As budget time approaches, DEPM property managers are consulting with resident managers, superintendents, and our financial analysts to prepare the 2018 Operating Budget drafts for our client boards to review. Preliminary and general observations reflect that real estate taxes continue to outpace normal indexes of inflation. Utility costs have increased at a pace second only to taxes while, interestingly, labor and related costs are trending just above inflation indexes. Supplies and services have generally marked lower than inflation. DEPM unfailingly works its portfolio clout wherever possible for our clients’ financial benefit. We do our best to reduce the financial impact of our managed buildings’ supply purchasing, fuel and other utility charges, and contractor competitive bidding processes. Please reach out to your building’s Financial Analyst if you have any 2018 budget-related questions.
Stop by and say hi at Booth 200 at The Cooperator’s Co-op & Condo Expo Wednesday, April 26th at the New York Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Whether it’s a first-time introduction or a chance to reconnect, we’d love to see you. DEPM President Jim O’Connor will be stopping by, as well as CFO Harris Bornstein, Vice President + Architect Peter Lampen, and VP’s of Management John Janangelo, Jim Miller and Tom Usztoke, along with numerous other property managers and associates. It’s a great chance to talk about your property management needs and ask us questions about how we can help.
The Expo features a variety of co-op and condo service providers who are there to answer your questions, as well as a series of seminars addressing the important issues that Boards must face. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about how to run your building as efficiently and effectively as possible. Registration is free at coopexpo.com.
We look forward to seeing you at the New York Hilton, Sixth Avenue at 53rd Street, on Wednesday, April 26th.
By Jim O’Connor, President
Dozens of properties have joined the DEPM portfolio in the first few months of the year, and we are delighted to welcome them to our unique brand of property management, enhanced by the wealth of knowledge we have gained in more than 100 years of service.
We are thrilled to welcome so many new properties into the DEPM management portfolio. There’s no question that what sets our service apart from other companies is our people. We have the best managers on our team, and they stay with us for years; sometimes for decades. A full 180 of our 240-plus employees have been with the company for over 15 years. Along with our recent growth, we have hired a number of excellent new managing agents who have been blending in beautifully with our existing team.
Just last month, Co-op City, the largest cooperative housing development in the world, brought DEPM on board to help manage the 15,372-unit property, consisting of more than 35 high-rise buildings on 320 acres in the Bronx.
Located in the East 50s overlooking the East River, 25 Sutton Place South also recently switched to Douglas Elliman Property Management. Built in 1959, the 320-unit co-op is perched above the FDR Drive, providing unobstructed river views, as well as a beautifully landscaped garden where residents can sit and enjoy the outdoors while watching the passing boats.
The range of new properties that have joined the DEPM portfolio runs the gamut from luxury pre-war properties like 1160 Park Avenue to new buildings on the far West Side and Downtown; from the Bay Club Condominium in Bayside, Queens to the leafy townhouse enclave of Brooklands in Bronxville.
While the DEPM management team is proud of the current growth of our organization, we are equally proud of the long-term relationships we have maintained since the company was founded in 1911.
One of our oldest clients is 911 Park Avenue, where Board President Michael Rankowitz says, “In the 51 years that Douglas Elliman has managed our property, we have always been impressed by their professionalism and attention to detail. While much has changed since 1965, one thing we can always count on is that our Park Avenue co-op receives the service and attention we need from our management team.”
As one of the City’s largest management firms, DEPM provides central purchasing of supplies, insurance and energy to help our clients control costs. Each building is assigned a financial analyst to work on budgets and investments. The firm offers mortgage, closing and brokerage services through its other divisions. But above all, it is our breadth of experience and longevity in the business that truly sets DEPM apart. For more information, contact me directly, DEPM President Jim O’Connor at 212-370-9200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Given the constantly changing Local Laws and regulations in New York City, and the stream of new technology hitting the market, property managers must keep abreast of trends in their field. We understand exactly what our clients need to remain in compliance and up to date. And we make sure that all of our property managers and their support staff stay current on these issues by holding bi-monthly In-House Training Seminars.
