I've lived here about 6 months now and my main complaint is that I can't renew my lease for another 4 months to lock in my rate. When I moved in I looked at just about every complex in SF from Soma to Nob Hill to Haight and beyond; Ava was the best value to location ratio I could find. No it isn't in the Marina or one of those giant pretentious new condos by AT&T Park, but it also isn't 5,000 a month to live in a New York style 300 sqft box or a million dollar mortgage paired with a 600 dollar HOA fee. It also isn't one a 2000 dollar value priced studio in the Tenderloin, but then I don't have hobos living in the doorway, monthly in unit roach treatments and a daily recreation of the HBO show "The Wire" for blocks around the apartment complex. What Ava Nob Hill provides is a high value sub $3,000 place (well below the median rent for SF) in a niceish area with just about anything you'd want to do in SF from Union Square to North Beach to Soma and the MIssion in a roughly 1.5 mile radius. Seriously it's the most centrally located place in SF short of setting up camp in civic next to the guy yelling constantly at his friend Tommy, a man who died sometime during the Nixon Administration. The other advantage of Ava is that it's a newer building that has modern (read larger and better laid out) units in an area full of older construction. Instead of a run down building smelling of mildew (or worse), an 1902 elevator you close manually with a 400 lbs max weight and a doorbell that doesn't ring much less let you open the door for anyone visiting, this complex has a new gym full of equipment no more than a few years old, a working elevator with a healthy 4 digit capacity, and even a laundry room with phone notifications when your load is finished. Speaking of the people, that is actually the largest differentiator between Ava and every other apartment complex I've lived in. In most complexes I've been satisfied with a pretty low customer service standard. Just not screwing things up for me was the best I ever hoped for; at some point if my dishwasher was fixed in less than a full cycle of the moon I was grateful that it happened at all. I believe the clinical term is apartmentholm syndrom if I'm not mistaken. The people at Ava have completely altered my expectations from the day I arrived to literally this very moment. When I was first looking Peggy Huang (one of the community sales consultants) was extremely helpful. She did everything from touring the community with us to using her lunch to help us place the furniture that arrived after the movers had left (unprompted I might add). She even gave us honest straightforward advice on when to put in our application for the best rental price and fixed every issue we had in minutes not hours or days. Every day when I get home she remembers me, my unit, what kind of work/activites I do, whether I have a package and if there's any detail however small about anything I may have needed from her or the rest of the staff. What's amazing about that is that I'm not special, I've been out in the front area and literally every resident I've seen come in gets the same kind of treatment. "Oh hi Amy, how's your dog doing? His diabetes getting better? Hope that meeting with your new architect went well today. A package came for you addressed to apartment 621, and Jaime finished that fridge repair you needed this afternoon" It's uncanny. Franz and Claire (the two other front office people) do a great job too. Today in fact I had a bunch of Instacart deliveries and couldn't get home in time to receive them. Not only did they go above and beyond in accepting them on my behalf and putting all of the bags in my apartment (with my permission of course) but they even thought to check the bags for perishables and put the milk and cheese in the fridge to make sure it doesn't go bad. There is just a degree of personal care shown to residents far beyond what is required into a realm that makes this place a community that is truly more than the sum of it's parts.
Good points: Excellent STAFF! Best I have ever seen :). Nice place to live. Very central and close to everything to need to live a great life in the city. Nice courtyard fully equipped with BBQ and lounge area. Very quiet with friendly neighbors. Less good point: In my opinion "too dog friendly". I believe dog owners love the courtyard to walk their dogs and enjoy having the toilette area in the courtyard, but if you don't own a dog it could be a bit difficult sometimes. But most dog owners are very clean...but not all. Also, the courtyard is cleaned very often... so no that bad. Bad point: The rent is really too high for my small place. Like any where else in SF I guess, but that is not a reason for not mentioning it.
The management is horrible. Clair yells at guests like she is on some sort of prison guard power trip. Staying here reminds me of military training. If you break any rules you will hear about it with relentless emails from the staff. They ask you questions and invade your privacy about anyone you bring home. Stay here if you need parental control.
Pet friendly, and full of Academy students. Prime location, if you can afford it get a room here!