Residents of downtowns's largest apartment complex are demanding compensation from their landlord, Prometheus Real Estate Group, after enduring the noise of a months-long construction project.
Park Place South resident Guy Kulman has gone as far as to post videos on his blog to illustrate exactly how he's suffered from the work to repair water damage to the apartments. Kulman, who works at home every day, appears tormented by noise in his videos, including the ear-piercing fire alarms that ago off after confusing construction dust with smoke.
Rod Standard, vice president of property management for Prometheus, said construction dust set the alarms off at first, but managers later found a resident pulling the fire alarm and referred the matter to police.
"This is absolutely a horrible place to live," Kulman says to a manager in one video. "Would you live here and not be compensated to endure this crap? I don't think so. I just called the Hearing Loss Association of America and we're going to have a conversation."
In other videos, Kulman opens his door to the sounds of high-pitched electric saws and hammers right outside his door. He complains about the smell of port-a-potties emanating from the parking garages below the apartments. Construction workers walk around in hard hats right outside his door. Kulman wonders if he shouldn't have on of his own, along with a dust mask.
Prometheus also owns the massive Americana apartment complex behind Camino Medical Group, where numerous tenants protested roof work in 2007 that showered home interiors with asbestos dust. At least one tenant was awarded damages in small claims court.
"Our chief complaint is that the management did not disclose the extent of the renovation yet continues to refuse to lower the rent to compensate for all the problems it causes," said Park Place resident Rob Smith in an e-mail.
"In my mind, they leased us a BMW, and then gave us a Pinto," Kulman wrote in an e-mail. "At the very least, we should at most pay for the Pinto."
Kulman said he wanted a 30-percent reduction in rent or to have Prometheus pay his moving expenses.
Standard said Prometheus was willing to sit down with residents like Kulman to talk about compensation but would not go into specifics beyond helping people out of their leases and buying lunch or a movie. He added that facilities were set up at Park Place North where residents like Kulman could "work and relax" and avoid the daytime noise.
Despite the complaints, three large moving trucks were parked on High School Way on Friday. Movers were moving people into the complex, not out of it.
"That shocks me," Kulman said. "I never would have chosen to live here if I had known. I know a number of people have moved out."
Prometheus recently gained City Council approval for a project to build 200 apartments at the site of Minton's Lumber and Supply on Eleven Avenue.
The project is scheduled for completion on Nov. 19, Standard said. Updates on the project are posted by Prometheus at tinyurl.com/parksouth.