BLVD Needs to Stop Deceiving Potential Tenants

I live in Uptown, in a high-rise that is full with a stock of character that includes:

a.) the dude next door who often drinks Miller Lite in the hot tub at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings with three of his barbed-wire tatted friends, because it’s the weekend and I earn my weekends, work hard to play hard, bro,

b.) a collection of sleep-deprived Baylor Hospital residents who immediately regretted their decision to move in upon seeing (a),

c.) dudes who often drink Michelob Ultra in the hot tub at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings because this body doesn’t get this sweet and ripped by drinking full-calorie beers, broski,

d.) a surprisingly high number of retirees, who obviously signed their leases in the winter when subgroups (a) and (c) were hibernating in their jewel-encrusted man caves, and

e.) me and my fiancee

So, when an apartment complex sends me a flier shouting “Free rent for a month” or “Loft-space with downtown view” or “Free popcorn and Cracker Jacks in lobby, all day, every day,” I usually check them out. That’s what brought me to BLVD, the new apartment building on SMU Boulevard.

And it looks nice on the frontpage: transit-oriented, eco-friendly, close to trails and recreation. But, let’s delve into these amenities because, really, they’re patently false.

What a lovely view of downtown....from the West End

BLVD promises “quick access to DART rail,” and that’s true. The building’s about a five minute walk from the Mockingbird DART station. Problem is, that picture isn’t of the Mockingbird DART station. Best Dan and I can tell, it’s West End. This is the Mockingbird station:

Source: DART

Not as downtowny, right? Let’s continue.

What a beautiful trail. Too bad it's not the Katy Trail.

“Walkable neighborhood near the Katy Trail.” Let’s expound on that for a second. The very tip of the Katy Trail, where it hits Airline Road, is 1.1 miles from BLVD, across one of the widest and busiest overpasses on North Central, Mockingbird Lane. Let’s even say a BLVD resident chooses to walk through the M Streets, avoiding that intersection and entering the trail off McComas. Then you’re looking at a 30 minute walk, just to get to the trail.

Okay, but put that argument aside. If you’re going to the trail, you’re trying to exercise, so maybe the mile-plus to and from isn’t a big deal. The big deal should be that photo isn’t even the Katy Trail. So, not only are you telling potential residents that your building is near the Katy Trail, you’re showing them a picture of some other trail, probably in Missouri or Russia or Zimbabwe maybe.

I’m not in advertising or marketing, I know. And maybe these tricks are standard, a sleight-of-hand used to lure people in, then wow them with free popcorn and Cracker Jacks. But people are smarter than this.

You may tout yourself as a LEED-certified, green building, BLVD, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that you’re also kind-of charlatans.

19 thoughts on “BLVD Needs to Stop Deceiving Potential Tenants

  • June 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm
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    This is hilarious. It’s about time PCP confronts these high rise complexs via a blog post. This is sure to get a good response.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm
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    Is it close to the Cowboys’ and Rangers’ stadiums as well?

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  • June 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm
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    I work for an agency that handles the advertising and marketing for properties like this one (None of our clients are in Dallas). So I feel a little obligated to defend these guys. From a practical standpoint, the creative department generally doesn’t have a budget to shoot custom photography for this sort of stuff, so they have to grab stock photos which can be a little limiting. If you look at all the photos on their site, they’re clearly stock photos.

    There is a good chance that the people who made their marketing people have never even been to Dallas so they wouldn’t know exactly what these landmarks should look like. They just want the best looking images to illustrate their point.

    There are a lot of glaring examples of false advertising out there, I find this example to be fairly tame in comparison. Also you should probably give park cities residents more credit. I think we’ve all seen enough advertising in our day to take it with a spoonful of salt.

    I would also suggest that if you’re unhappy with your neighbors behavior you should talk to management. They want to keep good tenants and get rid of the ones that drive away good tenants. If you don’t mention these issues, management won’t know they exist. At least send them a link to this blog post.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm
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    A little research and I found that the dart rail photo they used is from Shutterstock. Also shutter stock only has two images of the Dart rail and neither are of Mockingbird station.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm
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    Scott- Thanks for your input, but, in a time when quality photos are literally a cell phone away, it doesn’t take Ansel Adams to create a beautiful, honest depiction of your neighborhood.

    And what if a potential resident isn’t from the Park Cities? They don’t know what they should be looking for, and probably take the apartment’s word that the trail is within walking distance.

    Again, thanks for reading.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm
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    I’m 100% in agreement that the photos are no big deal. In fact, the complaint that the DART image isn’t an image of the exact station closest by is kind of laughable. If the station closest to the property looked like some kind of ultra-scary, “I wouldn’t go there because I would get killed!” location, then I don’t think they are falsely selling you anything.

    As for the Katy Trail, who would even know that wasn’t an image of the Katy Trail? I’m sure that somewhere on the Katy Trail there’s an angle that looks like that. I’m a bit more in agreement that stating the property is anywhere close to Katy Trail is a gross exaggeration.

    And unless their marketing materials specifically stated that even though they are located a mile or so from SMU they would never have any male SMU students or similar, acting like 18-27 year old Dallas males do, then you have no standing. Anyone who thinks they are going to move into a complex at this location and live with a bunch of calm, mature adults deserves every hot tub germ they catch.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm
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    And you shouldn’t be living in sin anyways! Shame!

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  • June 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm
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    Brad, you’re right, it’s easy to take photos but it’s not as easy to take photos that come close to the quality of stock photos. Especially if you’re not a photographer.

