New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Tenant Protection Act has made conversions much more difficult for developers.

Building a Better Backup Generator

Written by Bill Morris on January 23, 2019

Battery Park City, Manhattan

Battery Park City condo is ready for the next big one(s).

Conversion from rent-stabilized would tip balance in downtown Manhattan.

It gets tricky when you don’t own the land your building sits on.

Discovering that your co-op or condo has a ground lease — a real-estate instrument in which your cooperative or condominium corporation owns the building but only leases the land, usually for periods of up to 99 years — can be unnerving. Why? Because you have to pay a monthly ground-rental fee atop your maintenance or common charges and because ground leases can be detrimental to sales: Lenders don't like to offer loans when the building has, say, less than 30 years left on a lease.


What do you do when your building doesn't own the land on which it sits? 

Yes, that's a thing — it's called a "ground lease," a real estate instrument in which a cooperative or a condominium corporation owns the building but only leases the land. Usually it's for long periods of up to 99 years, after which, theoretically, the landowner can tell the board to move the building elsewhere. And in the meantime, your monthly payments include ground rent.

They say a hard rain's gonna come. And so when the next Irene or Sandy inevitably storms into New York, downtown Manhattan buildings want to be prepared, reports This can involve a lot of things, from surveying residents, so that you know who might need special assistance to evacuate, to installing an emergency generator. And some are actively looking at deployable flood barriers. As Habitat has previously written, flood barriers aren't cheap — Liberty Terrace in Battery Park City is thinking about one that could cost $80,000, DNAInfo says. But when the alternative is displaced residents, no light or electricity, expensive restoration of ruined ground-floor and basement levels and dealing with the paperwork of insurance reimbursement and the like, it well might be worth it.

The Tribeca Trib reports on how the rental tenants of 22 River Terrace, in Battery Park City, are being forced to move out with only 90 days’ notice. Why? Because new owner Centurion Real Estate is converting the building to a condominium and acting on an unusual clause in most of the units’ leases that unilaterally cancels them.

Brick Underground also reports on the 22 River Terrace condo conversion, including a guide to what a conversion process usually entails.

Previously reporting on this story: the Battery Park City community newspaper The Broadsheet, with its title-says-it-all story "Rental Tenants Facing Eviction for Condo Conversion Allege Bad Faith by Developer."

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week: Remember that deaf grandfather a couple of weeks ago in Battery Park City, where the condo board disapproved a service dog? Yeah, that dog died, but the man has another one and the board's not pursuing eviction. However, the homeowner is still pursuing an anti-discrimination lawsuit. In better news for boards, the U.S. Senate is delaying an increase in the cost of mandatory flood insurance — and speaking of which, some New York City property managers are encouraging serious disaster-prep at their buildings. Plus, it's the latest amenity: personal shoppers! Which they still don't have at Billy Joel's former co-op, now up for sale.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, we learn that property taxes are going up. That's news? It is when the jump will be 5.5 percent for co-ops and 7.4 percent for condos (per the New York Post) or 7.5 percent for co-ops and 9.6 percent for condos (per The Wall Street Journal) — as opposed to just 3.8 percent for owners of single-family homes! Wait, don't single-family homes already get their assessed values capped at 2 percent each year, while there's no cap on how high co-op and condo valuations can rise? Plus: We've board members who somehow couldn't predict the headline "Deaf Grandfather Fights Condo Board to Keep Service Dog." And isn't all this is exactly the kind of stuff a new co-op / condo social-media site will let apartment-owners talk about amongst themselves?

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