Oak Lawn

High-Rise, Dallas

October 4, 2016
iLume Park Lobby off of Cedar Springs

The movie High-Rise is about a luxury apartment building that descends into chaos. The film opens with shots of the trashed apartment building and a pool strewn with bodies.

A man then kills and eats a dog.

Although they aren’t eating dogs at iLume Park yet, my apartment building has experienced a rapid and sad decline.

I was so impressed with the building when I first moved in last year – we had a free happy hour every day of the week and continental breakfast in the mornings. There were dog walkers, maids, and tons of events for the residents.

They also did fecal testing / DNA profiles on the dogs, so they could fine anyone who failed to pick up after their dogs.

The building was like a boutique hotel filled with gay professionals and recent arrivals from out-of-state. It was fabulous.

ilume Park Gay Happy Hour

Happy Hour at iLume Park in Oak Lawn, Dallas.

The decline

But the leasing agents had trouble filling the building. They then relaxed their leasing standards, slashed deposit requirements, and started offering 2-month rent discounts to new tenants.

A waive of ratchet residents moved in. There were drug dens, dime bags in the stairwell, break-ins, fights, and gun threats. Many of the original residents fled.

Although many of the worst tenants were evicted, it was too late to stop the bleeding. The original owner began the process of selling the building, and things got even worse.

Someone rammed the parking garage gate, which then sat open for weeks and essentially meant that the building was unlocked. People’s cars started getting broken into more frequently, and we kept finding strange characters roaming the hallways.

Things get worse

The pool maintenance also went downhill. The hot tub broke and turned green. The pool bathroom door also broke and people (including myself) kept getting trapped inside. The pool area was often completely trashed, particularly on weekends when there is no maintenance staff. It is really strange seeing little kids running around trash cans overflowing with rotting food.

The hallways deteriorated as well. Dog feces, urine, and food stains caked the carpet. It wasn’t uncommon for dog crap to sit in the stairwells for days, particularly on the weekends.

iLume Park Building Collapse

The front of iLume Park was shut down after a brick facade fell off of the front of the parking garage.

The dog parks are a health hazard – the bags disappeared from the property and tenants stopped picking up after their animals. For several weeks, the dog parks had overflowing trash cans and small mountains of dog feces everywhere. Some tenants have up to four dogs, which makes for a chaotic dog park experience.

The building is so poorly maintained that we avoid the common areas and stick to our apartment. We go to the pool in the other iLume building and avoid our lobby.

ilume park lobby

Awkward meeting in the iLume Park lobby with upset tenants.

Rampant crime in my building is my biggest concern – one of my neighbors had his car broken into twice in a month. Another recent brawl got so bad that a dozen cop cars swarmed the building. (Those neighbors have been reportedly evicted, according to a resident who lives by them.)

iLume Park today

Things might improve. There’s been a 100% staff turnover in a year and some of those jobs have been outsourced professional staffing companies.

The garage gate was also fixed, and the dog poop bags have returned.

None of this is enough to keep many of the current residents however. I don’t know anyone who intends to renew their lease – including us.

The decline of iLume Park has been quick and sad. Thankfully we didn’t sign a multi-year lease.

  • Reply
    The Jenny Journey
    October 4, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Sadly, I cannot wait to leave. I loved the building for a solid half a year. The lack of professionalism is UNREAL.

    • Jansen
      October 4, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Some of the most unprofessional staff members quit, which is nice. I haven’t interacted with the new people yet.

  • Reply
    David Grelle
    October 4, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    This also has happened to the original Ilume. All of the problems listed in this blog post also are happening at the Ilume. Dog poop in hallways, falling down fences on the perimeter, and broken gates plague the Ilume too. Green swimming pools, no security, and lax maintenance are also to be found at Ilume. All “the immenities” that were touted, dog walking, dog grooming, housekeeping, concierge service, and round the clock security had been eliminated by the time I moved out in August. It’s such a shame to see this happen. But the developer, and owners don’t care.

