Written by Marianne Schaefer on October 26, 2016
Creative campaign wins $900,000 tax forgiveness, averts foreclosure.
Written by Tom Soter on August 03, 2016
A crumbling facade next to a nursery school – and no money to fix it.
Written by Tom Soter on July 06, 2016
A financially strapped Bronx co-op is saved by long-term planning.
Written by Jennifer V. Hughes on May 18, 2016
Co-op and condo boards weigh the best way to profit from a coveted asset.
November 11, 2015
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.”
Written by Bill Morris on October 23, 2015
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."
Written by Bill Morris on October 16, 2015
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.
Written by Bill Morris on October 09, 2015
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."
September 02, 2015
It's no news that the city can be tough on its many residents, but things are about to get much tougher for thousands of properties — co-ops and condos, included. According to The Real Deal, the city has filed "in rem" actions against not just apartment owners but also building owners in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. It's a move that could spell foreclosure for owners who owe taxes. There's still a chance to pay up or set up installment agreements. "The deadlines are September 22 in Manhattan, September 29 in the Bronx, October 6 in Brooklyn and October 13 in Queens," according to the article. And if they miss the deadline, those affected will still have 20 more days from their respective deadlines "to file answers in court." Gulp!
Written by Tom Soter on August 13, 2015
With 12 New Yorkers dead (as of August 12) from an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the South Bronx, boards with cooling towers may want to review the facts and take a few cautionary steps. Here are some questions and answers:
What's the Difference Between a Cooling Tower and a Water Tank? The two serve very different functions, says Doug Weinstein, executive director of operations and compliance at Akam Associates, a management firm. A water tank provides drinkable (and fire department "reserve") water and, therefore, requires an annual inspection. (Until last year, Weinstein says that the inspection results merely had to be kept on file at the building. But after a New York Times investigation found that a number of properties were not inspecting their water tanks, the city health department required that the reports be filed with the city.) A cooling tower is used for the HVAC system and does not contain potable water; therefore, the city did not require buildings to have them inspected. Cooling towers are only used in the summer, and most properties shut their systems off during the winter.
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Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.
A free digital resource for co-op/condo board directors. Published twice a month. Read now on all digital devices.