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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just thinking since I'm sick of the suburban life, what would it really be like to go vertical here in Tampa or in any other major city.

These are some of the "good things" I thought of: Please add to the list!

*entire building made of concrete, steel and glass. Less two-by-fours and less termites.
*internal parking
*internal mailboxes
*24X7 security
*elevators
*blaconies
*VIEWS!!!
*roof-top parties
*internal board room (for board meetings instead of having them at individuals home/unit)
*internal exercise room
*walk to concerts, conventions, arts
*less driving (a couple could get by with only one car)

CONS:
*people living over you (especially if they are loud or have kids)
*if the person above you has a toilet or bathtub overflow, will you get their water?
*fires and sprinkler systems
*power outages (have to take the stairs)
*assessments can be high and people on fixed incomes may not be able to afford them.

I really don't know what it would be like so I'm starting to ask around. Perhaps some of the people in South Fl can add their take on the subject. I'm only talking about an average high rise like Skypoint or Towers at Channelside, not the ultra luxury types.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes having a dog could be a pain going up and down elevators and finding a spot for the dog to do it's business. Having a cat on the other hand wouldn't be the same problem since they use a litter box. Another problem with pets is you would probably live in fear that they get loose and fall off the balcony.

As for driving your car to it's designated spot..I'm assuming it would be similar to driving into a DT parking garage or similar to parking at the airport.

Another major pro is there is no yardwork, especially pulling weeds and blowing leaves. The pool is taken care of by the association but yes, there is no privacy.
 

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A con few people think of is lugging some big box, package or lots o'bags of groceries from the parking area to the condo. IF you are used to parking in your garage or car port and walking right in, it can become really annoying really fast.
 

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Dude, if you have 5 bags of groceries or a tv you have to walk from your car, wait for the elevator then walk into your pad. Doable - especially if you break down and buy one of those old lady foldable grocery carts - but you will notice.

Garabage is a mixed blessing. Ususally there is a chute- so regular garbage is easy and no cans to take out. Big stuff is kind of a pain because you have to take it down to the dumptser. It is all a balance
 

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One of the biggest problems happening down here in Soflo, are the darn condo associations. These people comeup with the most backward thinking laws which condo owners have to follow, our if not pay fines, or move out.

Some hilarious laws by condo associations
No shutters during a hurricane
No christmas lights
No standing on your balcony partially nude(bikini, speedo)
No loud music after 12
No ornamentation or changes to you condo, unless approved by the association
These are some ofd the laws which my sister has to follow, at her condo.

these associations are usually full of old retired people with nothing else to do but sit at home a create stupid laws, and they actually get paid for it. also these condo associations are really big nimby's, One in particular is the Bayshore breeze in miami, they have been against more than 10 projects in a ten block radius of there condominium tower and some of there reasons are quite stupid
 

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If they want to paint the building, you pay for it. If they want to change the building, you move out; if they want to do ANYTHING it will fall onto you. But the pros are obvious, urban living and usually they are very clean, nice, and luxurious. I like condo life, my dad has one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow! I didn't think this new thread would get that much response. Thanks South Florida for your input. Sounds like some of those associations are way too uptight.

Now I'm interested in elevator maintenance. I know that as these buildings age, the elevators also age and how much can it cost to maintain them?
 

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I lived in a high rise in Atlanta about six years ago, and I have to tell you that the biggest nuisance to me was what Smiley was outlining above. The parking on the fifth floor, carrying items inside to the elevator, etc. With my condo in Channelside, I park literally steps away from my back door, and it does make a big difference.

That being said, my views of downtown Atlanta skyline were awesome - especially at night - and I had a big balcony and floor to ceiling windows to take advantage of that view.
 

