Thousands of board members, managers and building owners packed the aisles of the Hilton New York exhibit hall as The Cooperator presented its 27th annual Co-op, Condo and Apt. Expo, providing networking, information and educational opportunities for co-op and condo boards and residents throughout the tri-state area. Since 1987, the Expo is a fixture on the business calendar of vendors, service providers, board members, building staff and residents.
The 2014 Expo on April 16th was no exception as nearly 4,000 attendees visited some 300 exhibit booths and took in this year's lineup of informative educational seminars.
“Obviously our goal is to present attendees with information and products that will make running their buildings easier and more efficient,” says Yale Robbins, president of Yale Robbins, Inc., Expo producer and publisher of The Cooperator, “but we also put a great deal of thought into the bigger picture, anticipating trends and trying to broaden and build on our offerings from one year to the next.”
Henry Robbins, executive vice president and director of sales for Yale Robbins, Inc., added that despite the economy, overall attendance and interest in the Expo—both from vendors and attendees—has grown each year since the show was first produced. “It's really our exhibitors and our attendees who make this show what it is,” says Robbins. “Their enthusiasm and interest is contagious—the fact that the event grows and draws more people each year is proof of that.”
What Show-Goers Had to Say
Woodside, Queens board member Gennaro Massaro said he had a very positive experience at the Expo, his third time attending. “It was positive, I enjoyed it. There were many service providers and I enjoyed being able to talk to people in person about what services they offer and if they have something that might help us.” He noted that he brought back to his board a lot of printed material and business cards from vendors that his building might use in the future. “Sometimes you might want to try a different vendor or you might find someone new that you could use that’s really good. I brought back a lot of information. I’m not the president but I gave the president and manager all the information I got from the expo and they were really pleased.”
Board member Dorothy Brown from the Bronx, also had a worthwhile time. “It was very interesting. They offer a lot of interesting things.” She said her main focus was in getting some pricing information that she could bring back to her board on various products and services. She looked at laundry service vendors and management companies that might be potential hires down the road. She also attended the seminars and found them informative. “There were a few seminars that discussed things like co-op laws. I really liked the seminars.”
Harvey Brier, a Manhattan board member, also said he found the show useful. He brought back some information on energy systems and cost savings analysis which his board can use.
A Day of Learning
Attendees not only came to meet with exhibitors they also came to learn. One of The Cooperator’s annual Expo mainstays are the educational seminars. The seminars began with an in-depth look at the changes in New York City's political landscape with a standing-room-only seminar entitled “2014–A New Mayor & Administration–What It Means to New York City's Condos & Co-ops.” Herrick, Feinstein Attorney David J. Byrne, Esq. looked at the regulations and laws governing the city’s co-ops and condos and the real estate industry. Byrne examined how the new administration under Mayor Bill de Blasio will interpret and enforce the housing laws currently on the books.
Another overflow crowd came to hear Meridian Capital Group’s Steve Geller explain the ins-and-outs of financing your building’s underlying mortgage. Geller spoke about how boards and buildings can save money by refinancing. He also discussed mortgage loan options for the board/management team—an important issue, especially in today's challenging economy. Geller also explained what monies are available for capital improvement projects and he discussed in detail about new federal requirements.
A timely topic was offered in the next seminar when panelists discussed emergency readiness. FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano, Ira Tannenbaum of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Dan Wurtzel, president of the New York office of FirstService Residential, a nationwide management firm, asked the important question, “Are You Ready? Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Preparedness.” In light of the recent tragedies with a deadly condo fire in Manhattan and a devastating building explosion in the Bronx, experts in this lively and informative seminar presented advice on how residents can prepare themselves and their buildings for an emergency, and more importantly what are the best courses for action and recovery.
Dr. Dana L. Levy from the office of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) spoke to a packed house about how a combined heat and power (CHP), otherwise known as a co-generation system, works. Dr, Levy outlined the benefits and cost savings of CHP for residential multifamily buildings and how the system operates in the event of a power outage. Dr. Levy also addressed the issues that come into play when choosing CHP as an option and what needs to be done before installing a co-gen plant in your building.
The final seminar featured Verizon’s Andrew Perdek and Pasquale Zicchinelli discussing “The Bandwith Explosion—Keeping Pace with Technology.” The Verizon Enhanced Communities’ reps explained to co-op/condo board members and building managers the intricacies of bandwidth and demand, how hot new trends and technologies keep residents connected, and how Verizon can help managers and residents meet the city’s new energy management goals. They also provided an overview of the FiOS installation process and operating system.
Gifts & Giveaways
Exhibitors come to the Expo each year to get their products and services in front of thousands of building decision-makers; attendees come for information, education and of course, prizes. Exhibitor-sponsored prizes at the 2014 show included gift cards, show tickets and the grand prize, a $3,500 contribution to one lucky board member for their building's reserve fund, courtesy of Yale Robbins Publications and The Cooperator.
And lines formed throughout the day for the free advice booths, where attendees were able to get their questions answered by management, legal, financial and building service professionals, who generously donated their time in the advice booth area.
Next Year’s Expo…
Even before the 2014 Expo closed shop and exhibitors started taking down their wares, planning and preparation began for the April 21, 2015 show, which promises to be bigger and more intensive than ever. Stay tuned to www.coopexpo.com for more information, important deadlines and online registration.