HABITAT

BRICKS & BUCKS

Finally Fixing Long-Neglected Leaks in a Brooklyn Co-op

Tom Soter in Bricks & Bucks on July 3, 2013

Kensington, Brooklyn, 415 Ocean Parkway

415 Ocean Parkway

July 3, 2013 — When it rains indoors, you know you've got trouble. The board and manager at 415 Ocean Parkway had both been different when the nightmare started over five years ago, but the issue is the same today as it was then: constant leaks, some of them very bad. And the leaks have been spreading, causing bubbling in the paint and plaster, as they have moved from the bedrooms into the living rooms of a number of apartments.

Plugging the leaks

"Some of the patching that had been done had only made things worse," observes Katherine Malishewsky, the project manager for Kamen Tall Architects, called in to cope with the problems. "They had done these repairs four or five years ago, but those repairs were now failing, causing more leaks and requiring mitigation of the leaks, especially at the southeastern corner. In particular what we noticed was improper waterproofing of lintels. You'd have a little bit of waterproofing and the water would just slide through the windows. You would start to see the bulging of bricks to the side of [where the repairs had been done], which is causing unsafe issues of its own. "

The 80-unit co-op had been built in the 1930s, and, says Malishewsky, "has lots of lovely decorative elements."

But no one was looking at its beauty anymore: the new board "recognized that there were  a number of issues that had extended for a long time and needed to be taken care of," recalls Mark Levine, executive vice president of Excel-Bradshaw Management Group, who has handled the property for two years. "It was only in everyone's best interests that they take care of the leaks - instead of just covering each one up and hoping it doesn't spread."

Funding the repairs

Last summer, the board hired Kamen Tall and the firm brought in Accura Restoration to perform a series of probes to pinpoint the main problem areas. After that, Accura won the full repair job.  Because the budget was tight - the building includes a number of younger residents in their 30s, but also has a significant number of older residents on fixed incomes - Kamen Tall then worked with the contractor to bring the price of the repairs down to $274,800. One way they did that was by prioritizing: only doing the worst areas on this round, and fixing the rest as time goes by.

"The board explained to the shareholders that the work had to be done," Levine notes. "Over the years, they may have gotten away with not having to pay so much. So now they have to pay more."

The funding, however, is primarily hitting the shareholders indirectly, over time, as they pay for a new loan the co-op is taking out to fund the work. The cooperative also owns seven units in the building and hopes to sell one or more of them, plowing the cash from that into the repair work.

One at a time

"Because of all of the damage on the southeast corner, we're going to do a little metal cladding for the interior of the parapet because a lot of water is coming in from there," explains Malishewsky. "We're going to do replacement of lintels, and do appropriate waterproofing - replacing the deteriorated lintels and doing parging behind the bricks as well. Also, we will be repointing where necessary; do brick replacement where they're cracked, and do a little bit of concrete touch-up work in the lobby and in the back of the stairs."

Levine and Malishewky agree that the board has been very active in pushing this project, giving it top priority over a planned elevator modernization. "They didn't want to have two major repair projects going on at once," Levine notes. "That would have been too much."  

PROJECT   

Fixing leaks and waterproofing; replacing damaged bricks and lintels   

INVESTMENT

$274,800

 PARTICIPANTS 

Katherine Malishewsky, project manager for Kamen Tall Architects

Mark Levine, executive vice president of Excel-Bradshaw Management Group Accura Restoration, contractor 

PROPERTY TAXES

Estimated Market Value: $2,308,000 

 Assessed Value: $991,140  

RECENT APARTMENT  SALES 

Date: 2/12/13

Sales Price: $120,000   

Date: 9/21/12

Sales Price: $182,000 

Date:6/27/12

Sales Price: $93,000 

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