We are considering Grandmarc for our daughter but have read some reviews here and elsewhere that make me think it may not be the best place - expensive, poorly managed, shoddy construction, loud, possibly unsafe and more than the usual amount of parties and drinking. Not to mention the beginning of a meth lab that was found there last year.
However, UVA had a representative from Grandmarc at Orientation, so I am assuming the school thinks it is ok.
Does anyone have any advice? I would really appreciate it!
I know GM first hand, and it has its pros and cons. The building changed management end of last February and things have REALLY changed for the better. The main managing lady is really on top of her game and will address any issues, small or large. Before she took over, the place was really starting to become not worth the rent. However, now, if I have any sort of concern, such as loud neighbors, something's broken, or just general community question, she'll promptly email/call me back and take care of it.
As far as physical aspects go, yes, the place had some up-keeping needs last winter. The building started settling in the foundation (not unheard of, especially in the clay/bedrock region c'ville is in) and GM promptly shut down that area of the building an elevator and began a month long repair. That issue is completely taken care of, building inspections passed with the city/county, and it looks great. They've also coated the concrete stairwells with some type of rubbery finish, so that they can go through and powerwash when needed without ruining the stairs. Everything is painted, if things are broken, they're replaced within 24 hours (in apts or hallways). There is also a more reliable security team. However, other students who don't live there tend to trash the place, which is unfortunate (heard one guy in a stairwell go "GM people pay enough to live in the nice place, it's not fair, so i'm going to trash it"), but they're very quick to fix/clean up stuff.
As far as the apts go, I find them nice and appealing. They can provide all needed furniture for 25$ a month, which is a steal. Maintenance is easy to reach, and if you're ever locked out/have an emergency, there's a help desk line 24/7. The location is superb too, right behind the corner. People complain about the trains, but I literally live one apt over from the tracks, and one the same level as the tracks, and they don't bother me at all. If you get a pool/courtyard view room, or room on the front of the building, you'll never even know the tracks exist.
As for the meth lab: this could've happened anywhere. So much illegal stuff goes on in so many buildings, it's ridiculous. It is college and a small city. As for the meth lab, it does suck. But the apt complex has only so much leeway when it comes to entering and searching apts. It could've happened anywhere. The way the situation was handled was very professional, and I never really felt unsafe there.
As far as safety go, there's a key-locked entrance, a gated garage, and lights everywhere, not to mention the security guards. Never once have I felt unsafe, but again, it's college, you need to look out for yourself.
Anyways, I know many people who have lived here since it opened, and are now going on their third year of residency. I'm about to begin my second year of leasing. Many people like it and stay. I've compared my 4-bdrm price with other 4-bdrms in the area, and with parking, rent, furnished, and the fact that I only pay for electricity, it's a pretty darn good deal. Throw in the accommodations (pool, 24/7 gym, free wi-fi, free internet, free cable with HBO, small movie theater, free printing, and the various events from pool parties to waffle breakfasts) and it is a REALLY sweet deal. I have many friends that once they add in electricity/water/sewer/internet/cable/parking and rent, they surpass my costs. And GM's location is AWESOME.
Hi shoebox10! Thank you so much for your reply to my nervous posting. I really appreciate your taking the time to provide so much detail about your experience there. I am very relieved to read that things are better and new management is much more responsive to your needs. Sounds great!
All the best to you in the upcoming school year.
They provide couch/two chairs/coffee table/TV stand/side tables in the common room, four barstools in the kitchen, and then bed/mattress/desk/dresser in the rooms. Oh and all blinds are in there.
Ask for the desk, it's just a basic desk...no drawers or storage unit on top. What I did was brought a desk from home, put a hutch on it, and use that as my primary desk. The other desk is being used as a TV stand. If you're in a four bdrm apt, PM me your email ID and I'll dig up the dimensions I have for my bedroom
I'm living in GM for Summer School and have signed a contract for next year too. I'm very happy; I feel safe, have used the 24 hour gym, pool, BBQ facilities, printer, etc.
Yes, maybe it costs a bit but as ShoeBox says>>gotta consider different things too. I lived in an apt. last year and didn't have anywhere near the feel of safety and student bonding that I do at GM. I'm happy here so far.
I bet right now you can get it even lower though. And price is per bedroom. Call them up and see what they can do for you. I got a ridiculously low rent from them simply because I asked. Also, keep in mind, only utility is electricity. Most other places make you pay for elec/water/internet/cable/sewer/trash. Cuts about $100 off monthly cost
The "V" that is right next door to the GM is a very nice place too, and they are VERY willing to bargain with you. The people you speak to at the "V" actually own the place and take stock in it, so they really want it full. At the GM, it will depend on who you talk to, i.e.: someone just hired there to answer phones vs. someone whose personal wealth will be impacted by you renting a room.
From either apartment building one can easily see the Woodchuck that lives between these two buildings by the train tracks!! This Woodchuck has many different names! It's fun to watch the little fella'.