It is this kind of attention to detail that separates the people at DEPM from other managers—they are constantly being educated right in our office so that they can remain at the top of their game, and protect the properties they manage.
At prior seminars, we have brought in experts to discuss the oil-to-gas and “dirty” fuel to “clean” fuel conversion process, best practices for cost-effective façade maintenance, updates on our new accounting and streamlined bill-approval systems, and how we can help our clients save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs.
During our in-house seminars, managers are given the opportunity to question engineers, architects, expediters, accountants and other professionals brought in to teach, helping them understand the many requirements and options that affect their specific properties. In turn, they can pass along this hands-on knowledge to help boards make informed decisions, stay on budget, save money whenever possible, and avoid fines and violations.
At DEPM, we take great pride in ensuring that our entire staff—both in the office and on premises—has the expertise and education needed to run your building as effectively and efficiently as possible, to enhance both the quality of life and the value of your property. This is one of the reasons why more properties than ever are trusting DEPM with their management services.
By Jim O’Connor, Douglas Elliman Property Management
In the 30 years I’ve been at Douglas Elliman Property Management, I’ve seen a changing business. With the price of properties here in New York City hitting astronomical levels, new owners are coming in spending millions of dollars for their apartments and bringing different expectations of service. We have to address that need, while also being sensitive to those who have been living here for decades, many of whom take a more traditional approach to management. In addition, Local Law requirements, inspection regulations, the tax code and other considerations are as ever-changing as the City skyline.
In the past year or so, dozens of new properties have come to us for their property management needs. In 2015 we added nearly 20 new properties to our management portfolio, and we already have two dozen additional buildings starting with us in 2016. Why? Because of our unique hands-on approach to management, our dedication to service, the firm’s exclusive focus on property management, the longevity of our company and staff, and the continuity that affords.
Founded in 1911, DEPM manages over 350 buildings and almost 50,000 apartments. Our portfolio includes every type of property from Mitchell-Lamas to rent stabilized units to luxury properties on Fifth, Park and Central Park West, to newly constructed downtown high-rises. We manage properties in four of the five boroughs, Westchester and Long Island.
One of the reasons that DEPM has such a fine reputation in the City is our extraordinary staff and the resources we bring to bear on a daily basis on our clients’ behalf. Because of our size, our central purchasing allows buildings to save significantly on supplies: between five and fifteen percent compared to other companies. Our closing department is staffed by 14 people and handles over 4,000 transactions a year—sales, sublets, lease changes, etc. Each of our buildings is assigned a financial analyst who works with the board and treasurer to produce budgets on an annual basis, review monthly financials, and provide cash flow statements so properties can plan their expenses twelve months out. We have special relationships that provide our clients with competitive mortgage refinancing; we’ve refinanced over 100 buildings’ underlying mortgages in the last five years.
Our energy management department aggregates the energy needs of our properties—fuel oil, natural gas, and electricity—and shops these on a regular basis, resulting in savings for our clients of over $3 million a year for the last three years. We also purchase insurance for our buildings through two competing master insurance programs, each of which offers an umbrella liability plan of $150 million aggregate per building, offered at competitive premiums.
As an established company that’s been in the forefront of New York City property management for over 100 years, our experience with issues and solutions are second to none in the industry. Steam leaks, floods, gas leaks, water tower collapses, we’ve seen it all. As a property manager, you hope it doesn’t happen, but it’s our job to be well prepared to deal with any situation or crises that arises in our buildings.
As you might imagine, most building emergencies don’t happen 9:00 to 5:00 Monday to Friday. We have a trained Emergency Response Team. They come on after 5 o’clock, and they carry what we call “The Bible,” which is the emergency contacts for not only everyone at each building, but for the home numbers of all the vendors that service our buildings. In addition to doing the basics—making sure that everything is tied down, that all the drains are clear when a storm is forecast—in the event that something goes wrong, we know who to call and when to call them.
