Tom Soter in Board Operations on August 7, 2014
Predictability is a good thing in running a property. So is stability. Both words could be the governing slogan of Booher, who became president in 1979 when the rental went co-op. (He has lived in the building since 1971; his mother-in-law had lived there since 1943.)
The Wild, Wild East
It hasn't been easy. "I wish I had known how complicated New York real estate was when I first got on the board," says Booher. "Unfortunately, when we were new board members in a new co-op, we thought we knew quite a bit. But the reality of Manhattan co-ops back then was that it was a new frontier. At the time, there was great trepidation as to whether the concepts of co-ops could work in this town. There were a lot of problems."
But Booher and the board persevered, and they were assisted by Buchbinder & Warren, the management company that had worked for the sponsor and stayed on. The building, built in 1927, needed improvements — plumbing, electrical and exterior work, among other items. But Norman Buchbinder, a principal in the firm, and Rosemary Paparo, the site agent from 1977 to 1984, were there to guide the newly minted shareholders.
Strategize on the Prize
It's been relatively smooth sailing in recent years. "When something's on a good track, you just keep it in line," Paparo says. "As a result, we don't have crises in that building. We may have a broken pipe in the middle of the night, but nothing that's unmanageable. We never have financial crises because we try to plan out everything with the board as far in advance as possible. We try to strategize."
"Anticipation rather than reaction is our mantra," says Booher, who adds that the attention to detail has paid off: "Apartments sold for $20,000, $30,000 at conversion. If you look at today's pricing, that was a pretty good investment all around."
Photo by Jennifer Wu. Click to enlarge.
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