New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine June 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

MANHATTAN

Looking around the Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill District in Upper Manhattan, Albelisa Kemp, a project manager at Rand Architecture and Engineering, admits to a little disappointment. “It’s a beautiful district; there’s some really amazing stonework. But the level of decay is sad. The landlords and residents just don’t care.”

An exception to that trend is 470 Convent Avenue. The six-story Beaux Arts brick building, designed by architects Gross & Kleinberger and constructed in 1911, is undergoing a vast exterior, roof, and window renovation. “The building is an icon,” says board president Michael Davu. “We have eight commercial stores on what is not a commercial avenue. People come to the neighborhood from everywhere, so we get a lot of foot traffic.”

An onsite gym has become standard in virtually all new developments, and many older buildings are retrofitting to include them. In two past articles we've looked at how real estate professionals value them, and at the standard steps co-op and condo boards take to make the decision and to make it a reality. Now we look at the final piece: security and insurance.

Far beyond being a trend, gyms, also known as health clubs and fitness centers, are becoming as ubiquitous as lobbies and elevators. You'd be hard put to find a single new-construction condominium that doesn't have one, and many older cooperatives and condos, anxious to stay up-to-date, are weighing the option so as not to look like dumbbells. "If you don’t have one, you’re at a competitive disadvantage," says Deanna Kory, a senior vice president and associate broker at Corcoran Group Real Estate. "There are people who look at two similarly sized apartments who will be swayed to the building with the gym — often."

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, we're still waiting for the New York State legislature to keep its commitment to renew the tax abatement that tries to equalize co-op / condo property taxes with those of single-family homes and townhouses. Plus, experts advise you on preparing your co-op admission package, on upping your credit score and on not rushing into a mortgage. For condo and co-op boards we've expert advise on the best and worst types of commercial tenants you can have in your building. And for Coen heads, we've word on Ethan's apartment

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, an Upper East Side co-op owner with pot-smoking friends wishes the board would just chill out, dude. Plus, a dearth of condos makes it harder to buy the one you want, the mighty Thor Equites vanquishes a condo board, and no-FEMA apartments.

I'm co-op board president of a a 33-unit building directly behind One57, the tower being built at 157 West 57th Street, by the developer Extell and the construction company Lend Lease. On Monday, October 29, the day of superstorm Sandy, I was working at home, so lost in what I was doing I didn't hear anything until my wife came in with a horrified expression and said, "Carl, the crane on top of that Extell building just broke."

I went downstairs and asked a policeman on the corner, "Will we be evacuated?"

He said: "Oh, you're already evacuated. Police are clearing your building right now. Don't even bother to go home." That seemed kind of strange to me, considering I just came from there. 

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, politicians continue to promise tax abatement. Still haven't passed it yet, though. Plus, an upscale Brooklyn condo forbids smoking in apartments, gardening space is the newest amenity and fans make pilgrimage to The Odd Couple's co-op apartment building in the wake of Jack Klugman's death. Your co-op apartment building should be so revered, bubala.

Now it was time to talk to the dame's mouthpiece. Adam Leitman Bailey had made a name for himself writing books about real estate, like Finding the Uncommon Deal (2011). He had a pretty swell set-up, down on Broadway near the courthouses. He was the kind of guy that judges called, "Your honor."

We represent a condominium on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. One of its units was unoccupied, with no common charges paid for more than a year and a mortgage that was for more than its market value. 

The first mortgagee — the lender — has a first lien on the unit ahead of the condominium (unlike with co-ops, and something the condo community should strongly lobby to repeal). So, if we were to foreclose the condominium lien for the outstanding common charges, the result would be that after protracted and expensive legal proceedings the lender would receive all of the foreclosure proceeds. That would leave no reimbursement for the condominium of either its arrears or its legal fees.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week's riddle: In a no-dog building is a pet pig livestock? Plus, the federal Interstate Land Sales Full-Disclosure Act (ILSA) takes a homeowner-protection hit, we tell you where can you buy a co-op apartment for just $250 to $1,800, and The Rushmore condominium swears it meant to be finished by 2009 and that 2008 promise? Just a typo! And for co-op and condo boards, we have news about collecting monthly charges in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

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?