We’ve gone through Hurricane Sandy where we had buildings wiped out by the storm. We had buildings that had water go through their lobbies, damaged buildings that were uninhabitable for months afterwards. But we worked with our boards, our owners, FEMA, and the insurance companies to get these buildings up and running. It was a staggering accomplishment, which took much longer than any of us wanted. People were without their homes for a significant length of time, but we got it done. In all these years, the monumental task of rebuilding after Sandy was easily the greatest challenge we ever faced.
Part of what makes us one of the leading companies in the City is our people. We have property managers with a wealth of experience who have been with DEPM for an extraordinary period of time; some managers have been assigned to the same buildings for over 20 years. Fully 180 of our 240-plus employees have been with us for over 15 years. That kind of continuity is unknown in our business.
I’ve gone to work for the last 30 years with the greatest collection of professionals that anyone could ask for. I truly wouldn’t change anyone in our company for anyone else in the industry. This place is unique in that respect: people like property management here. And people like working with each other here. That’s a testament to the type of people we have and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Jim O’Connor, President of Douglas Elliman Property Management (DEPM) was honored on June 5th at The Bridge’s 60th Anniversary gala at the landmark Pierre Hotel. The event raised $466,000 to help support the broad range of mental health and housing services the non-profit provides to more than 2,300 New Yorkers every year.
In addition to his role as President and Executive Managing Director at DEPM, Jim is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), where he serves on the Residential Management Committee. He is also a Trustee of the Realty Advisory Board (RAB), and a member of their negotiating committee on labor contracts. He is on the Board of the Apartment Owners Advisory Council, and a member of the New York Building Managers Association. Jim is a proponent of affordable housing, and has helped raise funds for numerous New York charities. For his service to the real estate industry, his volunteer involvement, and his commitment to The Bridge, he was chosen as this year’s Individual Partner in Caring.
Also honored this year was Cynthia Wainwright, The Bridge’s Board President, who received the first ever Curtis Berger Award, for “her leadership, magnificent generosity of spirit, and dedication to The Bridge and the New York City area.” Cynthia has served on the Bridge Board for 30 years, and as its President for 20 years. She has also served on several other non-profit boards in New York City, including The Churchill School and Center for children with learning disabilities and the Children’s Museum of the Arts.
Dr. Peter Beitchman, DSW, LMSW, who is retiring this year after serving for 14 years as The Bridge’s CEO, received the Mental Health Award, presented by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Peter has been involved in the mental health system for 45 years, including 30 years with The Bridge. He has held key positions with both City and State mental and behavioral health agencies, and is an adjunct faculty member at both the Columbia and Hunter College School of Social Work. Peter was honored “for his vision, inspiring leadership and dedication to the mental health field and The Bridge.
Stephen Berger, Albert Mayas, James Miller, Elly Pateras and Howard Rothschild co-chaired this year’s gala, which included live music by “Midlife Crisis,” along with fortune tellers, a magician, and models dressed in ‘50s-style clothing to mark the era when The Bridge was founded. A silent auction of paintings by The Bridge Group Artists raised additional funds for the evening. The award plaques and invitations featured a beautiful painting titled “111 Morris Urban Farm” by Bridge Group Artist Michael Blamo.
Jenna Wolfe of NBC’s Today show acted as Master of Ceremonies, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made an appearance by video to congratulate Cynthia Wainwright on her award. Richard Cotto, a Bridge client, spoke to the room of 425 supporters and honorees about his journey fighting homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse, and how The Bridge’s programs and services had saved his life.
For more information about the bridge, visit TheBridgeNY.org. For more information about Douglas Elliman Property Management, one of New York’s oldest and most comprehensive property management companies, visit EllimanPM.com.