’m gonna pull a Mike Masterson here, and turn over the rest of my blog to someone else, a man who wrote in September about a similar sort of eco town in our midst some months ago. Okay, I’m running a blog I wrote a few months ago.

Here’s something interesting - the stuff about the pet and car deposits doesn’t seem to be on their site any more, which is why I won’t give their name.

******

Where have all the people gone? The price of living in the Garden of Eden


A few weeks ago I walked around the the parking lot of an apartment complex which has provided housing for residents of Fayetteville, well, since almost the dawn of time it might seem. Located near the University of Arkansas, it has long been the home to many folks of modest means, which also includes folks who are
on the lower end of the income level. I took note of all the construction, and the signs welcoming new residents.

Of course, this haven for many also meant that it was pretty rundown. One might also say that cockroaches were the residents, and human beings were the infestation.

Now, of course, things have changed, since they promote themselves as the “greenest apartments in Arkansas.”

And they aren’t just apartments any more - they have now evolved into “flats.” Too bad they don’t have an elevator; one can almost imagine the promotional material describing them as “lifts.” And yes, the phone number is listed in the European style, so you just know you’re living in a rarified atmosphere.

No word on whether or not maintenance workers are required to say, “Top of the mornin’ to you, guvnor,” every morning.

Rent starts at $795 a month, with a $500 deposit. Oh, they pay for utilities (for that price they had better) and basic cable.

While dogs and cats are allowed, “exotic pets” pets are not.

Does this mean that all dogs and cats have to be pure bred?

But animals are not especially eco-friendly, so we must pay a steep deposit for our friends. From the website:

$200.00 for pets less than 20 lbs per pet (small dogs and cats)

$300.00 for pets between 20 and 40 lbs per pet (medium dogs)

$400.00 for pets more than 40 lbs (large dogs)

Monthly Pet Rent: $20.00 for one pet / $35.00 for two pets

Wow. Try not paying that $20 for your canine companion, and the “Top of the mornin, guvnor!” may well change to “Where’s the money, mate?”

While you can have two cars, cuz, you know, sometimes folks do co-cohabitate - especially if they need money to pay for having a pet around - it’s an additional $20 a month for the second car. Love can be expensive.

From their website:

With our great location by the trail and within walking distance of so many destinations, we hope you’ll find you are using your car less often.

Boy, that sounds nice and socially responsible, but these are the same folks charging you $20 for the privilege of having a cat curl up with you at night.

So yeah, in theory you get two parking spaces, but you’ll get more than stern glances if you actually want to use the second one. So if you if fall in love, make ‘em sell their car before they move in - that will really be a test of true
love.

There are no indications on the website of any penalties you may incur if you have an overnight guest, and they bring their own transportation. But you just gotta know, somebody will be watching, somewhere . . .

Why do you put this stuff where it is so easy for me to find?

Mind you, this is exactly the sort of apartment design that sends some in city administrations around the world into the throes of ecstasy, I suppose one can’t blame them. We have a lot of crappy apartment buildings in the world, and human beings live in pretty awful circumstances.

I have written about the terrible conditions that some in Fayetteville find themselves living in.

But . . .

Unlike the Biblical Garden of Eden, this brand new eco-village sort of haven in our midst did not spring out of nowhere. In fact, the building is a refurbishing a an existing apartment complex, set in a modest neighborhood close to the UA.

For many years fellow citizens of Fayetteville have been living there.

How many are there now?

Past residents complained of -barely-working heating and air conditioning, and washing machines whines which ate quarters, and even a few cases of black mold.

There stories of Haz-Mat teams on the property after residents were “asked to leave” and their apartments were gutted. Others who still lived in the apartments - which were never very attractive at the best of times - found their
rents jacked up several hundred dollars a month.

Who lived there?

Fayetteville’s working poor, folks with disabilities, evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, the elderly.

These are the types of people who don’t look good on promotional literature or websites for “green” apartment (sorry, “flat” - my bad) living. But they are the sort of people that we might expect Fayetteville’s alderman to give a care about
on occasion.

“What happened to the people to used to live here?” should be a standard question before anyone goes nuts over these projects.

But it never has been, and I doubt it ever will be.

But hey, each apartment comes with high speed Internet.

*****

Quote of the Day

We tolerate differences of opinion in people who are familiar to us. But differences of opinion in people we do not know sound like heresy or plots. - Brooks Atkinson


rsdrake@cox.net

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