Monday, July 27, 2009

Everyday Life: J "Bee" G

I currently live in one of the apartment complexes at Mark Center owned and managed by JBG. When I first moved in, the staff was comprised mostly of holdovers from Winkler and were pleasant, helpful and appreciative of your business. By this time last year, most of them had exited, to be replaced by primarily indifferent part timers with attitude, at best polite but inept, and higher ups that view residents solely as rent checks and are only interested in the bottom line. When I had trouble with a very noisy neighbor who held "rock concerts" daily, noon to midnight, I was flatly and fairly quickly told, from the "portfolio manager" to the on-site management, that nothing was going to be done about it, lease infraction be dammed. The situation finally ended after frequent and repeated visits from the Alexandria Police Department, who courtesy of taxpayer money, did JBG's job.
Fast forward a year, and Washington Gas, for some reason, is moving the meters in the complex. As they were working on my building, their contractors found a beehive in the utility closet of the unit directly below mine. They called their supervisor to contact management; I also called the rental office and was told that the head of maintenance and an exterminator would be notified. Shortly thereafter, displaced yellow jackets started entering my apartment through my closed and locked sliding door - en masse. For two days. It was only after I telephoned the City offices that deal with both Landlord/Tenant issues and Code Enforcement (the latter sent an inspector over in roughly an hour), that JBG became "interested" in dealing with the infestation. When the exterminator finally showed up, at my persistence and insistence, it was clear that he had never been contacted after the initial discovery since he was totally unaware of the origins of the problem. Again, City intervention was necessary to get JBG to do its job.
All of this illustrates several serious points that Alexandria should consider as it proceeds with the Mark Center redevelopment. My experience alone tells me that JBG is not going to be a good corporate citizen and will be a drain on the City's manpower. How the company treats its tenants is indicative of how it is going to deal with YOU once the ink is dry on your commitment to your part of the project. Just what is going to happen to the now stable ecology once the trees and buildings in the current bucolic setting are knocked down? Look at what happened with one disturbed bees' nest! Go, green, Alexandria ... on either side of most of Beauregard, you already are.
My understanding is that this project is to commence in October beginning at the Shops at Mark Center, postponed from the early 2009 planned demolition of an apartment complex off Sanger. I strongly urge the City to take a serious look at who you are getting into the un-flower bed with. There is a good reason why tenants are leaving in droves. JBG. Just Be Gone. "Bee"-fore it's too late.

Karen Ann DeLuca

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