Westchester County is known for, among other things, its grand, multi-million dollar mansions and historic homes found in its posh communities such as Scarsdale, Bronxville and Brewster. Many of these homes were built in the 1950s, when the economy was prosperous. That decade, World War II veterans returned to the job market and started families. To answer the need for more housing for these new families, many high-rise apartments, single-family homes and duplexes were also built. Westchester’s website, www.westchestergov.com, coins it as “a new era of suburbanization” for the American family.
Fast forward two decades to the 1970s and 1980s: Rental units weren’t profitable, so to encourage individual ownership of the apartments, some of the rental housing was converted to cooperatives. In 1979, the Cooperative and Condominium Advisory Council (CCAC) was formed to serve as a resource for elected board members of cooperatives and condominiums in Westchester.
“There was no entity available to represent the interests of homeowners who are not single-family homeowners,” says Ken Finger, chief counsel of the CCAC.
Today, the CCAC represents more than 400 cooperatives and condominiums in the Westchester and Mid-Hudson Region. It is a component organization of the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region (BRI). The BRI is one of New York state’s largest building, realty and construction industry membership organizations. Formed in 1946, the association is recognized as a leading force in the building and realty industry and has more than 1,700 members in 14 counties of New York State. The BRI consistently monitors issues that affect apartment rental properties, co-ops and condos, and property managers.
Weighing the decision to create a separate council for Westchester and the Mid-Hudson region instead of joining collaborative forces with New York City’s council was, according to Finger, like comparing apples and oranges.