The Cooperator's 18th Annual Co-op & Condo Expo A Day of Information, Networking & Fun

Circle March 16th on your calendars so you don't miss The Cooperator's 18th Annual Co-op & Condo Expo, which will once again pack a full day of information, seminars, vendors, networking, and giveaways into two floors of the New York Hilton at 53rd Street and Avenue of the Americas.

For over two decades, the Co-op & Condo Expo has been growing and expanding to bring over 200 diverse vendors and a host of speakers and educators together under one roof for the benefit of anyone and everyone involved in the co-op and condo industry. Whether you're a shareholder in a self-managed co-op in Queens or a property manager on the Upper East Side or in Hoboken, New Jersey, the Expo has something that will pique your interest.

Information, Please

Attendees at the 2005 Co-op & Condo Expo will have the run of two floors at the New York Hilton and can spend the day visiting a vast array of exhibitors representing everything from law firms to mortgage lenders to window contractors.

As always, The Cooperator has lined up a full roster of hour-long educational seminars throughout the day on the second floor of the exhibit hall. After the doors open at 9 a.m., the first seminar kicks off at 9:30 with "On the Hiring Line: Finding Qualified Personnel For Your Building." The panelists - including James Berg, president of the Realty Advisory Board; Margie Russell, executive director of the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM); and Gregory Carlson, executive director of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums (FNYHC) - will address the criteria management and boards should use when hiring new building personnel. The hour-long expert panel will cover everything from recruitment to training procedures and discuss how your building can put together a strong team.

From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the second panel - "It's the Law: Following the Code Changes" - will discuss all the new local laws and changes that affect building contractors, property managers, superintendents and other real estate professionals. It's important for your managing agent, your super, and the outside contractors you hire to be familiar with the latest permutations of the city's complicated building codes and new local laws involving the monitoring of lead paint, noise, and detection of carbon monoxide, among others. To help you stay abreast of the changes, we have assembled a stellar panel that includes Robert Grant, the director of management for Midboro Management; Commissioner Patricia Lancaster of the New York City Department of Buildings; Harold S. Shultz, special counsel to the department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); and Lucas Ferrara, an attorney with the law firm of Finkelstein Newman LLP. The speakers will offer advice and in-depth information about the measures management, boards, and contractors need to take to comply with local building codes and avoid costly fines and litigation.

After a break for lunch at The Cooperator's nearby Food Court and some more time to check out the booths on the first and second floors of the exhibition hall, the seminars will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. for "Mediate, Don't Litigate: Conflict Resolution Outside the Courtroom." In every building community, disputes occasionally arise. Whether it's a shareholder who's unhappy with a decision the board has made or upset with his neighbor jamming on his electric guitar at 2 o'clock in the morning, there are alternatives to meeting in housing or civil court. For this important presentation, Ed Hartfield, executive director of the National Center for Dispute Settlement, will be joined by Elliot Meisel, an attorney with the Manhattan-based law firm of Brill & Meisel and David J. Byrne, Esq. of Stark & Stark PC, a law firm based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The panelists will discuss how boards, managers, and residents can resolve disputes through the use of mediation tactics before they escalate into costly court battles.

Finally, at 3 p.m. the Expo will present "Co-op to Condo: The Right Fit?" about the growing trend towards condominium living. While a majority of the city's apartment dwellers live in co-ops, more and more people are moving towards condo ownership. Condos command higher sales prices, have lower monthly maintenance costs, and offer more flexible living arrangements than most co-ops. Co-ops, on the other hand, give shareholders more control over their neighbors, their living environment, and provide better tax incentives. This last panel of the day will examine the pros and cons of converting properties from cooperative corporations to condominium ownership, and discuss what criteria must be in place and what steps are involved in a successful conversion process. Seminar panelists will include Pam Liebman, president and chief executive officer of the Corcoran Group; Neil Binder, principal of Bellmarc Management and Bellmarc Realty; Jack Boyajian, president of ROA Hutton and an expert on co-op-to-condo conversions; and Douglas Heller, an attorney with the Manhattan-based law firm of Friedman Krauss & Zlotolow.

Advice and Extras

In addition to the seminars and exhibitors, this year's Expo will also feature the always-popular rotation of free advice booths manned by property managers, attorneys, accountants, lenders, insurance experts, and other industry professionals. If you've got a burning question about your building's accounting practices, or need some advice on how to streamline your board meetings, there will be plenty of seasoned pros on hand to answer your questions and give you expert tips.

And while you're waiting for the next seminar or just wrapped up a one-on-one at the advice booths, stop by The Cooperator booth (#1820) on the first floor of the exhibit hall and pick up a copy of this year's Official Directory of Co-op & Condo Services. It's an invaluable compendium of resources ranging from attorneys to interior designers and beyond - and it's free!

While you're at The Cooperator booth, you can drop off your raffle tickets for hourly prize drawings (past prizes have included dinners for two at noted New York restaurants, digital cameras, spa treatments, and Knicks tickets) and make sure you're in the running for the 1 p.m. Grand Prize drawing: one month of free maintenance, up to $1,000 courtesy of The Cooperator. 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 18th Annual Co-op & Condo Expo is a great opportunity to come out, see what's new in the residential housing community, and gain invaluable information and contacts from professionals throughout the tri-state area. Last year, nearly 5,000 people attended the Expo, and this year promises to be even bigger and better than ever.

Don't miss out! Registration and admission is free - call 888-249-0367 or log onto www.coopexpo.com to guarantee your participation in what promises to be an unforgettable event.

Hannah Fons is the Associate Editor of The Cooperator.

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