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Opinion: If Scott Brown Wants Dessert, He Should Have To Finish His Dinner

scott brown properties denton tx

Scott Brown recently unveiled his newest project: a luxury hotel on the Square, occupying the area currently utilized by Wells Fargo (the building, the parking lots, and the drive thru ATMs). Although that land can certainly be put to better use than it is currently and I’m sure we all want new cool things to do on the Square, respectfully, this ain’t it. “The Brown” is, as its name would indicate, a vanity project that adds little of value for Dentonites. This city has been gentrifying hard and fast. We pride ourselves on being an arts town, but where have the artists gone? Few artists can afford rent in the properties they formerly rented from him. He took their rent money and their efforts at creating a vibrant town and put it to work making sure they would no longer be able to continue living here.

This is, of course, the gentrification blueprint. I’ve heard that gentrification plays a secret chord, and it pleases the landlord. Now, it goes like this: 

The fourth: Take a vibrant community where artists and small business owners congregate due to the low rents, buy up as much property as you can on the cheap, and begin to market it as a vibrant community.

The fifth: Let rich folks move into the homes of those very same artists.

The minor fall: wipe out a bit of the housing in town to build some roads or a park or something. Some might call it “shrinking supply to increase your prices,” but you can call it “progress.”

The major lift: Along the way, increase the rent 4x. Even better if you can avoid paying to build new housing and continue to rent the same housing you’ve steadfastly refused to repair. Maybe slap in a granite countertop to keep the new guys happy. 

And, let’s be clear, Brown has indeed failed to repair his housing. The artists and small business owners who have poured their love and efforts into this community have made their homes more desirable to rich people than repairs ever would. Scott just collects the checks from people desperate to participate in the community other people have built.

In a 2016 NTDaily story on Scott Brown properties, residents reported being assured, prior to signing a lease, that the mold they saw in a property would be taken care of before they moved in.  That turned out to be a lie. 

“I started moving my stuff in and was walking around the carpet, and I realized that there were bugs on me,” Pratt said. “So I called my friend and I had him come over, and we walked around and he was like, ‘These are fleas.’”

Pratt said because she is allergic to mold, the discovery forced to wait another month before moving into the house, due to unlivable conditions. Further inspection of the residence, Pratt said, revealed multiple other flaws, including visible holes in the floors that went down to the foundation, as well as mold in one of the closets.

Recent Google reviews aren’t any better. Here are some selections:

September 2021: The carpet was 9 years old and infested with bugs and the cheap plastic tubs were cracked and when asked to fix the the repair We had to wait 3 months without a shower before they finally showed.

February 2022: Not to mention the poor condition the apartment was in when I first moved in and how many maintenance problems came throughout my lease. And once addressed to his employees I was always mistreated and felt disrespected has my problems seem to be on the back board for them and always on their time. I have never once spoke to or have received one message from Scott Brown himself.

February 2022: This has to be, hands-down, the worst experience I’ve ever had with a rental company. [..]  Let me start describing the unit by describing the roaches. They’re everywhere, I see them multiple times a day, sometimes they’re as big as my palm. When I called the property manager about it, he said “It’s just a part of apartment living.” Thanks, Kyle. Thanks. This unit was terrible, all in all. There was grime on everything, paint splatters everywhere, floorboards are curling up from the floor, exposed carpet nails and the ceiling leaked in three different places within a month of my move-in. All of the electrical outlets were loose and ungrounded (which is a fire hazard). The carpet in the bedroom had some giant stiff spot that smelled like cat pee

The reason people rent from Scott Brown is not because he has put effort into treating his properties or tenants well. It is because of the combined efforts of thousands of Dentonites loving our community enough to make it excellent. Scott just turns that love and effort into profit for himself.

Scott currently owns thousands of rental units in Denton and is collecting millions in rent a month. He should use that flood of cash to repair what he rents to our local college students and families before he builds a “luxury” anything, let alone a luxury hotel for rich out-of-town folks that takes up our downtown. Maybe he could even consider dropping rent, or building some affordable housing where people want to live. As my mom always says, finish your dinner before you start your dessert. 

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