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The University News

The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

Student Tenants Raise Concerns about the Coronado

Abby Campbell
Student tenants say the Coronado Place and Towers Apartments has poor management and safety concerns. (Abby Campbell / The University News)

The Coronado Place and Towers website claims to be “SLU ‘s best source for attractive apartment homes” but current student residents have a different story to tell, as does the inside of the building. 

The Coronado is one of the cheapest and closest housing options near Saint Louis University’s campus. According to current and former residents, the building has serious safety and sanitation concerns.

The University News spoke to six students residing in Coronado who relayed their poor living conditions. The students’ names are not identified due to their ongoing issues with Coronado management and staff. The University News also spoke to three former residents who all had serious complaints about their time renting. 

“Living here in the summer felt like literal hell,” a current SLU tenant said about the Coronado’s unreliable AC.

From the outside, the Coronado looks grand, with tall columns and intricate designs. The building used to be a hotel, and the exterior looks incredibly impressive. However, the inside tells a different story. 

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Trash and odor problems

The building residents have had to deal with a slew of maintenance and safety-related issues in recent years. 

Coronado’s trash disposal system requires residents to leave their waste in the hallways to be picked up. This has led to a heavy trash smell lingering in the hallways. 

SLU junior Sarah Fatzinger, 20, lived in the Coronado during her sophomore year, from August 2022 to July 2023. During this time, she experienced various issues with management related to the trash smell, mold and heating and cooling that were left unresolved. 

“There would constantly be trash spilled all up and down the hallways,” Fatzinger said.“They never cleaned the hallways or entryways, so the floors were disgusting and if people spilled anything, it would be there for weeks.” 

The carpets are filled with mysterious stains, and sometimes trash is left in the hallways for days at a time, causing not only a foul stench but insect infestations. A current tenant, who requested to stay anonymous, said that over the summer she saw a trash bag containing maggots sitting in her hallway. Other residents mentioned fruit fly infestations, roaches and ant problems. 

Unreliable heating and AC

The Coronado website, as well as Coronado’s leasing agreements, also promise 24-hour maintenance, central air conditioning, and free cable and Wi-Fi. Both the Wi-Fi and air conditioning have been reported to disappear randomly, with no warning, no guarantee of how long it will be missing and no updates from the management. 

Kaitlyn Barefield, 21, attended SLU and lived in Coronado Place and Towers from August 2022 to July 2023. She said she experienced many air conditioning issues, from the day she moved into her unit, which had been marketed to her as ‘ready to live in.’ 

“The air conditioning was so ridiculous that I don’t even know where to begin. When I moved in, it looked like the air filter hadn’t been changed in years, and it took a week for maintenance to bring a new one,it was falling apart and covered in dust,” Barefield said. 

During the warmer months, Barefield said the hallway was covered in water, but she couldn’t check because management locked her out of the AC unit closet. 

“For the entirety of the summer, our AC didn’t work and our maintenance requests were being ignored until I went down to the office and complained face to face. During this interaction, they came upstairs and turned it back on,” Barefield said.

Her Coronado roommate, Fatzinger, brought up concerns with the heating as well. The junior said her maintenance requests put in the resident online portal were also repeatedly ignored. 

“At the end of December, the apartment got down into the forties, so I had to go home because it really wasn’t safe in that apartment without heating,” Fatzinger said.

Slow maintenance response

As for maintenance, multiple residents stated they filed various maintenance requests that were never answered. 

One student, a twenty-one-year-old female senior at SLU, who prefers to stay anonymous due to numerous grievances with Coronado management, told the University News that after filing six maintenance requests over a period of several months, she sought out a maintenance worker in person and asked them to examine the black mold that was growing from their ceiling. 

The worker came to their room, looked at the mold, and exclaimed that it looked “really bad” and that he would have to go retrieve some tools. He never came back. The resident said their attempts to get someone else to look at the mold were further ignored. 

She has lived in Coronado for about eight months now – her roommates have been there for longer, but she only joined the lease after returning from studying abroad last January. 

There were issues during the winter months too, but none of them felt any of it was a dealbreaker. Once the warm weather rolled around, the AC did not work, and their mold problem became evident. 

