December 16, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Chelsea condo board has won its battle with a downstairs gym, New York City investigates possible fraud by Lower East Side co-op board members and a Queens co-op says it's not soulless. The Comptroller says the City goes too easy on water-bill deadbeats, raising rates for the rest of us. An expert answers: Are condo boards as powerful as co-op boards? And Law & Order's Richard Belzer sells his co-op. Dun dun!
Written by Tom Soter on June 19, 2013
When the 25-unit co-op at 105 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights was built, its residents didn't have to worry about an elevator — because there wasn't one. It was a hotel for businessmen — and they must have been fairly fit business types, since the top floor was eight flights up.
Although 105 eventually got an elevator, its current residents are going to get a chance to relive past glories — or simply move out — when the system goes out of commission for six weeks this summer.
The job was a long time coming, says board member Melissa Kelly, who has lived in the building since 2001. "The elevator needs a lot of modernization; it has been breaking down on a regular basis. It's not been modernized at all since we converted in 1980."
Written by Tom Soter on July 03, 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.
November 25, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, the saga of Oceana may be nearing its end, as a judge halts construction on view-destroying boardwalk restrooms. Elsewhere, a condominium's residents get displaced by fire, Co-op City mulls Cablevision, and there's some legislative movement, finally, to thwart scammers who pretend to be disabled so they can have pets in no-pet buildings. Plus, Carly Simon sells her co-op, we've tips for co-op admission interviews — hopefully not like this one from Saturday Night Live — and apps, not fobs, may be the keys of the future.
October 21, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, The Plaza puts the pedal to the mettle, as the storied hotel-condominium sues to get rid of a CitiBike rack. Also suing: Corporations fighting Joan Rivers' condo nemesis Elizabeth Hazan (see last week's News Roundup), and Yoko Ono, who says her West Village co-op board is walking on thin ice. We've renovation plans a board won't like, the latest on mortgage rate-locks, and superstorm Sandy woes persist in The Rockaways, Coney Island and elsewhere.
September 23, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, from the forecourt to foreclosure, former NBA star Stephon Marbury may be in danger of losing his Manhattan apartment. Well, the one-time New York Knick plays in China now, so maybe he's being called for traveling. Plus, a lawsuit tries to stop a Sutton Place roof garden, a board oversteps by demanding "visitor approval," and hi-yo, Brooklyn! Williamsburg condo owners remember their "Wild West" days — of two years ago. For condo and co-op boards, we've tips on piercing the anonymity of LLCs, on contractors insurance and much more.
Written by Jennifer V. Hughes on August 29, 2013
For a recent hallway renovation at an Upper East Side co-op, the plan was to remove old wallpaper and replace worn carpeting. But in the process, remembers Marion Preston, former board treasurer of the 111-unit co-op, the previous board had ordered a huge supply of excess wallpaper and carpet. "They had extra of everything just in case, but no one ever used it or needed it," Preston says. "For our job, we had all-new material, so we obviously didn't need this anymore. I couldn't bear to just toss it out. It was still in its original packaging." So what to do?
August 19, 2013
This week, the co-op board of the publicly subsidized Lindsay Park Houses in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, used taxpayer money to send letters endorsing disgraced former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who — despite sexual-harassment charges by eight women and having to resign following a state Ethics Commission investigation — is running for City Council. But it seems that's legal — as is, apparently, a Florida condominium board's refusal to sell to unmarried straight or gay couples "living in sin"… and since gays can't marry in Florida, that point's especially problematic. We don't usually note news outside the metro area, but real-estate discrimination against those who don't share your religious beliefs seems more than parochially important. And in other news: Parents like playrooms as an amenity!
Written by Ronda Kaysen on August 08, 2013
Dumpy. Once upon a time, that was the best word to describe the lobby at 1150 Park Avenue, a Carnegie Hill co-op in Manhattan that featured imitation 18th-century green fabric, English-style furniture in the lobby and wallpaper that imitated stone in the vestibule. "The lobby looked dilapidated, tired and old," recalls board president Lillian Brash.
Written by Ronda Kaysen on August 01, 2013
As the housing market heats up, many co-op and condo boards are taking a fresh look at their lobbies and realizing that if shareholders and unit-owners want to get top dollar, the lobby needs to wow a potential buyer. But renovating a lobby is an expensive undertaking that can cost anywhere from tens to several hundred thousand dollars. Eager to keep costs down, many condo and co-op boards are looking for ways to refresh their lobbies without draining their capital reserves.
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