New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

HABITAT

HARLEM

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, why didn't anyone tell Co-op City's residents there were outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease? Why did a community board recommend a restaurateur's liquor license over the objections of people living in the same building? And why did a smokers'-rights group butt out of a condo forum? Plus: You can't take your kid's stroller into the passenger elevator? Seriously? 

Our uptown neighbors at 45 Central Park North are keeping busy with capital work: the six-story, 47-unit cooperative (built in 1903) in central Harlem swung into action this past August, spending time and a cool $287,000 to keep the aging building ship-shape. The project is slated for completion this month.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, condo-owners at the landmarked American Tract Society Building a.k.a. 150 Nassau Street, swill be welcoming a Denny's restaurant, after all. Well, maybe "welcoming" is too strong a word. In Brighton Beach, the ultra-green condo at 67 Brighton 1st Lane may or may not still be called Bright N' Green, but it's back in the news. Upcoming Late Night host Seth Meyers buys in Greenwich Village. And condo owners at The Lennox say its construction was bollocksed. Plus: Tips on spotting a friendly / liberal co-op board.

Sugar Hill evokes mixed feelings in Albelisa Kemp, a project manager at Rand Architecture & Engineering. “It’s a beautiful district; there’s some really amazing stonework,” she says, while admitting to some disappointment: the historic district, located in the northern part of the Hamilton Heights section of Harlem, has also unfortunately seen a lot of deterioration over the years.

An exception to that trend is 470 Convent Avenue. The six-story, Beaux-Arts brick building is undergoing a façade, roof and window renovation. “The building is an icon,” board president Michael Davu says, noting that it was designed by architects Gross & Kleinberger and constructed in 1911. “People come to the neighborhood from everywhere, so we get a lot of foot traffic,” he adds. The property has eight commercial stores on an avenue that is otherwise almost all residential.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, winds of change sweep New York City as Hurricane Sandy strands seniors and clobbers cars. Plus, advise on filing your insurance claims, a heads-up on changes to real estate advertising, and do you want to buy Celeste Holm's home? For condo and co-op boards, the lawsuit against The Dakota's board takes a turn, secret-identity sales increase and we give some options to help counter illegal renting.

Though a sponsor or developer must, by law, turn over control of the condo or co-op board after 50 percent of the apartments are sold or five years have elapsed after the first closing, whichever comes first, we're all familiar with sponsors who overstay their welcome, creating refinancing obstacles and other lender issues, revolving-door rental tenants and other problems. But every once in a while, even in New York, things work out the way they're supposed to.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, they do love their cigarettes in Queens, a Long Islander may face eviction for burning the wrong kind of firewood and Petey the Pig's "parents" are trying to sell their co-op apartment and fine a more swine-friendly place. There's a Harlem co-op / condo expo April 6-7. And where the wild things aren't is in the late Maurice Sendak's co-op, now up for sale. Plus, for condo and condo and co-op boards, we've advice on mediation.

One can read about the specified duties of co-op or condo board officers but it's equally important to hear from directors themselves about what the jobs actually entails in real life. In the finale of our series "Board 101," three co-op board secretaries take a few minutes to tell you their experiences in taking a few minutes.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Greenwich Village co-op board refuses to discuss why it's evicting a financially responsible doctor's family that's owned a Fifth Avenue co-op since 1985, and residents of Harlem's Riverbend co-op are asking why the board just re-upped a management company they say has let the place fall into disrepair. Plus, a co-op / condo insurance checklist, and when a building installs a noisy playground, apartments overlooking it are out luck.

... co-op maintenance fees and condo common charges may soon spike, a co-op to avoid in the hot Harlem market and, of particular interest for board, the latest in kid-friendly amenities and what are multi-condominiums and can their funds be mingled?

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