As the trees start greening and the last dregs of winter ice and slush melt away, it's once more time to turn our collective attention to The Cooperator's annual Co-op & Condo Expo—to be held this year on Wednesday, April 25th on three floors of the Hilton New York.
A History of Helping
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Expo, and the event is setting up to be the biggest and best-attended show to date. For an idea of how the Expo has grown over the years, consider this: back in 1987, the show featured only 12 booths - this year, there will be more than 260 exhibitors. At the first Expo, four short seminars were offered—this year, attendees will be able to take their pick of six. Attendance itself has grown exponentially as well—more than 2,000 people have pre-registered for this year's event, and more than double that number are expected to attend; 20 years ago, it was just a few dozen.
The Expo has grown geographically as well—this year, booths, seminars, and demonstrations will span three floors of the Hilton hotel at 1335 Avenue of the Americas—the corner of 53rd Street, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.
"The Expo has consistently grown to meet the co-op and condo markets' needs," says Henry Robbins, executive vice president of Yale Robbins Inc., The Cooperator's parent company and producer of the Expo. "This year, we are seeing an increase in technology-based exhibitors, such as security technology and telecommunications service providers. Last year, more banks joined us. But whether it's asbestos abatement or window replacement, banks or technology systems, we will continue to showcase new products and services and bring valuable resources to the people who run co-ops and condominiums."
More than Before
The hallmark of The Cooperator's Co-op & Condo Expo has always been the brisk exchange of ideas and information between co-op and condo board members, association members and vendors and service providers from across diverse industries and disciplines.
"Yale Robbins, Inc. purchased The Cooperator and Expo in 1999 when there were just over 100 booths on a single floor," says Robbins. "In the ensuing years, the Expo has become a prime destination for real estate professionals and board members seeking resources and valuable networks. A vibrant real estate market has also had a tremendous impact on the show's success."
The 2007 Expo will deliver the goods again, with six free, educational seminars sponsored by key industry players and covering topics most important to boards, managers, and building residents. Expo seminars are a hugely popular feature of the event, and routinely attract standing-room-only audiences, so it's a good idea to arrive at the designated room a few minutes before your chosen seminar is scheduled to start.
Kicking off the day at 10 a.m., Meridian Capital Group will present "Funding Capital Improvements," a seminar aimed at helping attendees identify the financing options available to their buildings to help fund major improvement projects.
At 11 a.m., Con Edison Steam will present "Challenges and Solutions in Heating & Cooling Residential Properties." The presentation will offer tips and strategies for saving money on energy costs and equipment, and will touch upon the growing importance of environmentally-conscious approaches to HVAC.
Over the noon hour, Hess Corporation will present "Surviving the New Energy Reality," which will examine the changing energy market and help attendees better understand their own energy usage, as well as how to match their buildings' needs to its budget.
After lunch, at 1 p.m., the law firm of Stark & Stark will host "Understanding Association/Cooperative Governance." This presentation will focus on helping board members and residents alike to understand the various documents and regulations that help their building or association run smoothly and within the letter of the law. Attention will also be paid to the meaning of fiduciary duty as it applies to board members and managers.
At 2 p.m., Verizon will present "Telecom for Value," covering the latest innovations in the telecommunications industry and how telecom's benefits can be applied to co-op and condo building communities.
Rounding out the day's educational programming at 3 p.m. will be ROA Hutton's offering of "Co-op to Condo Conversion: A How-To." A panel of experts will examine how a co-op building might make the transition to a condo model of ownership, including the various legal and financial criteria, and all the steps along the way.
Other Extras—and New Offerings
Along with all the booths and informative seminars, the 2007 Expo will feature many extra elements as well - some returning annual favorites, and others brand-new.
Among the perennials will be the raffle drawings throughout the day. Just put your name and contact information on the raffle ticket inside your welcome bag and drop it off at The Cooperator's booth (#1820) or the Yale Robbins, Inc. booth (#2603). Random drawings throughout the day will announce the winners of a host of door prizes, including dinner for two prepared by an in-home gourmet chef, a new video iPod, gift certificates from Gracious Home, or the grand prize of $1,000 towards your monthly maintenance. This year will again feature the addition of a prize specifically for visitors from New Jersey—a $100 gift certificate toward MTA, PATH, NJ Transit, ferry, or EZ-Pass commuter passes. In addition to all that, drawings will be held for various other prizes donated by vendors the day of the Expo. You must be present to claim the $1,000 grand prize, so pace yourself and make a day of it!
In addition to new seminars and exhibitors, this year marks the introduction of an on-site Co-op/Condo bookstore, stocked with reference books, guides, and other materials full of useful information for attendees to take home and apply to their own buildings—including The Cooperator's 2007 Official Directory of Co-op & Condo Services.
The ever-popular free advice booths will be returning as well, staffed throughout the day by legal and financial professionals ready to answer your questions, off the clock and on the house. For guests needing nourishment or access to e-mail, be sure to frequent the conveniently-located food court and cyber café.
How to Get Involved
If you're interested in joining over 4,000 metro area visitors to the Expo for a day of information, education, and networking, you can pre-register right now at www.coopexpo.com, or call toll free and register by phone at 1-800-893-7949. Admission is free, but pre-registration will get you into the Expo quicker on the day of the show.
The twentieth edition of our Co-op & Condo Expo promises to be the biggest, most exhaustive exhibition of its kind in the tri-state area. If you're a board member, a property manager, or interested in the continuing well-being and livelihood of your building community, stop by the show and see what it has to offer—you'll be glad you did.
Hannah Fons is associate editor of The Cooperator.