New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

BOARD OPERATIONS

HOW CO-OP/CONDO BOARDS OPERATE

Argo and AMS Are Latest Management Companies to Tie the Knot

Bill Morris in Board Operations on September 10, 2021

New York City

Property management companies, mergers, back office, compliance.

Mark Moskowitz of Argo (left) and Steve Kramberg of AMS are joining forces.

Sept. 10, 2021

For the past several years, the companies that service New York co-ops and condos – law firms, property management companies, elevator consultants and others – have been swept by a wave of mergers and acquisitions. Driven by the high cost of doing business, many of these companies are finding that bigger is smarter and better.

The latest to ride this wave are a venerable Manhattan-centric property management company and a Brooklyn-centric boutique operation that found it made sense to join forces – for reasons of geography, company culture and the nuts and bolts of the business. Beginning this month, Argo Management will be the parent of Advance Management Services (AMS), which is based in Brooklyn Heights and manages 45 co-ops and condominiums located primarily in Brooklyn, plus a handful in Queens and Manhattan.

“I was looking for two things,” says Steve Kramberg, the president and founder of AMS, who says he has rebuffed several merger offers from bigger management companies in recent years. “The first was a user-friendly group. The second was our need for a bigger back office, especially to handle compliance. With so many local laws, compliance is getting more and more difficult and taking more and more of our time.”

Mark Moskowitz, the chairman of Argo Real Estate, stresses the compatibility of the two companies. “We were looking for a company with a similar culture that would make this alliance work,” he says. “We’re a family business, started by my father in 1952.”

In addition to managing properties, Argo Real Estate owns properties and offers brokerage services. It’s management portfolio consists of more than 10,000 co-op and condo units, primarily in prewar, doorman buildings in Manhattan.

“This is an opportunity for Argo to expand its footprint into Brooklyn,” Moskowitz says. “At the same time, AMS is benefiting from the scale of our inhouse services, as well as our award-winning educational programs, such as Argo University.” In addition to compliance, those in-house services include technology, transfers, procurement and more.

To Kramberg, size matters. “We never wanted to be part of a company too big for the kind of personal service for which we’re known,” he says. “Argo’s standing in the industry and commitment to its clients mirrors our own standards.”

The company will now be known as Advance Management Services, a Division of Argo Management.

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