Larry Hohlt, board president, 40-50 E. 10th Street, Manhattan in Board Operations on April 11, 2013
Step one was to secure funding. The co-op refinanced its mortgage, taking out a $7.55 million loan and we also have a flip tax of three percent of the gross selling price.
Our first major project was the overhaul and refurbishment of our three passenger elevators. We did our periodic Local Law 11 work over the summer and into the fall of 2012. This turned out to require more time and attention than we had envisioned (hoped), in yet another example of the impact of climate change: How many "storms of the century" can one have in just a couple of years?
At any rate, we took the opportunity to also repair a number of façade features, clean the lower portions, etc. We then undertook the conversion of our heating system from oil exclusively to use of a dual burner and are now reaping considerable savings through our use of natural gas.
We also decided to do our roof replacement a year or two before we intended, in order to do it partly at the same time as the Local Law 11 work. We discovered, alas, that a number of issues relating to how the building was constructed in 1929 to 1931 required unanticipated added attention, time and cost.
Because we wanted both the Local Law 11 and the roof project to be completed before we did our front sidewalk project (which also involves addressing all the original wrought ironwork along most of our façade), we found we would be unable to complete the sidewalk project last year before the cold weather would set in. We understand that the ideal time to do sidewalks is when they have a long spell of warm/hot weather in order for the concrete to cure. So, that project is now scheduled to start sometime this spring; the proposal is out for bids.
We also recently completed the conversion of some woefully underutilized space into a new employees' room (with a spiffy new bathroom/shower), and the old employees' room will now be converted into a new office for our superintendent. It also will be available for use by the board, which is especially helpful when we have large plans to review. (We have traditionally held our meetings in one another's apartments, which is a pleasant custom.)
Backyard erosion issues, fortunately, have stabilized. Through various explorations and analysis, we concluded that the source was a ruptured underground drain pipe, which is now fixed. We still have work to do back there, but we have now put this project off for a year, possibly two, mostly to avoid having the entire building and outdoor areas seem like nothing but a continuous construction project.
Once the front sidewalk is completed — in early summer, hopefully, or late summer at worst — we will turn our attention to what I call the re-do of the lobby, the first-floor hallways and mail rooms and all landings on the upper nine floors.
Planning is already underway, but it is still very much in the formative stage. We are going to use this opportunity to address our antiquated and cranky intercom system, to introduce FiOS and other cable modernizations, and the replacement, including use of LED on the upper floors, of our lighting. This project will take much planning, and it is our intention to have it ready to start shortly after the beginning of 2014.
My advice to other co-op boards and condo associations: If you're planning on doing something like this type of program, you should get different perspectives, try to get objective advice and then move forward.
Engage, enrage, ask questions and give answers with your community of board members. Submit your questions and comments here!
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.
A free digital resource for co-op/condo board directors. Published twice a month. Read now on all digital devices.