HABITAT

THE BRONX

Amalgamated Houses in the Bronx Gets an Overdue Makeover

Written by Lisa L. Colangelo on February 15, 2017

The Bronx

“Milestone” capital projects under way at nation’s oldest limited-equity co-op.

A Bronx Co-op Overcomes Its Troubled Past

Written by Ron Egatz on December 21, 2016

The Bronx

New capital projects are undertaken after a co-op dodged a death sentence.

Heroic Board Member Helps Rescue Distressed Bronx Co-op

Written by Marianne Schaefer on October 26, 2016

The Bronx

Creative campaign wins $900,000 tax forgiveness, averts foreclosure.

A Deadly Dilemma in the Bronx

Written by Tom Soter on August 03, 2016

The Bronx

A crumbling facade next to a nursery school – and no money to fix it.

A Man With a Long-Range Plan

Written by Tom Soter on July 06, 2016

The Bronx

A financially strapped Bronx co-op is saved by long-term planning.

Sell or Rent: What To Do With Coveted Parking Spaces?

Written by Jennifer V. Hughes on May 18, 2016

The Bronx

Co-op and condo boards weigh the best way to profit from a coveted asset.

Rebranding the Bronx

November 11, 2015

The Bronx

What’s a good way to predict that your modest co-op apartment may go up in price? Answer: when your neighborhood, previously nameless, has been christened with a new trendy name by developers who believe a branded neighborhood will (hopefully) be the next hot neighborhood.
With that in mind, Bronx residents may want to put their brokers on standby. That is, if recent reports are credible. According to The Real Deal, developer Keith Rubenstein’s Somerset Properties and the Chetrit Group plan to build up to six 25-story apartment towers on Third and Lincoln Avenues in the Bronx. The area once contained as many 60 piano factories, so the developers have erected a billboard calling the neighborhood – what else? – “The Piano District.” How many piano factories remain? Who knows? Who cares? They were there once, and that’s what counts. Or as Rubenstein puts it: “I’m not just calling it a made-up name for no reason whatsoever.”

What We Can Learn from a Bronx Co-op's Nightmarish Scenario

Written by Bill Morris on October 23, 2015

The Bronx

Last week, we learned a little more about the Wallace Avenue co-op that faced the threat of being downgraded to a rental, after missing some pretty crucial red flags. Besides those red flags, a couple of professionals offered their insights on what other boards can learn from this nightmarish scenario.

"Don't take anything on faith," says Abbey Goldstein, a partner in the law firm of Goldstein & Greenlaw. "A lot of it depends on the language in the bylaws and the offering plan, what it says about the rights of the sponsor. Some plans don't limit the number of seats the sponsor can cast his votes for. If the sponsor holds half of the units in the building and is the managing agent in the building, you need to have heightened vigilance."

 

The Wallace Avenue co-op is filled with ordinary people who just wanted to have a home of their own. Michael Williams is typical. In 1990, Williams, a contract administrator for the city, moved into the recently converted co-op with his bride. He was elected to the co-op's board, on which he would serve in various positions over the next dozen years. He felt right at home in a building that's solidly middle class. His neighbors didn't have bottomless pockets, but they were working people — teachers and nurses, with a few lawyers and doctors as well.

A Bronx Co-op Gets the Worst Possible News

Written by Bill Morris on October 09, 2015

The Bronx

It was a few years ago — when Michael Williams was board president at the 190-unit co-op on Wallace Avenue in The Bronx — that he got "the call."

It was from a vice president at Marine Midland Bank, the holder of the building's underlying mortgage. The banker had grim news: he reported that "the sponsor was not paying the mortgage and the building was in trouble." For Williams and the rest of the board, it was "a wake-up call." Indeed: if the building defaulted on its mortgage and went into foreclosure, shareholders could end up losing their only assets and still be responsible for their personal mortgages. It would be, in the words of a veteran real estate lawyer, "the worst of all possible worlds." As one distraught shareholder at the co-op put it: "You don't want to lose your investment, your future, your children's future."

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