    • Jansen
      October 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      That’s sad to hear! It’s such a shame because the buildings are in an excellent location and had a lot of promise.

    • Reply
      Ronald Mercer
      October 5, 2016 at 9:02 am

      Definitely not true at the Original Ilume.I have not seen any broken gates,green pool or falling fences.However, I can say the maintenance could be a lot better.

      • Jansen
        October 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

        You’re lucky!

  • Reply
    Gay Dallas
    October 4, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Did you honestly expect anything more from this community? I’ve never seen flies on a rump roast, but I have seen whores on illume. I’m assuming they swarm in a similar fashion. Bottom line, illume management appealed to and wanted the young socially over active 20 year old that would create a revolving door. They succeeded, unfortunately in turn it created lack of pride by residents and not a lot of income for management. Did anyone believe that discounts……deep discounts on rents for sexual favors would turn out to be lucrative either?!? If you build a property to appeal to the whores, druggies and alcoholics of the gay community, you’ll end up with a broke down joke of a property judged by the mature people of the gay community. Nice article, but don’t sugar coat the facts, call it as it is.

  • Reply
    Tony Bracciale
    October 5, 2016 at 12:29 am

    As one of the first 6 residents to move into this community, I can give you a play by play of the downfall. Such a shame for what was once a fun botique community that was very resident driven. Come on January. Byyyyeeeee!

  • Reply
    Stephen Olivarez
    October 5, 2016 at 7:01 am

    I lived here a while when it was just the one building and it was a mess then. The staff had favorites and some of their “friends” barely paid rent. Noise was always a problem and it was a non-stop pain. Not a good place for a professional at all. When I was there, the owners were looking to sell then also and many prospects would come through. We knew because the main floor was spotless and the staff was all of a sudden everyone’s friend. When I left, I showed the owner all the things I put up with and the harassment and he was kind enough to reprimand the staff and fix everything. I would NEVER recommend this place. Ever.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2016 at 7:26 am

    I lived in this building for a year and my husband 18 months. He was actually the first tenant. The entire experience went from ok to horrible. The staff was lackluster. I could give you a laundry list of things that were bad or went wrong. It all leads to building management’s mismanagement.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    The entire project was doomed from the beginning. the second building shouldn’t have been done and probably wouldn’t have gone forward if the financial and occupancy records from the first building had been accurately presented to the investors. The original Ilume was a den of drugs thanks to the employees. It is rather unfortunate especially for the location.

  • Reply
    David T.
    October 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    The story and comments sound exactly like what happened at The Mosaic downtown. The cheap(er) rent was too good to be true – glad I am out of there!

  • Reply
    Ansel Colvin
    October 5, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Wow, really sad to hear that. Oak Lawn doesn’t need failed properties right on the strip like that. A complete waste. :\

  • Reply
    October 6, 2016 at 9:48 am

    I lived at the mosaic before moving into Ilume park as well… Every apartment complex has its problems but by far Ilume park is worse, they had someone actually cooking meth in the apartments with. A child who was sleeping in the closet. And the buildings door was always broken and people would wander in high off the streets at all times in the early am. I was chased by one of these people and felt very unsafe. At the mosaic the problems with drugs and homeless people was bad as well and someone committed suicide while I loved there and then people blazed pictures all over social media it was dispicable. But at least when I lived in the 24th floor I felt safer then living in the second floor at Ilume park. Terrible waste of what could be a beautiful property. oh and the dog issue, don’t even let me get started.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I recently moved out of the original Ilume after living there for over 5 years. It was very sad to see the state of the property decline over the years. The new staff became much more hostile and treated the residents as hostile burdens, the maintenance was never kept up and everything that made it stand out in the beginning was let go. They finally started offering incredible deals to attract new people while constantly ignoring long term residents. I was sad to finally leave, but I couldn’t live there any longer.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Keep your eyes open and fingers crossed as it is not just new management, but new ownership. Both buildings were sold. The new ownership has promised significant changes and improvements. While they won’t happen overnight, it should get better.

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