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I lived in a high rise in Boston (13th floor) but it was a rental so I never had to deal with all the condo association stuff (which as I said before it in no way restricted to highrises, all HOA's have silly rules). I also didn't own a car so I never had to worry about the whole garage situation. The thing that bothered me though was the long waits for an elevator (there were only 2 elevators per floor in an 18 story building with 30 units per floor, you do the math). The plus was that could watch the big screen in Fenway Park from my bed, and hear the crowd roar when I had the windows open.
 

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<rant>
YES, you MUST bring the @&$*@!* cart back, you HEATHEN INGRATES!!!!!

Ahem. I'm sorry, but if there's one thing that gets my goat it's when some jackass takes the ONE grocery cart in our building up to their floor, and then decides they don't really need to return it until they're going downstairs again the next morning. You don't think this is gonna be a big deal, but just wait. Four, five bags of groceries, plus a gym bag and your flight bag (or briefcase or whatever), you ain't walking up eight flights of stairs with that, and it takes two trips from the car if you can't get a cart. This seems so minor to you right now, but it seemed like nothing to me, too, when I first bought this place. But you never know what other people are going to do.

Honestly, that's the worst part of condo living--you have neighbors, really really CLOSE neighbors, neighbors who share your walls, your garage, and your pipes (and who grind up rattan chairs in their garbage disposals and pour purple latex paint down the drains, from the seventh floor, I swear these people should be shot), and a lot of them act as if they still live in the 'burbs and own the entire building and property themselves (and failed to graduate from eighth grade). You'll know these people as soon as you move in, they're the ones who won't hold an elevator for you, who won't move from in front of the mailboxes so you can pass by them. They don't curb their dogs. They dump dirty cat litter down the trash chute in an open bag. They don't pay attention to the sign that says the trash chute is clogged--or worse, they dump broken-down cardboard boxes down there and jam the things up themselves, then walk away without reporting it. They carry empty boxes or old furniture halfway out to the dumpster and then abandon it, because they KNOW you or someone else who cares will take it the rest of the way. Amoral cretins. These people exist everywhere, of course, and when they own the house next to you they can be very annoying from forty feet away. When they own the condo next to you and you can hear their movies every night, they are a fair sight more than annoying.

And there are other things to think about. Elevators? Not really a plus--they break a lot, and you'll really pay for that view every time the power goes out. Make sure your building has a freight elevator or you'll have to lever that oversized couch up the side of the building like my neighbors did (it was totally hilarious). Parking can often be a problem--think about your guests. My building has a dedicated guest parking lot, but Skypoint, for example, doesn't have any guest parking--your overnight guests will have to park on the street or in the Poe Garage. Make sure you know you can both get by on one car, too, unless your building allows one car per bedroom instead of one car per unit.
No termites, yes; however, an infestation (of sugar ants, for example) in one unit quickly becomes an infestation in many units if not the whole building--and you can't control the slophouse your downstairs neighbors live in. No amount of pesticides in your unit will stop the ants from coming back if they live three units away. Be careful planning on internal parking and 24/7 security; not all buildings have both. Art Center Lofts has neither yet they sell for $300/sf+.

Most places, the rooftop is a penthouse; get to know your neighbors if you want to go to any rooftop parties. Wherever the public area is, however, IS a great place for parties, whether it's rooftop (Garrison Bldg, Rez @ Franklin) or on top of the parking garage (Skypoint, my building). Not all buildings have exercise rooms, and many of the ones that do (Victory, e.g.) have two treadmills and some dumbbells and that's about it (I would still commit heinous acts of murder for a penthouse in Victory).

Don't forget the building alarm system. If you overcook the rice, everybody in the building has that horrible alarm going off until YOU get the smoke out of your kitchen. Then the security guard comes up to ask if everything's all right, which she knows it is, but she wants the neighbors to know who set off the alarm. Makes you feel like a complete heel.

