By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

An apartment complex on Abernathy Road has become the main student housing for the Art Institute of Atlanta in Sandy Springs. But some existing and presumably older residents of the apartment complex 550 Abernathy are not happy about the new living arrangements.

“These aren’t college dorms,” said 550 Abernathy resident Richard Bradley, who signed his third one-year lease at the apartments in March. “I think it’s a bad choice of mixing college students with working families.”

Students started moving into 550 Abernathy at the beginning of April and now occupy 60 of the 228 units, according to school spokeswoman Kim Resnik. About 180 students live in the apartments and 30 to 40 more are expected to move in when the summer quarter begins July 12.

“It’s really pretty nice accommodations,” Resnik said of the arrangements that place four students in a furnished two-bedroom suite complete with a kitchen and dining room. The Art Institute of Atlanta used to house students at the Metro Point Loft in Midtown but switched to 550 Abernathy to give students a “really short shuttle hop” to the school’s campus on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Resnik said.

“My ongoing concern is that management never consulted or informed the existing residents of the possibility of intertwining students with working families,” Bradley wrote in a June 22 e-mail. “To date, the mix is not a match. Granted there are some great kids that are there, but the bad apples are truly standing out.”

Bradley said troubles started when the kids began moving in.

“The first wave of students moved in April, I believe, and that came with the first complaint because they were moving in at all hours of the night,” Bradley wrote in his e-mail. “Management was made aware of the situation and told me that they would contact the school regarding that matter. As the weeks went on, the students began to congregate in front of the buildings and were very boisterous at all times of the day. Again management was made aware and they said they would e-mail the school.”

Resnik said she hadn’t heard “anything at all” as far as complaints about students at the apartments.

“That hasn’t really been our experience,” Resnik said. She added that two apartments are leased for “Residence Life Coordinators” whose job it is to supervise the students at the apartments. There are also six student resident assistants that live at the apartments.

“We really emphasize the whole community aspect,” Resnik said, stressing students are taught to live respectfully among others.

Bradley disagrees.

“During our initial concerns, management stated to us that the students were not allowed to congregate, smoke, drink, party or have outside guests, besides the students assigned to the apartments,” Bradley said. “To date, all of those rules have been broken and not adhered to.”

Bradley said the latest incident occurred the weekend of June 18. He said a group of 10 to 15 students were “being loud, smoking dope and even into a verbal altercation with another resident.”

The police were called and management notified, Bradley said. Sandy Springs police confirmed receiving complaints about residents at the apartment complex.

Another person expressed discontent about 550 Abernathy on the website www.apartmentratings.com.

“I have lived here since 2005,” said the apartment reviewer on the website. “This complex has gone to hell … The students are loud, walk around the complex at night, going from building to building with cups filled with alcohol or beers in hand. I don’t blame the students because I do not expect them to have the maturity to respect a ‘luxury apartment community.’”

Kristina Davis, manager at 550 Abernathy, would not comment about the complaints.

“The privacy act protects each resident’s account,” Davis said in a phone interview June 25. “I will certainly address any issue going on.”

In a June 25 phone interview, Bradley said he was told by apartment staff June 24 that changes were coming.

“It’s been a busy complex,” Bradley said.

Now he said he’s just biding his time until he moves next March.

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