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.
In New York City, Con Edison steam is the most expensive form of heating and cooling buildings. Co-ops and condos are choosing to go from steam to natural gas and electricity not only to slash their energy bills, but also reduce carbon emissions and avoid paying fines under the city’s Climate Mobilization Act. Michael Scorrano, managing director and founder of En-Power Group, explains how one co-op made the switch.
Michael Scorrano is interviewed by Carol Ott 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.
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.
One of the most controversial projects a co-op or condo can do is to redesign its lobby. One person likes green, another likes blue. One likes marble, another likes wood. Even if everyone can agree on the redo, last minute changes can cause tumult. On today’s episode, Louis Lipson, senior associate at the architecture firm Ethelind Coblin, shares the story of a lobby project at 785 Fifth Avenue in New York City, when last minute changes to a feature wall almost derailed everything. Louis Lipson is interviewed by Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine.
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.
When it comes to managing co-op and condo finances, boards can’t afford to be complacent — yet, some are. Take the case of one New York co-op, which found itself owing $300,000 in real estate taxes and water and sewage bills due to negligent management. Avi Zanjirian, a partner at the accounting firm Czarnowski & Beer, is here to tell the cautionary tale. Avi Zanjirian is interviewed by Paula Chin of Habitat Magazine.
If you’re concerned about your building’s energy use, and particularly if you want to lower it, you’ll need to pay attention to its systems. Not just when something breaks, but all the time. Technology can do that, allowing data to be collected so that systems can be adjusted and monitored for performance. Darren Johnson, account manager at Bright Power, an energy management company, explains how the smart technology works and how buildings can take advantage of it. Darren Johnson is interviewed by Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine.
Location is everything, as they say, and that includes doorman stations. In older co-op and condo buildings, they are often situated in places that make the doorman's job a lot harder, especially when the doorman is also responsible for accepting packages. In this episode, Marilyn Sygrove, president of Sygrove Associates Design Group, shares how one co-op renovated its old, dysfunctional doorman station into one that works for today’s requirements. Marilyn Sygrove is interviewed by Paula Chin for Habitat Magazine.
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.
It’s not just unsightly — the brown water coming out of the taps in your building contains particles and sediment that can damage everything from your basement boilers all the way up to your rooftop water tank. In this episode, Spencer Kraus, vice president of Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating, explains how to stop brown water at the source before it damages your building’s plumbing systems. Spencer Kraus is interviewed by Bill Morris for Habitat Magazine.
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Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.