New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine December 2020 free digital issue

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For E. Cooke Rand, a co-op board member at a 48-year-old white-brick building on East 84th Street, his board's initial decision to install a gym "was made conditionally, to explore the idea — what would be entailed, what all the equipment would be. We had a subcommittee of the board, three people, who did the bulk of the work and kept reporting to us — doing all this exploration to see what it could cost and whether the space was suitable. The process wasn't getting together one night, making a decision, and turning it over. We consulted through the managing agent and directly with knowledgeable architects."

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, a New York City co-op board that refuses to recognize Hanukkah? That'd be mashugana if it weren't so disturbing. Plus, another high-rise hooker, recovering from superstorm Sandy, a co-op flood wall in Yonkers and city inspectors have become unglued in Co-op City. And for co-op and condo boards that want good lobby art but can't afford it, two boards have creative solutions.

A Manhattan lingerie model on Wednesday sued her condominium over what she claims is mold from a nearly two-year-old water leak that neither the condo board nor the management company has satisfactorily addressed, and that has forced her to move out of her luxury apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. More on price floors keeping people locked in their apartments, and billionaire buyers at one midtown condo may reap 421-A tax abatements meant for lower-income housing. There's one degree of Kevin Bacon at an Upper West Side co-op trying to tone down a big honking new penthouse next door. And for co-op boards, a candidate for the New York State Assembly wants to revive the issue of board oversight and accountability.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, condo-owners don't want a visit from St. Vincent, the ex-wife of the Intuit software chairman loses out in a co-op sale, and the government wants home appraisals to be more transparent. And co-op board members can see one of their own taking the next step and running for office.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Seward Park Co-op shareholders protest the suburbanization of the Lower East Side, a church rattles a co-op's walls, and there are, like, 10,000 LEED-certified buildings in the U.S now. Is your co-op or condo one of them? Why or why not? Please discuss. Plus, an Upper West Side arborcide, mandatory volunteerism at a self-managed co-op, and a condo owner wants to turn his place into a bed-and-breakfast. Kate Winslet, on the other hand, is looking for a more long-term rental of her Chelsea condominium.

Chelsea Mourning: A Co-op Board Member Bemoans Bad Neighbors

Written by Curtis Houlihan, Secretary, 329 West 21st Street Corp. on August 21, 2012

329 W. 21st Street, Chelsea, Manhattan

When I bought a one-bedroom co-op in Chelsea in 1994, I could feel the doors of affordability close right behind me. Just a year later, my apartment would have sold for twice as much, which would've been way out of my modest price range. Today, it's worth seven or even eight times what I paid. Like a lot of folks who rode the Chelsea real estate wave, I feel like I won the lottery.

But there's a serious downside to all this "wealth" creation, and that is when your longtime neighbor cashes out for retirement in Florida or Panama, and the new buyers — who are genuinely wealthy — begin to move in.

One of the most important things co-op boards and condominium associations want from their property managers is new initiatives — ideas to help improve and upgrade your buildings, or to proactively solve problems. Fortunately, managers say that offering new ideas is a no-brainer — and a necessity if they want to be competitive with their colleagues.

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