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Bronx-based manager still confident.

Profile/Interboro Holding Corp.

Bronx-based manager still confident

Ten years ago, when Fannie Mae and other home mortgage companies would not lend in certain areas of the Bronx, Marvin Low, vice president of Interboro Holding Corp. did a survey, around the Grand Concourse from 167th Street down to Yankee Stadium, to pinpoint all the renovations and rehabs occurring.

"We showed the viability of an area coming," said Low. "I had done the survey to show you don't give up on the Bronx. We believe in the Bronx."

The Bronx-based management company, headed by President Nathan Blaser, is an owner and manager that converted more than 25 buildings, during the 70's and 80's, in the Bronx, Westchester, Riverdale, Inwood. According to Low, they are the largest converter of cooperatives in marginal areas.

"We made it possible for lower-, middle-income families to purchase an apartment," he said. "And by doing that we made buildings stable."

When people own their units, Blaser said, they're more mindful of who is doing the damage in the building.

In the management business since 1950, Interboro owns and manages more than 55 buildings -- 35 rental buildings and 20 cooperatives -- in the Bronx, Upper Manhattan, and Westchester. 50 percent of the cooperative buildings have stabilized units. The firm is currently expanding its management portfolio in cooperatives, condos and rental buildings, and Low said. They are bringing to these buildings, he said, the system they developed from managing their own buildings and others'.

Most of buildings Interboro runs are pre-war or 1950's properties that have all been brought up to date and made energy efficient.

"We've always been believers of maintaining property," he said. "We're managing buildings Mr. Blazer built in 1939."

Low said the company prides itself on having been computerized since 1978. On a monthly basis, they send to shareholders and tenants a printout of the general ledger, repair updates, and expense reports.

"We have a pretty tight ship," he said. "We try to run it so someone can evaluate what the expenses will be, what's required."

The company places a premium on communication and accessibility of its executives, which Low believes, help alleviate some of the conflicts that may arise between managing agents and sponsors and boards.

"There's constant open discussion," he said. "We feel being able to talk to each other takes some of the tension away should a problem arise."

Interboro recently began a quarterly newsletter that includes such tidbits as: Interboro staff news, a computer hardware update, calendar of special events and seminars for co-ops, upcoming regulations, such as water metering, and summaries of pertinent legal cases. In addition, they provide instructional programs and informational packages for board members. And Interboro professionals attend co-op seminars to become better educated on issues.

"We feel the dissemination of information is very important," he said. "They should be kept up-to-date and we should be kept up-to-date."

In addition to managing agents in the field, the firm employs a key computer person, office manager Nydia Ramos, and a legal department, headed by Sergio Palanca.

While Interboro's operations are quite sophisticated, Low said, some people are thrown by the Bronx address. The company chooses to exploit this misconception in some of its ads that proclaim: "We're not on Park Avenue, but . . ."

"People that walk into our office are quite surprised," he said.

Low said they are helping their building's weather the economic slump by keeping budgets as tight as possible. "If it's not a necessity, you try to maintain the equipment," he said. "When the times get a little better then you go for the capital expenditure."

In addition, he said, they urge each building to pursue its certiorari relief and J-51's and MCI's.

And contrary to what many believe, he said, maintenance does not have to rise. "I've had cooperatives we've ran for five years without an increase," said Low.

PHOTO : Nathan Blaser, president, and Marvin Low, vice president, Interboro Holding Corp. in front of 860 Grand Concourse, in the Bronx, a 110-unit co-op the company manages.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Interboro Holding Corp.
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Dec 4, 1991
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