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The Yacht Club's Stormy Story

Written by Stewart Wurtzel on March 03, 2016

Long Island

(Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series of first-person articles by Stewart Wurtzel, an attorney who was elected to the board at the Yacht Club Condominium on Long Island and helped the property recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.)

I have represented cooperatives and condominiums every day of my 32-year legal career. And on multiple occasions in every one of those years, I have had to remind my client board members that theirs is the least appreciated position on Earth. Similarly, I have had conversations or gotten requests from angry board members that made me scratch my head as to why someone on a board could get so infuriated with a resident. But after two-and-a-half years as board president, I now understand. Indeed, I have experienced the rewards and frustrations that are experienced on the client side of the phone.

Great Neck Lobby Appeals to Two Generations

Written by Tom Soter on September 02, 2015

Great Neck, Long Island

 

You never forget being a teacher, says Marion Green, and what you learn doing the job could serve you well if, for instance, you became the president of an 80-unit self-managed condominium called Cameo Plaza in Great Neck, Long Island, and your board decided to refurbish and upgrade the lobby and public spaces.

At Neptune Towers, a 152-unit co-op in Long Beach, the emergency generator failed in the midst of Superstorm Sandy. The generator had been there since the property was built in 1968, and "it was due for a replacement," recalls manager John Wolf, president of Alexander Wolf & Company.

"During Superstorm Sandy, it ran for five or six hours and then the engine ceased," says board president Rich Louis. The co-op had faced "age-related" problems in the past, he adds, involving the replacement of harder-to-find parts, "so we were at the point where we knew we had to replace it." The board hired an engineer to analyze the situation and present it with options. 

Yesterday, at around 3 p.m., a fire broke out at The Sandpiper, a condo complex on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach, Long Island. The fire was so intense, that flames and smoke could be seen from three miles away, reports Eyewitness News, and the top two floors of the three-story structure collapsed. Thankfully, since the building is used in summers, no owners or renters were present. Workers were present, however, but so far, no injuries have been reported. According to Eyewitness News, the Town of Southampton is leading the investigation.

Like many properties in the path of Hurricane Sandy, Neptune Towers, a 152-unit Long Beach co-op, lost power in October 2012. The generator had been there since the property was built in 1968, and "it was due for a replacement," recalls manager John Wolf, president of Alexander Wolf & Company.

"During Superstorm Sandy, it ran for five or six hours and then the engine ceased," says board president Rich Louis. The co-op had faced "age-related" problems in the past, he adds, involving the replacement of harder- and harder-to-find parts, "so we were at the point where we knew we had to replace it."

"The project was monumental," says Harry Seid. And the veteran property manager should know: he has been managing property for nearly half a century, most recently for Fairfield Properties. The project he's discussing was actually four jobs — replacing the fencing on the grounds as well as a number of handrails on the decks, redoing all the siding, and replacing a number of roofs — and they were scheduled to be completed within two years.

"But because the three contractors that we had here were good, because of the expertise of the board, and because of the expertise of Fairfield, we were able to expedite this job and get a two-year project done in basically seven months," Seid notes.

 

Fast work — if you can get it.

That could be the catchphrase for the recent repair job at Quail Run Condominium 1, where a major re-roofing job was completed in about 30 days.

The 160-unit condominium, located in Deer Park on Long Island, was built more than 40 years ago as a collection of one- and two-story buildings, now an enclave for the middle class. About ten years ago, leaks began appearing, although they were minor and the nine-member board felt it had them under control.

Despite all the devastation that superstorm Sandy caused to buildings in its path, one co-op found a positive among all the negatives: the old-fashioned rundown lobby had been flooded with about two feet of water, necessitating an extensive repair and renovation project. The lobby had long been a sore spot for the board. But now, it had to be upgraded — no ifs, ands, or buts.

Before its board could focus on the flooded lobby, however, the 179-unit property, called The Waters Edge at 700 Shore Road in Long Beach, had other concerns: the boiler needed to be replaced; there was more than a million dollars of electrical work required; the garage was filled with sand; the elevators were out; and most of the shareholders were living off-site (they were out for the first six weeks after Sandy hit).

Loans to co-ops or condos are usually fairly easy to place — if the association's financials are in order. One of the areas that lenders examine is the state of the association's arrears. "If you have more than 10 percent arrears, and in some cases more than 5 percent, you've got a problem," says mortgage broker Pat Niland, president of First Funding of New York.

That was the case at Lido Beach Towers, a 184-unit oceanfront condominium in Lido Beach, on Long Island. This luxury property had suffered severe flood damage from superstorm Sandy, and it needed millions of dollars for repairs. It was not the first time the board had needed funds for such work, however.

Earlier this month, Tudor Oaks — which consists of five two-story garden-style apartment buildings — reverted from a co-op to a rental property after going into foreclosure. It's a very rare, and extremely sad, occurrence, but documents confirm that the 106-unit property in Middle Island, Suffolk County, was sold at auction, after it failed to reorganize under Chapter 11. Now shareholders are left with unsecured loans, rather than share loans, since the stock and leases were canceled. And it was a tense Thanksgiving for tenants who, since they aren't shareholders, are now wondering where they stand in this whole mess. CBS New York reported that Fairfield Properties, the new owner, told 1010 Wins' Mona Rivera it has no plans to evict anyone. Fairfield Properties added that it "has invited every occupant to apply to become a tenant with Fairfield, and many occupants have already accepted that invitation." But the situation for renters is a little more complicated. According to Rivera's report, Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a spokesperson for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, stated that tenants received letters from Fairfield letting them know that as of Nov. 17, anyone occupying a unit who is not the shareholder no longer has a right to remain in that unit. The letter to renters from Fairfield also states that it will send out a separate notice "with respect to options and payments." Now many of these renters may end up having to find a new place to live.

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