EXPOnential Growth A Look at The Cooperator·s 19th Annual Trade Show

It’s March, and along with springtime comes The Cooperator’s Annual Co-op & Condo Expo at the New York Hilton. This year marks the Expo’s19th outing and once again, the exhibition floors will be abuzz with a full day of information, seminars, vendors, networking, and giveaways.

Changes Afoot

The Cooperator’s Co-op & Condo Expo has been going strong for nearly two decades, but this year marks a great leap forward in the Expo’s evolution — the show will occupy three floors at the Hilton to accommodate attendees’ increasing demand for more seminar space and allow for additional exhibitors this year. This year’s seminars are not only timely and informational as always but feature industry experts who are the tops in their respective fields from finance to telecommunications and interior design.

Also, this year marks the debut of the Expo’s Cyber Café. Located right next to the food court in Americas Hall II, the café will feature high-speed access computer terminals so attendees can check e-mail, sports scores, and more as they take in the rest of the Expo.

More than 5,000 attendees are expected this year as well, representing every industry and profession — from board members and shareholders to industry professionals, financiers, and vendors. The increase over last year will make 2006 the biggest Expo ever, and reinforce the event as the most comprehensive trade show of its kind in the region.  

Knowledge is Power

In addition to having three whole floors of vendors and informational resources at their disposal, attendees to this year’s Expo will also be able to take advantage of The Cooperator’s wildly popular educational seminars — which this year will be sponsored and moderated by some of the co-op and condo industry’s key players.

Kicking things off at 9 a.m. in the Hilton’s Rhinelander Gallery will be The Future of the Mortgage Market — Products, Availability and Rates, with Steve Geller, senior associate with Meridian Capital Group. At this seminar, guests can get first-hand information on the current state of the lending industry, changing interest rates, and the what the best options might be for refinancing their own buildings. Lending experts will also offer tips on how to borrow smarter, how to navigate complex loan processes, and how to position yourself or your building to get the best deal on a loan.

At 10:15 a.m., Victor Cruz, director of sales for Time Warner Cable will take the podium to present Wired or Unwired — What Will the Future Be? This seminar will be an exploration of the current state-of-the-art in cable connectivity, and will offer attendees a glimpse into the future of the telecommunications industry, and into options that might apply to their own buildings. Mr. Cruz and other industry pros will also discuss some of the exciting innovations that co-op and condo boards and managers can look forward to as technology evolves.

At 11:30 a.m., Charles Reed, manager and ombudsman of Con Edison’s Power Your Way and energy service company (ESCO) programs respectively, will moderate Cost-Saving Energy Strategies — How Can Your Building Save Money? Mr. Reed will be joined by Jon Hettinger, manager of Con Ed’s Steam Business Development Group. This seminar will focus on an in-depth discussion of how residential buildings can save on energy costs — not just through conservation, but through alternative energy sources and incentive programs from government and industry. Seminar attendees can learn about new ways to save their buildings money, and about the different options available to them and their buildings.

After a quick break for lunch and time to check out the scores of exhibitors’ booths, Expo guests are invited to attend Conflict Resolution — Solving Problems Without Lawsuits at 1:15 p.m. This seminar, sponsored by the law firm of Stark & Stark, will be moderated by attorney David J. Byrne, co-chair of the firm’s community association group. The discussion itself will focus on timely information that can save buildings and associations thousands of dollars in legal costs and avoid acrimony among neighbors. Speakers will explore the alternative dispute resolution options available to boards, managers, and residents and will discuss how to apply them to individual building communities. Joining Mr. Byrne at the podium will be Edward Corless, vice president of Wentworth Property Management’s Active Adult Community Division.

Closing this year’s seminar series at 2:30 p.m. will be Working With Your Designer — Strategies that Work, presented by Sygrove Associates Design Group Inc.. Interior designer Marilyn Sygrove and a panel of experts — including both a board president and a management executive — will discuss how to optimize the relationship between your board and your interior design professional. Talking points include tips on better communication, improved cost control, and how to work successfully with a design committee.

Professional Opinions — and More

In addition to the seminars and exhibitors, the 2006 edition of the Expo will also welcome the return of the popular (and free!) advice booths manned by working industry professionals, including property managers, attorneys, accountants, lenders, insurance experts, and a building maintenance specialist. Every year, long lines of guests queue up to ask questions, get advice, and take advantage of these seasoned professionals’ expertise.

This year, The Cooperator’s advice booths will be on both floors of the exhibit hall. Be sure to visit booth #1903 in Americas Hall I on the first floor of the Expo, and booth #2906 in Americas Hall II upstairs. Yale Robbins Inc., the premier real estate trade publisher in the New York metro region, and parent company and publisher of The Cooperator, Office Buildings Magazine, Condo-sales.com, the Manhattan Condo Book and more, will be in booth #2603. Come by for a visit and take a look at our various publications. We also will be holding raffles throughout the day for a host of excellent prizes.

And of course, The Cooperator staff will be gathered at booth #1820 on the first floor of the exhibit hall — stop by, say hello, and pick up a copy of this year’s essential, invaluable Official Directory of Co-op & Condo Services, our annual compendium of co-op and condo resources. Listings range from asbestos abatement to window replacement. No manager, board member, or shareholder should be without one — it’s a fantastic resource, and it’s free!

And while you’re at The Cooperator booth, you can drop off your raffle tickets for hourly prize drawings. In addition to the annual Grand Prize drawing for a month’s worth of free maintenance (up to $1,000), drawings will be held throughout the day for other great prizes, including a dinner for two prepared by a gourmet chef, a video iPod, gift certificates for Gracious Home, and more. You must be present to collect any prizes awarded, so pace yourself between the seminars and booth visits to make sure you’re on hand when the winners are announced.

The Cooperator’s annual Co-op & Condo Expo is a great opportunity to come out, see what’s new in the residential housing industry, and gain invaluable information and contacts from industry experts and exhibitors throughout the tri-state area. With every successive event, the Expo keeps getting bigger and better, with more exhibitors, more seminars, more resources, and ultimately more benefit to anyone who makes their home — or their living — in New York City’s co-op and condo community.

Hannah Fons is the Associate Editor of The Cooperator.

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