The Cooperator's 26th Annual Co-op & Condo Expo Networking and Learning for Boards and Managers

The Cooperator's 26th Annual Co-op & Condo Expo

 Attendees packed the aisles of the Hilton New York exhibit hall as The  Cooperator presented its 26th annual Co-op and Condo Expo, providing  networking, information and educational opportunities for co-op and condo  boards and residents throughout the tri-state area. Since 1987, the Expo is a  fixture on the business calendar of vendors, service providers, board members,  building staff and residents.  

 The 2013 Expo was no exception as nearly 3,000 attendees filled three floors of  the hotel on April 16th to visit some 300 exhibit booths and take in this year's lineup of informative  educational seminars.  

 “Obviously our goal is to present attendees with information and products that  will make running their buildings easier and more efficient,” says Yale Robbins, president of Yale Robbins, Inc., Expo producer and publisher  of The Cooperator, “but we also put a great deal of thought into the bigger picture, anticipating  trends and trying to broaden and build on our offerings from one year to the  next.”  

 Henry Robbins, executive vice president and director of sales for Yale Robbins,  Inc., added that despite a sluggish economy, overall attendance and interest in  the Expo—both from vendors and attendees—has grown each year since the show was first produced. “It's really our exhibitors and our attendees who make this show what it is,” says Robbins. “Their enthusiasm and interest is contagious—the fact that the event grows and draws more people each year is proof of that.”  

 Learning Curve

 Besides exhibits, one of The Cooperator’s annual Expo mainstays is the day’s seminar lineup. The seminars kicked off with The Daylight Savings Company's “Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: An Update on How You Can Profit from NYC  Local Laws 84 & 87.” The panelists—Frank Lauricella and Adam Boese of The Daylight Savings Company and Donna Hope  from the New York City Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability spoke about how New York City local laws and regulations play a  role in achieving energy and maintenance savings. Energy audits, benchmarking  and oil-gas conversion efforts in line with New York City’s series of green initiatives were addressed.  

 The second seminar featured Verizon’s Andrew Perdek and Pasquale Zicchinelli discussing “Bandwidth Expanding—Is Your Property Ready?” Homeowners have made voice, video and data services a priority. “Everyone wants the best technology for their homes and you want to make sure  it's done right. It's a major consideration for homebuyers today. When looking  for a home they check the cellphone signal and ask about Internet availability,” Perdek says. “Our presentation discussed balancing owners’ technological expectations vs. what is financially realistic for boards.”  

 The legal team of David J. Byrne, Esq., a partner at Herrick, Feinstein LLP and  Stacey Patterson, Esq., Of Counsel, at Herrick Feinstein attracted an  standing-room-only audience for their seminar discussion entitled: "A Look  Back: 2012, Superstorm Sandy, Abandoned Units, Disabled Residents, House Rules & Fiduciary Duty.” Byrne and Patterson looked at the issues that arose following Superstorm Sandy,  and they also discussed problems that come about when units are abandoned and  what legally has to be provided for disabled residents. They also discussed the  always pressing issues of house rules and fiduciary duties.  

 Mortgage Refinancing

 Financing your building’s underlying mortgage was the theme of Meridian Capital Group’s Steve Geller’s talk. Geller related how boards and buildings can save money by refinancing.  He also discussed mortgage loan options for the board/management team—an important issue, especially in today's challenging economy.  

 “The fear of an interest-only loan today is mitigated by several factors,” said Geller. “You should take a look at it because it's a very interesting way to address  significant capital improvement today without turning your maintenance upside  down.”  

 Keep ahead of scheduled capital improvements. “You have to put the money into the co-op to repair the roof, to repair the  elevators, the windows, the boilers, the lobby. You have to make those  improvements to maintain the value of the asset,” Geller said.  

 Pursuing Insurance Claims from Sandy

 Alan B. Garfinkel, Esq., a senior partner at the Florida law firm of Katzman  Garfinkel & Berger presented “Superstorm Sandy: Protecting Your Community by Pursuing Your Claim.” Garfinkel and his panel talked to boards and homeowners concerned with damage  claims from the most recent hurricane, and discussed filing of claims and  insurance matters. He also spoke of how to navigate the complicated claims  process in order to maximize recovery in the least amount of time.  

 Gifts & Giveaways

 Exhibitors come to the Expo to get their products and services in front of  thousands of building decision-makers; attendees come for information,  education and of course, prizes. Exhibitor-sponsored prizes at the 2013 show  included gift cards, iPads and the grand prize, a $3,500 contribution to one  lucky building's reserve fund, courtesy of Yale Robbins Publications and The Cooperator.

 The cyber cafe and food court provided an oasis for guests and attendees were  also able to seek advice from a distinguished array of residential industry  professionals who generously donated their time in the advice booth area.  

 Next Year’s Expo…

 Even before the 2013 Expo closed shop and exhibitors started taking down their  wares, planning and preparation began for the April 8, 2014 show, which  promises to be bigger and more intensive than ever. Stay tuned to for more information, important deadlines and online  registration.    

 Liam P. Cusack is an associate editor at The Cooperator.