The turning of a new year is always a time to reflect on the old one, make personal resolutions for the next 365 days, and maybe make some wishes. 2002 was a roller coaster year for New York real estate, charting spikes and lulls in activity that reflected a more widespread uncertainty about the economy, the prospect of war in the Middle East, rising taxes, and plans for rebuilding Lower Manhattan. Members of New York's real estate community are still digesting the hubbub of the past year as they look ahead to 2003, and despite the uncertainty about what the coming year will bring to our troubled, though resilient city, most are looking ahead with optimism - and with some ideas about what they'd like to see happen in and around the city, in their buildings, and throughout the industry at large. The Cooperator asked some prominent players in the co-op and condo scene to tell us what their wishes are for 2003; some of what they had to say was what you might expect - a stronger market, continued stability of property values in the co-op/condo community, and more shareholder/owner involvement in building affairs - but some of their replies may surprise you.
"I would do two things: lower the cost of real estate taxes, and have our insurance cost reduced, because unless something tremendous happens to give us a real turnaround, I don't 2003 being a real good year for real estate. I hope everything goes smoothly and we don't have a problem, but realistically, I think we're going to have a tough year." - Greg Carlson, executive director of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums (FNYHC)
"I wish that all buildings could afford 24-hour, seven-day-a-week doormen to enhance security. Since that's a wish that can't really come true, it's imperative that we address each building independently, with its financial status in mind and add as many safeguards as possible." - Michael J. Wolfe, president of Midboro Management in Manhattan
"I'd like to see better cooperation among brokers. Getting new properties to all the brokers will help buyer and seller have the best chance of knowing what's on the market, and the fairest way of dealing with [it]." - John Lawrence, executive VP and sales manager for Bellmarc Realty's Lincoln Center division
"If every building in Manhattan allowed big dogs, we'd be in much better shape. It's such a problem; people with even a medium-sized dog want to go into certain buildings, and the next thing you know, the house rule is no dogs over 20 pounds, the dog has to go to an interview, and it's big pain. I once even had a board interview a bird. It was just a small bird - it didn't even make any noise. But that's what we deal with. It might not be great for all the buildings, but it would make thing easier as brokers." - Janice Silver, executive VP and sales manager of Bellmarc Realty's Midtown office