Will you get water from the folks upstairs? Undoubtedly. In fact one of the units in this building had sewer gas intruding through the pipes from the unit downstairs. Best to get to know the people on all four sides of you shortly after you move in; you'd be surprised what they can and can't hear/smell/see. My neighbor on one side, though I enjoy the occasional wafting aroma of their cooking, I hear their horrible miniature schnauzer-rat all the time. The thing barks at dust mites. I'd have drowned it years ago if it was mine, and the fella who's wife owns it clearly has the patience of Job. Meanwhile my neighbor on the other side, I never heard a peep out of her until I bought my new subwoofer and put it right against the wall. Oops. Then there was the time I was installing fans in my solid concrete ceiling (take note, Skypointers). Took the guy about an hour and a half to drill all four holes for the fan--and then he had to go do the fan in the bedroom, too. Drove my poor neighbor insane. Still, I occasionally could smell her smoke THROUGH MY WALLS. No shit. Crazy. (And yet the guys who live there now have managed to completely eliminate any smoke smell in the place.) And sometimes you just want to go sleep and the neighbors two floors down and on the right want to have a big party on the balcony. Then two weeks later you want to have a big party on the balcony and the neighbors two floors down and on the right just want to get to sleep...

Still, on balance, I love living in my condo. It certainly can be irritating--unlike an apartment, when you can call the super to come fix things, there is no super. You fix it yourself, and if it means tearing down drywall or fixing a leak in the building's roof, then you wait, and wait, and wait, for the condo board to finally agree to do something (God forbid you should decide to put in tile floors or screen in the porch). But I wouldn't have my view with a house in the burbclaves--or my commute, or my Saturdays completely free of mowing. I feel like I'm closer to my neighbors (the good neighbors) here than I ever was when I lived out in the burbs--after all, most of the people who live in a condo chose to live there to get away from the sprawl, so most of your neighbors will be of like mind. Also, they're not nearly so conservative. I'm actually conservative by my neighbors' standards; what a change from work. I do miss having property--not because I want to mow my lawn, but because I wouldn't mind planting trees and putting some grapevines in the backyard. But that's for another lifetime; you'd be suprised how big a Key Lime tree gets in a three-gallon pot on the porch.

I think the argument about having a dog is more for the dog's sake than yours. Taking the dog out is something you should do anyway--people here get more exercise walking their dogs than people in the burbs who have only to open the back door. Consider, though, what a big dog feels like cooped up in an 800 sf condo. Too few people think about that; dogs need yards, not a tiny patch of grass to poop in. Get a cat or a turtle instead.

Ha ha, as to cost of maintaining elevators--let me get back to you after the association meeting tomorrow night. Our elevators are a constant source of trouble, with one or the other being down almost constantly, and both shut down from time to time. Estimates for a real repair--which might mean replacement--range into the tens of thousands, which will come out of the owners' pockets in the form of a special assessment. Still, you'd do maintenance on your house, too. My advice to any condo buyer is to take an active interest in your condo board's governance. Know where all that money you're paying them every month goes, and whether it couldn't cost less. Go to the meetings. Vote for your board members (don't let the same tired old farts get voted in year after year because the only people who vote are absentee owners on proxy), ask questions, and above all get to know the condo manager. A good relationship with your manager and the janitorial/maintenance/security staff is worth a dozen good neighbors. Never talk down to the janitorial staff like some of the dipshits in this building used to (so the guy didn't have all his teeth. He had two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star, and still some of these people would call him "trailer trash" to his face; these were the same people who don't curb their dogs and leave their trash somewhere shy of the dumpster, as you might suppose).

Anyway, sorry about completely hijacking this thread like this. I'll stop typing now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
HappySmith,

Sounds like it's just a lot of self-centered, ignorant and inconsiderate people that live in the building. As for the carts, it sounds like everybody should have their own. Maybe they have invented adjustable carts that can be folded up like a baby carriage to fit better in vehicles. I don't know.