“Our biggest con with living there was that we would put in maintenance requests, and they just would never show up,” the senior said. “Recently what happened was we could see black molds on our ceiling. It was in the hallway right outside of my room. I started getting sick, my roommate started getting sick, and the people we had over frequently were getting sick.” 

The roommates filed multiple maintenance requests to no avail, and when they felt their mold problem had reached a breaking point, they threatened legal action. 

Their lawyer sent a letter to the management, highlighting all the ways the leasing contract had been broken – no maintenance, no AC, broken elevators, no Wi-Fi, etc. No reply ever came, the roommates said. 

The roommates’ lawyer then contacted Coronado’s lawyer and ended their contract. There was no communication from the leasing office with the tenants before or after. A maintenance worker soon came to their room to paint over the mold, thus making the apartment ‘ready’ for new residents to move in, the roommates said. 

Safety Concerns

SLU alumni Elizabeth Potterf, who lived in the Coronado during her senior year at SLU, from August 2021 to July 2022 said that she and her roommate experienced an uncomfortable situation with the Coronado’s maintenance. 

Potterf said her roommate came home and found muddy footprints on the rug and shredded paper on her floor. The young woman was freaked out and immediately left the apartment. The roommates spent hours trying to get in contact with the Coronado management but were unable to reach anyone. Over 24 hours later, they were informed it was maintenance that had visited their apartment. 

“They gave us absolutely no warning and did not let us know until the next day they had visited our unit, imagine what it is like to be two young girls living in an apartment we thought someone had broken into,” Potterf said

The young woman who is moving out of the Coronado also mentioned safety concerns like maintenance staff showing up to people’s apartments unscheduled, late at night or early in the mornings and entering units without warning and with no knocking. Multiple other female residents have experienced this, Barfield and Potterf said. 

“My roommates and I were woken up by a maintenance worker in our apartment, and we had no clue he was coming,” the senior said.

These instances don’t just impact women, Barefield said she is aware of others who have gone through this. 

“My friend was once naked in his apartment, and the former manager, Victoria, didn’t knock on the door and simply walked in on him naked in his apartment,” Barefield said.

Besides maintenance and health code concerns, the Coronado has also been at the center of recent safety concerns. Melinda Heikkinen, the Chief and Assistant Vice President of SLU’s Department of Public Safety, said DPS has been contacted with complaints from Coronado residents. 

“The Coronado is a privately owned building so DPS does not respond to that specific location, we do on occasion get calls from students requesting assistance,” Heikkinen said. “In these cases, we assist them on the phone, ask them to come to campus where we assist them or meet them on SLU property outside the Coronado, our primary focus is assisting these students in contacting the resources that can help them with their specific needs.” 

Last year, the lock on one of the alternate entrance locks in Coronado was broken, allowing free access to the building. 

On August 14, 2023, one man died and another was injured in a shooting that unfolded in front of the Coronado, all stemming from a botched drug deal, according to local news reports.

Just over a week later, on August 22, 2023, a suspect who was alleged to be employed at the Coronado, faced charges for sexually assaulting a female student from SLU within the premises of the building. For young women living at the Coronado, this recent instance is worrying. 

The convenience of the Coronado’s location and price has made it a popular housing option for SLU students in the past, but students looking forward may want to consider these sanitation and safety concerns before signing a lease. 

Heikkinen adds that when choosing a place to live, students should research the apartment community they are considering, including factors like location, upkeep and maintenance. 

“I don’t recommend living there. That’s really all I have to say about it,” the senior woman said. “We’re moving out on Thursday (September 21), and I’m really excited about that.”

The University News has reached out to the Coronado Place and Towers for a statement multiple times and has not heard back.

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About the Contributors
Mariya Yasinovska
Mariya Yasinovska, Copy Editor
Mariya Yasinovska is a junior studying English and Communication at Saint Louis University. She enjoys storytelling and poetry and believes in always standing up for what is right. In her free time, you can find her at a local coffee shop drinking a chai or going to concerts around the area. Email her at [email protected]
Abby Campbell
Abby Campbell, Photography Editor
Abby (she/her/hers) is a senior at SLU studying Integrated Strategic Communication. This is her third year with the Unews as photography editor, and she cannot wait for another year with the Unews team. In her free time she enjoys cooking, watching reality tv, and, of course, taking pictures!
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