Thursday, July 24, 2008

Co-op Board Craziness

This morning Your Mama discussed a magnificent (but in need of a major re-do) doo-plex co-operative apartment located in New York City's super swank 740 Park Avenue that was recently hoisted onto the market with a spine tingling asking price of $38,000,000.

Since there has been much discussion in the past regarding the capricious and powerful boards who fiercely guard access to the better buildings in Manhattan, Your Mama thought the children might get a kick and a hoot out of this article from the July 13 issue of the NY Post that gives a fun rundown and a few interesting tidbits about the rich folks who control access to some of the most restrictive apartment buildings in the city, including 740 Park Avenue.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing read, thanks for the link Mama!!!

:)

Anonymous said...

I still don't know how this is even legal. Is it because you are buying part of the building and therefore if they don't like you (whether it's skin color, religion, too many parties) they can reject you? Kinda like if I put a for sale sign on my car but don't like you, I can wait and sell my car to someone else? Not an accurate comparison, i know, but I still am interested to know how they can fend off lawsuits. Then again, sounds like these people have more money than Christ and therefore don't mind spending some cash defending a lawsuit if they have to, to keep out the unworthy. If they don't have to give a reason for rejecting someone then how does someone try to sue if they never know why they were turned down? they can only suspect. Strange.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, it is all about the fact that you are considered a co-owner of the building in its entirety and not simply the owner of a unit within a building. Discrimination is widespread to be sure and I too am amazed at the lack of lawsuits. I think some of the protection comes from the fact that the buildings are considered privately held and they can make whatever rules they want. The liquidity requirement is a convenient way to eliminate virtually everyone and rules for private ownership are just that...private.

It will be very interesting to see how long this lasts.

Anonymous said...

I'm no expert, but I think they can get away with it because currently co-op boards are not required to provide any reason for a rejection.

Therefore it's rather difficult to prove discrimination.

If the boards are forced to provide an actual reason for a rejection things will change dramatically.

Alessandra said...

They would just use a non-discriminatory reason, such as the applicant's financial standing. Even if the person had the requisite $100mm liquid and donated to all the right charities, they could say that the person's investments were too volatile or that they were invested overseas or in something politically incorrect, like tobacco. They'd find a neutral reason, I'm certain.

I suspect that a large part of the "joy" of ownership is not just the fabulous location and pre-WWII buildings but also the ability to claim clearance into such a selective group. However, I'd be embarrassed to live in a building that still actively refused people based on religion or color.

outsmoker said...

alessandra;.....yes yes yes it's always tobacco's fault. I am so tired of everything being blamed on the delicious weed so many of us love to enjoy. Do any residents of Park Avenue smoke. You bet they do.!Even Obama is a recently closeted smoker.

Anonymous said...

What about the Co-ops of Central Park West? Are they as strict? Obviously they have many more celebrities - What's the rules like for the Dakota, San Remo etc?

Anonymous said...

Wealthy people in my experience like to mix with others who are the same. These are the sort of people who all go to the opera.

After all people lower down the food chain choose to live in gated communities for similar reasons - to keep the poorer ones out!

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, it is all about the fact that you are considered a co-owner of the building in its entirety and not simply the owner of a unit within a building.

Co-op owners actually are part owners of a corporation that owns the bldg, not the bldg itself.

caveman said...

thats funny & makes sense.
i can see similar thought processes with the hoa's i deal with.
bunch of over-reaching cranky old farts

Anonymous said...

I don't know exactly when this form of ownership began in NYC, but it's probably well over 100 years ago. So it's not like this is a new concept and I'm sure it's legality was challenged many years ago. Many of these pre-war buildings were built as co-ops or were built as rentals that converted to co-op ownership soon thereafter.

So, Anon 3:43, I think this is going to last a pretty long time!

luke220 said...

It's like a private club. They can admit whomever they choose. They want to be around people like themselves.

I laugh when I think that people I've known who have owned in some of these buildings would never be accepted today.

Anonymous said...

Co-op residents own stock in a private corporation that owns the building in which they live. The stock comes with a proprietary lease for their apartment. It's a private corporation so it can pretty much function as it wishes - even forcing residents to sell and move out. Potential buyers who are rejected by the board are never given the reason - and legally don't have to be given a reason - because this could open up a civil rights lawsuit.

West Side buildings are much more lenient, which is why the celebs have to live over there.

Lauren said...

Forgive me, but I have to ask, even though I've lived in NYC. Why do most of the buildings in the article photos look dirty? It is understandable that they get covered in soot in NYC but why wouldn't they be cleaned often? You'd think the very particular board members would demand that.

StPaulSnowman said...

Well Lauren, If they cleaned them, the common folk would know that someone who could afford a clean exterior in New York probably lived there......and then what? Trick or Treaters.........Greenpeace canvasers......abortion rights activists! No, better they should keep the dirt and their exclusive inconspicuous but very expensive hideouts.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows people with money lives in those buildings. If beggers tried to hang around out front the police would be there so fast to get them out. Maybe not right but that is what happens.

floridazephyr said...

For 'beggers" the police would come, for "buggers" the door would open and they would be invited in.