I first got to know Fort Tryon Gardens as a real estate broker in 2005 or so, when one of my agents started representing buyers purchasing Sponsor Units. This agent’s enthusiasm for the Coop and the area of Hudson Heights and Fort Tryon Park rubbed off on me. It was clear to me how it was all transforming, and isn’t it great to be able to live in Manhattan surrounded by amazing natural and commercial amenities? Simply put, I recognize the value, just as so many of you do. In June of 2011 my partner Andres and I closed on our nifty “C-line” unit in the 4501(263) building.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed living here and hope to for years to come.
I anticipated the day would come when the Sponsor’s influence would start to wane as the number of unsold shares dropped below 50%. Soon would be the time when the power of the tenant-shareholders would eclipse that of the Sponsor. Our New Board is the sign of a transferring of responsibility, and its installation represents a new era for our Coop. In my profession I deal with issues surrounding coops and buyers and sellers every single day. What we will be going through in the near term is an inevitable process that most coops have experienced. We have only just begun to sort things out. Yet already your New Board is aggressively scrutinizing every single aspect of the financing and management of this Coop Corporation, with the help of shareholder volunteers who have formed independent committees (Finance, Grounds, Website). I would like to stress that any shareholder is welcome to join or form committees. There are many talented professionals who make up our Community. I can’t wait to meet more of you.
I am thrilled to be serving with a talented and accomplished group that is committed to turning our Coop around. While it is true that our interests are aligned with those of the Sponsor so far as supporting and increasing the value of our apartments is concerned, it is also true that our interests might diverge when it comes to various financial details and the governance of the Corporation.
The Sponsor should know that we support a fair deal for all parties. It is the nature and the talent of the people living in our Community that create the value of this place. Add to that a well-maintained property and the value is enhanced for everyone, whether involved in a Sponsor sale or a resale.
The New Board has identified a large set of unfunded liabilities (over 500K) that need to be paid off so that we can establish a focused and responsible finance and management routine. Compared to the average coop in Manhattan, our Coop has historically raised maintenance levels extremely rarely while certain expenses have far outpaced inflation. No one wants maintenance to increase, but to deny the reality of rising expenses while failing to raise revenue to meet those expenses is irresponsible and can only lead to our defaulting on our obligations. An example of an unanticipated, unfunded expense is tied to the cold winter we had. Nearly 100K of extra fuel costs slammed down upon us. Around 74K of this is still outstanding. We owe around 50k for brick and roof repairs. We owe money to a variety of vendors on invoices that stretch back years. Alarmingly, our Reserve Fund has dipped below the amount required by a mortgage covenant with our bank. Evidence is abundant that the revenue we are now raising is not enough to cover our expenses. We, the Board and your shareholder neighbors, are now in a responsible process of review that will result, as soon as possible, in actions designed to set a solid course into the future.
We Are All Responsible
The Cooperative is a form of ownership that requires everyone to commit, to the best of their ability, to some level of involvement, or at least interest. The New Board is committed to transparency and communication. We look forward to meeting you on November 23rd at 245 Bennett Avenue, Apartment 5F, from 10am to 1pm. This event has already been announced. We look forward to answering any questions you might have.
I would like to thank my fellow Directors for the time, effort and spirit you have shown thus far, and I especially thank the volunteer committee members. Together, and through their elected representatives and officers, the shareholders manage the affairs and maintenance of the place they call home. I would welcome an increase in participation in our various committees. Let’s all get involved and grow together!
Thanks for reading this.