New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue



Federal government hits developer for failing to provide accommodations.

The Hard Truth About a Condo Board’s Right of First Refusal

Written by Dale J. Degenshein on August 26, 2019

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Brooklyn buyer asks: What’s wrong with my $850,000?

The Edge Condo in Brooklyn Has Seen the LED Light

Written by Bill Morris on April 24, 2019

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Board shaves electricity bill by $40,000 a year with lighting retrofit.

Liens filed against Chinese developer over $250,000 in unpaid common charges.

Sponsors are bending to condo buyers' demands.

Sponsor not responsible for $2 million in construction flaws.

Condo conversion to feature a “jam room” for musicians.

Once upon a time there was a bakery at 331-333 Kent Avenue. When artist Cosimo Cavallaro bought the building, he had big plans for it. Brownstoner reports that, in 2004, Cavallaro wanted to convert the once bakery-then artist loft into an 11-story luxury condo called Punctilio. It was not to be, however. In 2012, the spacious building near the Williamsburg Bridge sold for $5,000,000. All we know about the new owner is that it's an LLC. And thanks to Brownstoner we also know that the mystery owner plans to develop a huge gallery space with apartments, most likely condos. "The first two floors will house a cafe, reception and art gallery over 7,805 square feet…. A two-story addition is [also] planned, which will house two duplex apartments with terraces over 4,663 square feet." The Department of Buildings (DOB) has reportedly given a thumbs down to the planned expansions. And we agree with Brownstoner, which praised the modernity of the new design, but added: "We think it would be even better if the original building were restored, arched brick windows and all."

A condo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has instituted a policy that requires buyers to pay $1,500 capital contribution charge. According to one of the condo's unit owners, "the bylaws do not give the board authority to require a capital contribution in this situation. In my view, it is essentially a flip tax." What if future boards decide to increase the fee? Is there a way to nip this in the bud? The unit owner reaches out to Ronda Kaysen in the latest "Ask Real Estate" column in The New York Times for some advice. Kaysen explains that the bylaws must give the board explicit permission to collect a capital contribution such as this $1,500 charge. If not, "then the board has certainly overstepped its boundaries" and essentially amended its bylaws — which it can only do if two-thirds of the unit owners vote in favor. Good news for the concerned unit-owner, right? Wrong. Kaysen adds that "the board could probably enforce the rule without a vote." And what if a buyer doesn't want to pay? Well, then, the board can block the sale. What are the odds you'll go to court over 1,500 bucks?

The Salvation Army thrift shop at 176 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg was demolished last year. Talk about location, location, location. Williamsburg is pretty hot stuff and getting hotter by the second. So it doesn't come as a huge shock that the Sally has scrapped plans to build "a two-story, 10,000-square-foot building" (which were three years in the making), and opted instead to sell the prime piece of property, according to the New York Observer’s Commercial Observer. Major Charles S. Foster, the command property secretary major for the Salvation Army, confirmed to the Commercial Observer that "the site is being marketed by Steve Bodden and Jack Lerner of Sanchez Bodden Lerner." As far as buyer and price go, mum's the word. speculates that given the busy corner location, rentals would make sense, "but the market has been turning to condos lately so who knows." Looks like potential condo buyers have something to keep their eye on in the next few years.

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