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Bottom-line issues focus of multi-family seminar.

Bottom-line issues focus of multi-family seminar

The obstacles facing multi-family property owners, and the opportunities available to them will be the subject this month of a conference that will feature a "star-studded" panel of private and public-sector professionals.

Targeted to the smaller owner, between five and 50 units, the seminar is sponsored by Citibank, and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, and co-sponsored by a number of industry groups including The Bronx Board of Realtors, the Bronx Realty Advisory Board, Community Housing Improvement and the Small Property Owners (SPONY).

"We've been hearing more and more about the concerns of small owners and viability in the city," said Mary Cosgrove, vice president Citibank, N.A.

The bank is reaching out, Cosgrove said, as part of its "CitiBuilders" program, which does specialized community investment and conducts technical assistance seminars throughout their 10-county banking area.

The topics covered in the conference titled "Maintaining Affordability", she said, are those "bottom line" issues that effect how efficiently owners can manage their buildings and effect the tenants as well.

"One of critical needs in the city, especially in the Bronx, is a healthy rental housing stock," said Cosgrove.

Scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24 from 2:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus, McGinley Center, in the Bronx. The program is open to all, not just those involved in the Bronx.

"One of the critical need in the city, especially in the Bronx, is a healthy rental housing stock," said Cosgrove.

The conference was designed to be both an education for owners and hopefully an "airing of current problems," said one organizer.

Among other pressing topics, the city's water metering regulations, which are a prime source of anxiety for multi-family owners, will be discussed in a plenary session, moderated by Dan Margulies, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP).

"For the first time we're |putting on' the number one problem and that is water," said Ruben Klein, president of the Bronx Realty Advisory Board.

Also on the agenda are: how to conserve energy and money, how to collect rents from government agencies, how to use bank and government financing and taxation issues and property assessments.

Each workshop is equipped with executives from owner, management and law firms and representatives from the appropriate government agency. The panels, were designed, Cosgrove said to have "input from all entities."

The conference is about the "make-it-break-it" issues of owning affordable housing, said, Amit Sikdar, executive vice president of Parkchester Management Corporation and president of the Bronx Realty Advisory Board, "anything that's looming as items that have an impact on the bottom line."

Topics were chosen, he said, through a consensus basis, by the organizations involved and Citibank and the borough president's office.

Sikdar will be moderating the session on taxation and assessment. Joining him on the panel will be Hugh Darby, commissioner of Taxation, and Paul Korngold, Esq,. Tuchman, Katz, Schwartz, Gelles & Korngold.

"It's the next killer in real estate ownership," said Sikdar.

The segment will explain, Sikdar said, both the assessment process and the owner's "basic" right to protest his assessment.

Few of the smaller, multi-family owners exercise this privilege, Sikdar said. "Instead of sitting back, they should, by a certain date, protest," he said.

The certiorari process, Sikdar said, is not common knowledge to the smaller owner as it is to the bigger one. Owning a five-unit building, he said, doesn't mean that you're "really in the real estate business."

Sikdar said he asked Paul Korngold to be on the panel because certiorari law is his firm's specialty. "If you own a 10-unit building, learn the process," he said, "Learn from someone who does that for a business."

David Diamond, president and CEO of Rosenberg and Diamond, owners, managers, and developers, is on the panel of "How to use bank and government financing", along with Michael Schwartz of Citibank and Kathleen Dunn, deputy commissioner of HPD, and Stephen Shane, special assistant, DHCR.

Diamond, who is one of the largest participants in the city's Private Ownership Management Property program, said they will be doing a "good guy/bad guy" scenario about borrowing from banks and borrowing from a government program.

Diamond, whose company is the owner and manager of 5,000 units, said he has used every loan program the city has to offer from the original Article 8A to participation loans.

Rachaele Raynoff, spokesperson for Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, said the borough president wants to reach out to and create a networking opportunity for some of the non-profit housing managers as well as the small property owner.

"This is an attempt to bring them into the loop -- to maximize government programs, to maintain their buildings, deal with paperwork and stabilize their financial standing," she said. "The bureaucracy can be daunting . ."

The "yardstick" of Ferrer's administration, Raynoff said, has been affordable housing. The borough president, she said, fought and succeeded to have one-half of the city's $10 billion affordable housing budget committed to the Bronx. And, she said, in addition to rehabs and new construction, Ferrer has sought to maintain existing housing and ownership.

Ownership of multi-family housing, said Ruben Klein, president of the Bronx Realty Advisory Board, is "so formidable that a man that owns an apartment house can't conceive of all the problems."

Those interested in attending should contact Michael Schwartz of Citibank (718) 248-8956.
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Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 4, 1991
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