We have completed our move, and so it seems like a good time for a little comparison. We’ve moved three times in the last 2 years, and two of those were to larger spaces, and yet each time we move, we get rid of significant furniture! This time we binned the barstools and the entryway loveseat, as well as an old TV and some miscellaneous odds and ends.
Both Esterra Park and Heron are newer complexes. I really liked Esterra Park, especially since we were on the top floor (no noisy neighbors above), except for a few things. One is lack of air conditioning. This got pretty brutal last year. We did buy a portable one but it took up a lot of floor space and provided cooling only if you were standing right in front of it. Another was that Avalon is currently constructing a new apartment complex right across the street, so there was construction noise beginning at 6:30AM every day. This of itself might not have driven us off, because we knew about it when we moved in, but it was, and will continue to be, a factor there.
On the positive side, it is easily walkable to Chris’ office and the necessities of life are nearby (Safeway, Starbucks, Indian restaurant).
We looked up other apartment complexes in Redmond, and many of them said they had air conditioning, but when we went to look at them, they did not! But Heron did.
Heron is in a much quieter area. There is construction going on nearby, but not right outside our window, which does make a difference. Heron has nicer interior finishes and deeper bathtubs. It is also much closer to a larger number of places we like to go.
It is also much more expensive. We did get a 3BR this time, instead of a 2BR, but it is only 100 sf larger than the Avalon 2BR. This is why we had to get rid of more furniture. The configuration doesn’t really allow for it all.
Let me clarify. Heron’s 2BRs are about the same price as Avalon’s. They just happen to be much smaller. Avalon has several 1000+ square foot 2BR floor plans, but Heron didn’t have any.
Unfortunately for me (not so much for Chris and Alex because they use headphones all the time), our upstairs neighbors are EXTREMELY noisy. We have already filed a complaint with the leasing office. It sounds like there is a family of sumo wrestlers doing Irish clog dancing sometimes. I thought it might be quieter during the day (parents at work, kids at school, whatever), but it is pretty consistently thumpy up there. For one day after our complaint it was quiet. Now it’s back to thumps.
Heron: more than doubles Chris’ walk commute. This could be a good thing (we assumed it would be, because more walking = better cardio) but, for example, today it was damp-ish when we left. By the time we got to the nearest big intersection (a block away) it was pretty much pouring down rain. We hustled back and I drove him to work. So I can see possible issues with this: if it started raining later in the walk, for example.
Leasing staff at both places is exceptional. We have been very happy with our leasing staff interactions. Heron has a gratis coffee bar in the lobby for residents. Not just K-cups like Avalon had.
I hope this may help someone who’s trying to make an informed decision.