As for what you mentioned about the board, just remember they are not getting paid a dime for their efforts. A lot of times they work their asses off for nothing and some pople don't recognize or appreciate any thing they do. A good board is looking out for the best interest for the entire building. If you or anybody else detect that they have a private agenda, then that's when you should take action.

As for the people that treat the workers like shit, that is appalling and un-called for. Those are the people that make things happen.

I don't know jack about elevators but if they keep breaking down, then maybe the board and residents can vote on biting the bullet and investing in top-of-the line elevators. Even though you have to wait sometimes, at least you are inside in the A/C and it's better than climbing several flights of stairs.

About the ceiling fan...do you feel more secure that it is drilled into concrete, rather than wood? I have done similar work with drilling into concrete and believe me, it's a bitch. Don't think I'd want to ever do that again. I'll just pay someone.

The noise-factor would bother me the most. Supposedly some of the luxury condos have noise-resistant or noise reducing walls. Some don't. It's all about luxury and $$$.

Shopping! One good thing about Tampa is you can still get in your car and drive to Walmart, Target, Publix and not be forced to buy from expensive places in DT. I know a lady that lives in Chicago and there is a little grocery store within her DT building. But in Chicago, if you want the suburban shopping prices you have to drive through Chicago and into the burbs. The traffic is 10 times worse than here.

Roof-top-parties. I guess this pertains to places like the Valencia in Hyde Park or Victory Lofts where all you need to be is on the 7th floor to see the views and party with family, neighbors, friends. It depends on the type of building. I guess if it's a big populated building then somebody else may have the same idea at the same time and if you want it to be private, then tough luck.

I started this thread becuase all we have been talking about is buildings from an architecture point of view from the outside, talking about facades, location, enhancement to the skyline, height, etc. but we have not been talking about the "world" going on inside the buildings. There's more to it than what you see from the interstate, no doubt about it.
 

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robbie said:
Now I'm hearing that in some high rises that there are carts but you have to bring the cart back.
That is very typical in my experience...


Another big 'pro' to me is the communal pooling of resources to have amenities that you would never have in your own home, but since 50 or more people are sharing the cost, it is within fiscal reach... Like having a sauna, or full gym, or a game room, or a big clubhouse to have parties in. (or all of it)

And for me, perhaps the biggest 'pro' of all is not having to mow a yard, and deal with all of that crap. Plus, living in a highrise is much more secure than your own home, as acess is much, much more controlled.
 

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I stay in a suburban condo complex, but my experience is similar to what many have stated so far. Since I purchased a year ago, my wife flooded out our condo (forgot the tub was running), which flooded out the couple below us. The guy next door to me moved because he could hear the guy above him having sex late at night. The couple above me has a dog, that runs in circles all day long and I have two boys (4 & 2) that can't run around like toddlers should, because I know someone stays below me. We have 1 assigned parking space and it not even in front of our building. Its really a bitch carrying groceries, furniture, or what ever back and forth up the stairs. You can also hear your neighbors flushing toilets and running down stairwells in the mornings. However, what pisses me off the most is the HOA won't allow use to have BBQ grills. If seen we get fined, so I have to keep mine hidden in a storage closet. The best pro is not having to maintain a yard. Nevertheless, condo living is over for me, because I now have a contract to sell my unit. I'm still not to fond of single family living (no desire for yardwork), so I'll probably end up in a townhouse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes it is a plus to pool the monies. The more the units, the bigger the budget. Some people are turned off by condo living because of maintenance fees. If they have a problem with it, then they should buy a house. But I've seen "deed restricted" subdivisions that look like shit, simply due to the fact that a lot of people don't manage their money very well or set up reserves for the maintenace of their homes. They blow it all on that SUV and bling and when it's time for a 10K new roof, they don't have the funds.
 

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Townhouses really are the best of both worlds. Especially if you can get a 2 story townhouse end unit so there is nobody above you and you only share one wall with your neighbor to the side of you. It's the closest thing you can get to a single family house without dealing with a lot of yardwork and other crap.
 
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