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Sailmaker Condominium Uses Two Revenue Streams to Repair Its Retaining Wall

Taking a beating. Hurricane Sandy did a number on the Sailmaker condominium on City Island in the Bronx. Wind and the churning waters of the Long Island Sound sent boats from the nearby marinas smashing into the property’s retaining wall, damaging it beyond repair. Teresa Tramposch, board treasurer at the 34-unit condominium and an owner of an engineering company, was tapped to head the committee that would oversee the reconstruction of the wall. It was an epic challenge. “We couldn’t see how we were going to pay for it,” she says.


Payment plan. In late 2017 the committee wrote requests for proposals and wound up hiring BlueShore Engineering of Teaneck, N.J., which understood that the condo had limited resources and needed to get the job done as inexpensively as possible. Working with the association’s controller, Tara Riordan of the Ferrara Management Group, the committee devised a two-pronged revenue stream. First, a separate account was opened exclusively for the repair project, and it was fed by savings from strict cost controls. “We kept a very tight budget,” Riordan says, “we made sure there were no cost overruns, and we put other big projects on hold.” The second revenue stream was a six-month assessment that ranged from $4,800 to $10,800, depending on the size of the unit. 


Attention to detail. Together, the two streams generated the $450,000 to pay for the project. The need for the assessment was laid out at a meeting in April 2019, at which BlueShore’s president, Richard Gilbert, gave unit-owners a copy of the engineering drawings and walked them through the intricacies of the project. Though the budget was squeaky tight, the board decided to spend $15,000 to hire BlueShore as its construction manager. “They did weekly site visits,” Tramposch says, “and they were sticklers that things were done according to specifications. That was one of the reasons we were successful. It was worth every penny.”


Sea change. Shoreline repairs post a unique challenge. “There are no standard details out of a book,” Gilbert says. On this job, the bedrock is so close to the surface that driving piles would have been prohibitively expensive. “So we poured a slab on the bedrock with anti-washout, fast-curing concrete,” he says. A 150-foot-long retaining wall of poured concrete was placed on top of the slab. “The concrete is tailored to the ocean environment,” Gilbert says, “and this was the most efficient and least expensive way to do the job.”

Rising tide. While work was underway last summer, the condominium’s pool, also damaged by Sandy, was finally reopened. Now that things are back to normal, Tramposch is feeling a sense of accomplishment. The proof is in the sale prices. “Property values had dipped,” she says. “But right now, units are selling at record prices.”

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