Written by Frank Lovece on May 31, 2012
Are New York City elevator inspectors being arbitrary in finding violations, or is something even more troublesome going on?
"My super will say, 'The [elevator]inspector was here today,' and we go through the process with our service company to get costs on fixing the violations and deciding how to do this most cost-effectively," says Grant Varga, a longtime board member at the 13-story prewar co-op 12 West 67th Street, near Central Park. "Then, a couple of months later, a different inspector will come here and we get more violations. Why didn't the first inspector catch what the second one called violations?" he asks.
Veteran managing agent Gerard J. Picaso, president of Gerard J.Picaso Inc., who is unaffiliated with Varga's building, has had the same experience. "You do the work, and then another inspector says, 'Here's a bunch of other stuff that's wrong.' You go, 'Wait a minute. We just fixed a bunch of things.' But another guy looks at it from a different angle and you're back to doing more work."
Eleanor Selling, an anthropologist by training and former trade-desk manager at J.P. Morgan Chase, has been part of the renovation committee at 5 Riverside Drive in Manhattan since 2011. The former board president recently sat down with Habitat Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Carol J. Ott, to discuss leadership qualities and lessons learned on the job.
December 28, 2012
Homeowners rose in tax revolt again in 2012, yet politicians still failed to act to solve inequities hurting co-ops and condominiums. A board may have helped drive a resident to suicide. No-smoking rules, digitized offering plans and automated water-meter readers all made the news. And good boards and bad have their say and their day in some of the year's most interesting utterances.
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 July 31, 2013
By all accounts, the original Schwab House was a beauty to behold. An extravagant, 75-room mansion located on Riverside Drive between West 73rd and West 74th Streets, it was constructed for steel magnate Charles M. Schwab and has been called “the grandest and most ambitious house ever built on the island of Manhattan.” It combined details from three French Renaissance châteaux and took four years to build at a cost of $6 million. After Schwab’s death, however, the building fell on hard times. It was demolished and replaced in 1951 by a 17-story, 633-unit building that was also called the Schwab House. It went co-op in 1984.
Now, in a small way, some of its predecessor’s grandeur may be returning to the property.
Written by Frank Lovece on October 17, 2013
A five-year capital plan is an important tool co-op boards and condominium associations need in order to move their building forward in a cohesive, strategic way that optimizes the resources at hand. Trouble is, once you put something in writing, your shareholders and unit-owners don't always understand that real life sometimes gets in the way: The economy plunges, and banks won't give you the loan you need; you want to install a gym, but heavy snow and unseen longtime damage makes your garage roof cave in. You know how it goes. So with residents ready to pounce, should you share the plan with the shareholders/unit-owners?
October 28, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, police erroneously force a doorman to let a delinquent owner into her condo apartment — while almost simultaneously, a judge is ruling that she pay up first. Add the fact this occurred at the condominium where Joan Rivers is board president only goes to show that no matter who you are, board members (as another comedian put it) get no respect, I tell ya. Except here, of course, and for boards we've news of a lawsuit against an insurance agent who procured inadequate flood coverage, efforts to keep an alleged hoarder away and that graffiti on the side of your building? It may be worth six figures.
Written by Ronda Kaysen on October 03, 2013
It happens more often with co-op buildings, but the occasional golden opportunity sometimes arises when a condominium association can buy, perhaps fix up and then sell an apartment and reap the profit. Yet aside from all the same issues a co-op board faces in terms of pricing the unit properly for sale and deciding whether to use a broker, as discussed in past articles in this series, condominiums have their own specific issues that, when properly addressed, need not be obstacles.
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.
September 02, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, for some reason, we're big on board-specific news: boards suing developers and residents, a board president squeezing "donations" from building vendors for a political bid and a board turning amateur cop and firing employees it suspects of thievery — hindering the investigation by actual cops. A George ZImmerman board, as it were. Plus, exclusive co-ops learn to compete for buyers and an alleged illegal hotelier has people arrested who complain! Man, late August is crazy!
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