    Stock photos are also faster, easier and cheaper. This is as honest of a depiction of the neighborhood as a McDonalds ad is a honest depiction of a Big Mac. It’s as honest as a Walmart ad is in depicting the happiness of people who shop there.

    As far as proximity to Katy Trail… The Katy trail includes the path to Mockingbird station as part of the trail on their map. I find it a bit odd, but its their trail. Also they just say its “near” – a fairly ambiguous word in terms of distance.

    http://www.katytraildallas.org/maps/KatyTrailPlan_2011.pdf

    The funny part is that being near the Katy trail isn’t even going to sell any apartments. If you want Katy trail access there are a large number of similarly priced apartments with almost direct access to the trail. This isn’t a selling point for these guys and it does not differentiate them in the marketplace.

    If you want to look at deception you could write a book about the misuse of the word quiet in apartment ads. Quiet apartments just don’t exist, even in the best buildings.

    BLVD is not the first or last property to overstate their value. Caveat emptor my friend.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm
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    In their defense on the Katy trail proximity, the city of Dallas is working on extending the trail across Central and along the DART rail, so there will be access off Worcola which should be about 500 feet away from the BLVD. Not sure how soon that will happen though.

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  • June 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm
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    for pete’s sake,
    if they pay their rent on time,
    the landlords don’t care about
    their tats, their choice of beverages,
    or whether they are retired or not.

    and really for pete’s sake,
    also, what sort of degree do you have?
    “my fiance and me”? really? i made
    sure the apartment complex i live in
    had an english usage test to keep
    riff raff like you out.

    Reply
  • June 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm
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    “…with a stock of characters that includes me and my fiance.”

    I realize I have only a Big Ten education, but I believe that is grammatically correct (although my father used to say that it is polite to put yourself last, as in my fiance and me). For UPDad’s sake, where is Pete’s degree from?

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  • June 16, 2012 at 12:26 am
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    I live over a mile to the Katy Trail. I bike there, down the trail and back. My husband jogs to the trail, down the trail and back. I think you need to work out more 🙂

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  • June 16, 2012 at 9:24 am
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    for pete’ sake,
    updad, your father is also right grammatically.
    and my degree is from URI.

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  • June 16, 2012 at 10:55 am
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    I have rented in U.P. for 13 years. I came for the safety, the beauty and the schools. I consider myself blessed to have lived here all these years.

    As for renting, there are some good places to live. I have lived in six places, the last for about five months. I would move every few years as I found a place open that was bigger or closer to the high school.

    Two of the places were pretty good.

    One place had toxic levels of hidden mold. I feel badly for the people who move in behind me.

    One place had hoarders on two sides of me…something I did not realize until I had signed the lease for one year. This same place also had a heavy drug user who lived above me and used to beat his girlfriend up. I called the cops and she moved out the next day. He stayed even though he was not on the lease. Even when they turned his water off,he stayed and washed his dishes in the back yard. Pot smoke would drift down. He played an electric guitar at all times of the day and night. It was awful. That place had a pipe burst late at night. The mgmt said they’d send someone out the next day as water flooded my place.

    One duplex on Normandy was really nice looking except that the bathroom ceiling fell in and exposed rotted beams. A swarm of what I believe to be termites came out of the ceiling. I could actually see into the unit above me. The landlord told that tenant above me not to use that bathroom until it could be fixed. The wood was so rotted, they might fall through. Well, different contractors came out and they refused to fix the hole in the bathroom ceiling because the landlord just had the water leak fixed and wanted to seal up the ceiling leaving the wood rotted beyond imagination. The guy said this is so unsafe. I won’t fix this. So, the landlord had someone else who had less integrity come fix the ceiling.

    I complained to him that someone could fall through the ceiling and their was water damage. He didn’t care. He said I could move out and I did. I drive by that place on Normandy and wonder who lives there now and if the ceiling has ever caved in on them.

    The place I live now looked like a dream. Except it had water leaks, roaches and burglar bars. The owner says roaches are normal for Texas and the burglar bars are up to code. I said, not for the bedroom. I told them I had lived in Texas almost 50 years and I know what normal levels of roaches are. He said I could pay to have the burglar bars removed and then have them put back on when I move out. I’m looking for another place.

    Bottom Line, places can look great from the outside but one never knows what the neighbors are like or if water pours in when it rains or if roaches come in mass at night. I also wonder how many PCP are living in apartments with hidden mold. It impacted my health dramatically causing asthma, sinus issues and three autoimmune diseases. It took my 80 year old parents to figure it out, test for mold and find the source of my diseases that almost disabled me for life.

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  • June 16, 2012 at 11:01 am
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    Your post is hilarious. And as a marketer, I know I’m required to represent my product honestly. And they haven’t here. Stock photos (unless they’re public domain) and more expensive than borrowing your dad’s camera and taking photos to use in the ad. I wouldn’t want to live with round-the-clock partiers but, until you move to Edgemere, that might be the rental client of today. Good luck!

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  • June 17, 2012 at 11:42 am
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    Pete, Go Rams! (Except for Lamar Odom!)

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  • June 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm
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    @Parkie, where was the place with all the mold? Near Preston and Lovers? Because I lived in a complex over there and went through the same thing. The maintenance guy would come over and just paint over it, rather than attempt to replace any drywall.

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  • July 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm
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    Your blog is quite funny. I agree with what you said. People who want to sell something try to hype things up a bit (or a lot in this case) just to make sure they’d sell. They forgot that some people, like you and me, would double check their claims.

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  • August 30, 2012 at 7:26 am
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    Stop lying to potential tenants because they will eventually know the truth and might leave you hanging. It’s best to establish a good and honest relationship with them.

    Reply

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