Certainly, 55 Liberty Street is a beautiful building – the base of the roof on the 28th floor is adorned with a menagerie of massive masonry eagles, lions, alligators, fish, gnomes, and assorted flora – but that beauty can quickly turn deadly. That was the case in 1993 when chunks of terra cotta broke loose from the skin of the 32-story, 80-unit co-op and plunged to the crowded sidewalk below.
Designed by Henry Ives Cobb, the free-standing terra-cotta structure was the tallest building in the world when it opened its doors in 1909. It served as offices for Sinclair Oil and other businesses until 1979, when it was converted to residential living. Two years later, it became a co-op. Now it is dealing with capital challenges, safety, and the ever-present memory of the past.
June 04, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, an Afghan War vet says his Shih Tzu helps his PTSD; co-op wonders otherwise; a condo board loses over phantom cigarette smoke; and while one co-op hopes a new commercial tenant finally takes, another backs down on tacky chains. Plus, Chloë Sevigny has no big love for her co-op anymore. And for condo / co-op boards, we've the latest on green roofs and on e-mailing notices.
June 11, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, NY1's Pat Kiernan isn't just a new anchor — he's also board president of a co-op that kept an unwanted building from going up next door. Now that's board clout. Plus: What do you with a nymphomaniac? No, no, if you don't want one around. We've also the latest new-construction woes and apartment sales-market reports. And while it involves a rental building and not a co-op or condo, you'll want to read about a near-tragedy because of a window air conditioner that fell 20 stories.
Written by Claire Wilson on June 14, 2012
Thirty-one years ago, they expected it to sell out quickly. And why not? The 33 units for sale at the newly constructed 1474 Third Avenue, between 83rd and 84th Streets, didn't face the sort of restrictions co-ops impose. And in 1981, cooperatives dominated and condominiums were a New York City rarity.
The 17-story property, which replaced a one-story movie theater, was marketed as something special. Each floor housed only two apartments; amenities included hardwood parquet floors, bathrooms with marble tiling, acoustically sprayed ceilings and video intercoms. The building itself offered some degree of privacy from hustle and bustle: In an architectural style of the time, it was situated not on the street but inside a plaza. The common charges were low and units were listed at the outset at $259,000 to $484,000.
Written by Ronda Kaysen on June 05, 2012
The River Arts cooperative in Manhattan's Washington Heights has saved $15,000 a year in electricity costs since installing rooftop solar panels two years ago — an installation partly funded by government incentives. River Arts financed the $418,000 project with a federal tax credit, a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and a city property tax abatement. In all, the credits and grants reduced their final bill to $34,560. Initially, the board estimated it would take eight to ten years to pay back the investment. Instead, it took only three.
Nevertheless, River Arts' costs have gone up by 15 percent because of rising property taxes and skyrocketing fuel costs. Property taxes cost the complex $1 million in 2012, up from $300,000 in 2005. In 2015, when the city phases out No. 6 oil, the co-op will have to use a cleaner, but costlier, fuel.
The co-op has taken many steps to lower costs. When it replaced the lighting in the communal areas with energy-efficient fixtures, it took advantage of a $15,000 NYSERDA grant that brought the price down from $51,000 to $36,000. It took the co-op two years to pay.
Written by Claire Wilson on May 15, 2012
As spotlighted in N.Y. Habitat’s "Silhouette" column in June 1982, the cooperative at 22 West 26th Street was billed as "one of Midtown's last and best loft conversions," with open-plan apartments and views of the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center. Less than 50 percent of the industrial buildings on the block at the time had been converted to residential use, and local zoning preserved much of the gritty feel that drew buyers to New York City's Flatiron District.
Written by Robert Muldoon and Nick Prigo on May 10, 2012
All too often, when co-op / condo boards and other buildings owners decide to go green, the first thing they want to do is install solar panels. But it doesn't matter how many solar panels are on a roof if the electricity they generate is wasted somewhere else in a building. Which makes more sense? Spending thousands of dollars on solar panels to keep lights on 24 hours a day, or having a green super implement strategies for efficient lighting and lighting controls?
The sidewalks in front of this aging co-op needed replacement: they were cracked and unsightly. But the job came as no surprise to the board and its management firm, Cooper Square Realty: the board has been monitoring the condition of the property closely as it adheres to a 10 -year capital plan. “Our first priority is the shareholders,” he says. “We want to protect their investment. It’s a very well-maintained building in a great location.”
April 30, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. New York City Controller John Liu wants to hear from co-ops, condos and others who suspect the Department of Finance overvalued your building for tax purposes. Plus, a Queens co-op is putting up signs to try to prevent people parking legally on a public street, the Attorney General gives developers an extra six months to digitize their offering plans, and a co-op board goes after a widow and widower. And speaking of boards, a lawyer tells how to collect arrears by cutting off amenities.
April 16, 2012
... the Sheffield condominium's male prostitute is getting evicted, but not for, like, a month, and there's visiting-dog trouble at a Riverdale co-op. For co-op and condo boards, we have another case of going out of your way to make life hell for older residents, and an expert says a co-op board president can let his cousin sublet longer than other shareholders can.
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