New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




Being on your co-op or condo board carries a lot of responsibility, liability, and, let's face it, headaches.

From building repairs and maintenance, energy upgrades, insurance, lobby redesigns, accounting and financing - the challenges facing co-op and condominium board directors are endless. In this series, Habitat Magazine editors interview New York City experts to learn how problems have been solved at their client co-op and condo buildings. We take a deep dive into the issues being confronted, the possibilities for solutions, the costs, the challenges, and the outcomes.

March 29, 2023
Season 1
Episode 19

All About the Terracotta Fix

There are countless buildings in New York City that owe their elegance to terracotta. Caring for it, though, has grown more complicated and expensive in the past few years. Richard Koenigsberg, the founder and president of Koenigsberg Engineering, explains why this is so and what to expect if terracotta is on your building.  Richard Koenigsberg is interviewed by Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine.

March 15, 2023
Season 1
Episode 18

Don’t Get Squeezed on Liability Insurance

It’s much more difficult for co-ops and condos to get a good general liability insurance policy today. There are fewer carriers, coverage is shrinking and price tags are growing. In this episode, Jonathan Steward, vice president at OSA Insurance Brokerage Services, explains what co-op and condo boards need to do to find an affordable carrier in this challenging market. Jonathan Steward is interviewed by Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine.

March 7, 2023
Season 1
Episode 17

Hot Water Without the Wait

When apartment residents have to wait 15 to 20 minutes for hot water to reach them, it’s not only a nightmare but it’s wasteful and expensive. In this episode, Peter Varsalona, principal and vice president at RAND Engineering & Architecture, outlines the fix at one Manhattan condo to recirculate the water at a faster pace and cut costs in doing so. Peter Varsalona is interviewed by Habitat's Carol Ott.

A Westchester condo thought it had an insurance deal from a new carrier. But after the carrier inspected the property, it decided the physical conditions weren’t up to snuff and it wanted to walk, leaving the condo in the lurch. In this episode, Jason Schiciano, co-president at Levitt-Fuirst Insurance, explains what happened next, and offers some words of insurance wisdom to others who might be facing the same situation. Jason Schiciano is interviewed by Bill Morris for Habitat Magazine.

February 15, 2023
Season 1
Episode 15

Got Water Leaks? Robots to the Rescue

Detecting the source of water leaks on building roofs and exterior walls can sometimes be more difficult than fixing the problem. But Akaash Kancharla, chief executive at aRoboticsCompany, has some good news for co-ops and condos — a new generation of sophisticated robotic machines that can pinpoint air and water leaks in buildings for far less than paying humans to do the job. Akaash Kancharla is interviewed by Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine.

February 8, 2023
Season 1
Episode 14

Riding the Solar Roller Coaster

It’s no surprise that it’s hard to keep up with programs and subsidies involving solar energy; the industry changes so fast that it’s jokingly referred to as the solar coaster. In this episode, Russell Wilcox, founder and CEO of the solar developer Urban Energy, describes “Behind the Meters,” a configuration that flows electricity directly to apartments rather than into the wider electric grid. Russell Wilcox is interviewed by Paula Chin for Habitat Magazine.

February 1, 2023
Season 1
Episode 13

Avoiding The Mortgage Refinancing Mistake

Among the many financing decisions facing co-op and condo boards, refinancing the property's underlying mortgage — which is typically done to pay for capital repairs — is one of the most challenging, and complicated. In this episode, Harley Seligman, senior vice president at the National Cooperative Bank, sheds light on the biggest misstep boards make when refinancing  — which is not borrowing enough. Harvey Seligman is interviewed by Paula Chin for Habitat Magazine.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but co-op and condo boards can save money by doing major building repair projects back-to-back. Leon Geoxavier, senior project manager at Howard Zimmerman Architects, and Evan Petkanas, president of STONE Engineering & Architecture, are here to tell us how one building facing both a roof replacement and facade repairs did just that. The price tag was hefty, but smaller than if the projects had been done separately. Leon Geoxavier and Evan Petkanas are interviewed by Bill Morris for Habitat Magazine.

January 12, 2023
Season 1
Episode 11

Insurance Gaps Happen More Often Than You Think

When it comes to property insurance, co-op and condo boards can’t be too careful about making sure they are adequately protected. In this episode, Gina Corso, business account manager at the insurance firm Mackoul Risk Solutions, tells the story of how one oceanfront condo discovered its carrier didn’t cover its beachfront exposure — and had to scramble to find a solution. Gina Corso is interviewed by Paula Chin for Habitat Magazine.

Brace yourself for the next cycle of New York City’s facade inspection program, because projects are becoming top heavy with soft costs. Take the initial inspection. In the past that could cost a 15-story co-op or condo $9,000, now it’s anywhere from $31,000 to $53,000. That’s only the start, and you haven’t even replaced one brick. In this episode, Eugene Ferrara, president of the consulting and engineering firm JMA Consultants, explains how to navigate this difficult, and costly, market. Eugene Ferrara is interviewed by Paula Chin for Habitat Magazine.

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Ask the Experts

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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