New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine June 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

BROOKLYN

For New Yorkers of the 1990s, Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood was the fearsome site of racial conflict, crime and the aptly named Crown Heights Riot. Lately it's been the scene of "knockout game" attacks. But architecturally, Crown Heights is a crown jewel, and now, joining its townhouses and rowhouses, comes a cornucopia of condominiums. The New York Times reports on a plethora of projects, including one at the prewar building 875 St. Marks Avenue, where all but two of its seven condos have sold for prices ranging from $470,000 to $659,000.

Co-ops may still be less expensive than condos, but that doesn't mean that costs aren't going up. In the last year, Brooklyn co-op prices skyrocketed 71 percent; Manhattan prices rose as well, but only 34 percent. According to DNAinfo, the reason for the price increase is actually the unattainable prices of condos in New York City. Compared to condos, co-ops are currently more competitive, particularly in Brooklyn, where units are more scarce – although, one expert said that available units are up everywhere, as long as buyers are willing to compromise. 

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents — but especially boards this week. A new condo in Brooklyn enhances its appeal and market value by supporting an adjacent park. A notorious Airbnb hotelier takes a fall. Learn what amenities add a lot to the cost of maintaining a co-op or condo building, and which don't. And find who NYSERDA calls New York City's top four engineering firms in helping buildings achieve energy-efficiency. Plus: Condo fire on Staten Island, tips for acing your co-op board admission interview, and the seller of a co-op in the "Ghostbusters building" (above) doesn't get slimed on the price.

Erected in 1905, the rental building at 34 Jefferson Avenue in Brooklyn, where the Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods meet, has a tangled history. Tenants took the landlord to court in 1979 and won permission to move toward becoming a limited-equity Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) co-op.

But after three years, virtually no steps had been taken toward converting the 66-unit building. In 2001, some residents came up with a strategy. If the building stopped paying its real estate taxes, it would eventually become delinquent and would then qualify for New York City's "Third Party Transfer" (TPT) program.

Alan Gorelick, the former executive vice president of the Manhattan property-management firm Saparn Realty, pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing $2.6 million from approximately 30 buildings he used to manage. He was convicted in Manhattan Supreme Court of second-degree grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument and scheming to defraud.

When you're one of the earliest residential cooperatives in New York City and you've managed to reach your golden anniversary while remaining a bastion of affordable housing, you've got reason to celebrate. Coney Island's historic Amalgamated Warbasse Houses did just that this month with a blowout for its roughly 8,000 people in 2,584 apartments across five buildings. And as the Brooklyn Daily reports, citing co-op board president Michael Silverman, it didn't cost the shareholders a single cent. 

Those bright blue bikes are everywhere these days, blocking crosswalks and creating noisy obstacles for pedestrians trying to cross the street. New York City co-ops and condos are protesting bike rack installations that they claim are dangerous and lower their property values. But is there an end to the Citi Bike saga in sight?

The condo board at 550 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, had a problem unrelated to hirsute hipsters, organic kale smoothies and double-wide strollers. It's a common problem with new construction and even in renovated pre-war apartment buildings, such as this four-story, 1920 walkup converted circa 2009 from three units to six. But what makes this case unusual, and possibly instructive to other new boards who may be facing sponsor shenanigans, this board successfully argued that just because the sponsor used different corporate names doesn't mean any of those entities can evade responsibility.

Polar vortexes and five feet of snow weren't the only things sending shivers through New York City co-op and condo boards this past winter  — so did the arrest of property manager Alan B. Gorelick, leading many boards to ask a pair of unsettling questions: Are we insured against theft? If so, is our insurance adequate?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, is Howard Beach, Queens, co-op board vice president Ellen Di Stefano Buonpastore one of the most foulmouthed in New York City? We can't say, but Howard Thompson of WPIX's "Help Me Howard" segment has a report about her, stranded seniors and an elevator repair that will astonish you. Plus, what happened to the super at The Plaza's condominiums? What's the latest in the ongoing saga of the Brighton Beach boardwalk bathrooms? Did you know boards can help resolve disputes through free mediation? And where is Mad Men man Jon Hamm hanging his hat?

1... 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Ask the Experts

learn more

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

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?