New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine October 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

SCHWAB HOUSE

By all accounts, the original Schwab House was a beauty to behold. An extravagant, 75-room mansion located on Riverside Drive between West 73rd and West 74th Streets, it was constructed for steel magnate Charles M. Schwab and has been called “the grandest and most ambitious house ever built on the island of Manhattan.” It combined details from three French Renaissance châteaux and took four years to build at a cost of $6 million. After Schwab’s death, however, the building fell on hard times. It was demolished and replaced in 1951 by a 17-story, 633-unit building that was also called the Schwab House. It went co-op in 1984.

Now, in a small way, some of its predecessor’s grandeur may be returning to the property. 

Lance Kolb, manager of the 650-unit Schwab House co-op, on Manhattan's Upper West Side remembers being struck by how unappealing the doormen's uniforms seemed.

"I can't even remember them," he says grimly. "Maybe I blocked them out. All I remember is that they were brown and ugly." His recommendation: Replace all 50 staff uniforms.

The way you dress your staff can affect curb appeal — and also send a message on how you run your building. "This isn't an area to save money on," observes one manager. If the braid on the trousers frays at the hem and looks "ratty," to use another manager's word, don't assume a potential buyer won't notice.

Ask the Experts

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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

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