New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Congress and the president save the mortgage-interest deduction, buildings in the flood zone, including co-ops and condos, may be required to buy flood insurance, Spielbergian producers sell their co-op and Manhattan apartment prices about to go up.

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, even paying all-cash and additionally transferring a year's maintenance and $30,000 extra into an escrow wasn't enough for a Murray Hill co-op board being sued after allegedly leading a buyer on. Oh, and they also wanted his British documents translated to, um, English. And you wonder why a new sitcom makes fun of co-op boards. Plus, The Sheffield gets a work by renowned sculptor David Hostetler, and OSHA cites poor construction in a Brighton Beach condo collapse.

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.

In the world of co-op and condo amenities, the midtown condominium The Sheffield has just served up a tasty new dish on a platter: a restaurant partnership entitling residents to a host of perks at eateries owned by the David Burke Group — at no extra cost to the buildings homeowners.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week: When co-op / condo sales prices go down,  property taxes still go up because market prices don't count in the computation. Now Albany says they should count — also to make property taxes go up. New York City Councilwoman Letitia James and others are trying to break this damned-if-you-do / damned-if-you-don't cycle. 

Plus, while Co-op City's management fights a court order to accommodate a wheelchair resident, Co-op City's board votes to accommodate him. Maybe Co-op City needs new management — especially since manager RiverBay Corp. just got the place fined $85,000 over another disability denial. What do they have against disabled people, anyway? They cost too much? We've the latest on income-restrict apartments, how to stage for a sale and two sales records set, and how'd you like to do David Duchovny's co-op admissions interview?

... building blogs, renovation, landmarking and more — including, for board, the latest news on managing-agent payola and virtual meetings.

After a scheduled March 19 hearing was adjourned, a settlement was reached yesterday on the courthouse steps in the case of two midtown condo owners sued to force eviction of their male-prostitute tenant.

Stephan Greving, who went by the nom-de-whore Dave Bruno, will be evicted from the nearly 600-unit The Sheffield. Kelly Ringston of Braverman & Associates, the attorney for the board, confirmed but could not disclose details of the settlement, which board member Larry Wagner said he expects will be formalized "next week."

The Sheffield, a nearly 600-unit luxury condominium at 322 West 57th Street, has weathered its share of travails. Built in 1978 as a rental near the dowdy old Coliseum, it was purchased for condo conversion in 2005 and briefly became Sheffield57. You may recall that as the site of a widely publicized lawsuit by the condo-owner association against the conversion developer, and of subsequent adroit negotiations that saved the place from a second-rate fate.

And now comes the curious case of the male escort, carrying less the poignant charm of Liz Taylor in Butterfield 8 than it does the rueful chuckles of Rob Schneider's Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.

As initially reported by The Real Deal's Leigh Kamping-Carder, the condo board of The Sheffield filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court on March 1 against attorney Bruno Cova and his wife Bettina Beck, owners of the apartment where police arrested Stephan Greving last October on a misdemeanor count of prostitution. Greving, who pleaded guilty and was released on his own recognizance, advertised through a make-escort website with the charmingly evocative name Rentboy.com.

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