I have spent most of my life

by francine Hardaway on March 7, 2003

I have spent most of my life saying just what I think.

However, as I have mellowed, I have tried to make the way I say things a little more constructive. In the spirit of my newfound adulthood, I share with you a letter I wrote to the developers of my new luxury high rise condo project.

Constructive feedback

Because I know you gentlemen are on to other projects like Esplanade Place, I’d like to give you some constructive feedback on your first attempt ‘ which we all agree is fabulous. There are, however, some things that could make the next one even better.

1) When you sell something, produce the thing you have sold. Many of us bought in here because we were told there would be a small enclosed grassy area in which to walk our dogs. Although my dogs are exceptionally large, all the dogs here need some fenced grass and all the buyers thought there would be some. This has been the subject of conversation at every Sunday night social. One woman (not me) even said she’d deliver her dog to Geoff’s house if there isn’t grass by next week-end. The dirt and gravel area that now exists is a) a mudhole that even a retriever wouldn’t walk on; b) not secure from traffic so an owner could let a dog off leash to do his business. We’ll gladly pay for the sod. Making us parade around the Esplanade in our exercise clothes in the middle of a business day is not customer service.

2) Erase Safeguard Security from your list of vendors. Everything they have done is wrong. They don’t know anything about networks, and can’t set up the Internet service correctly. The Internet service is much more complicated and much slower than it needs to be: T-1 lines are now going for $129/mo. And we could have put a couple of them into the building and taken care of everything. Safeguard doesn’t know anything about Direct TV, either. Their refurbished set top boxes are not as good as what other resellers offer, and mine still has someone else’s access code in it so I can’t activate my own account. I’m paying for this?
3) Strike Adams Interiors as well. Their choices are limited, their cabinets are horrendous, and their carpeting unravels before your eyes. I realize I’m in the cheap seats, but people who pay $2 million for a penthouse should not have to upgrade the cabinet knobs as I did.

4) And while we’re at it, can Wells Fargo Mortgage as well. The entire team I was dealing with departed three days before my closing. I still don’t know where to send my check.

5) Go light on the public events, especially while there are still construction people around and people stressed from moving in. Last Friday, my dog had an accident (or a passive aggressive outburst) on my new wood floor, and as I was racing him outside for corrective discipline, I ran smack into the luxury realtor tour and many of my acquaintances. They were in their Armani suits; I was in my Juicy Couture track suit. Chauncey was not brushed yet. I felt like something out of Pets on Parade. The night before, it was the ULI meeting. It’s public enough to live in an office complex without meeting your former clients in the elevator as you are carrying your favorite pillow.

6) Design bigger closets. My master closet now seems very small compared to my old house, which was the same size. Also, the air conditioning is in the intuitive spot where the hall closet/broom closet is expected. 7) The unit
across the hall from me has a back door out of a bathroom. That’s pretty funny. Ask the owners for feedback when you design the next project. 8) All that being
said, here are some notables plusses:
The staff, especially Howard and Michael, who would die for the owners. They’re fabulous. They absorb everyone’s anger and move on to solutions.
Karen Schweigert, who is unflappable and very competent.
A man from McCarthy whose name I don’t know who tightened all my cabinet knobs for me one evening without being asked.
Ben at the front desk.

Here’s to many more successful projects. With all good will and best wishes,


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