Sunday, November 5, 2006

Common Costs for Upgrades

The New York Times
November 5, 2006
By TERI KARUSH ROGERS
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/05/realestate/05cside.html

DECIDING how to raise money for improvements can be as contentious as agreeing on how much to spend.

Boards typically choose from four options, said Paul J. Herman, executive vice president and director of management for Brown Harris Stevens Residential Management, which oversees around 140 midsize Manhattan buildings.

The buildings can draw funds for the projects through reserves, assessments, refinancing the mortgage or taking out a line of credit. Shareholders, Mr. Herman said, are less likely to revolt over assessments for aesthetic or lifestyle upgrades like a renovated lobby or new gym than for “back of the house” improvements they can’t see or enjoy.

Mr. Herman listed ballpark costs for some common improvements; the ranges are approximate, depending on a building’s size and the desired bells and whistles.

Renovated lobby: $40,000 to $400,000 for a lobby 30 feet by 40 feet; $250,000 to $1,000,000 for a larger Park Avenue-style building. The low end might include new lighting, painting, carpets, artwork and some furniture. More money buys frills like ceiling treatments, moldings, windows and elegant furniture.

Playroom: Around $50,000 for a nice room if space configuration is necessary, or less for an existing room.

Gym: $100,000 to $200,000-plus (equipment could cost $30,000 alone)

Roof deck: $100,000-plus; need to replace a deteriorating roof first.

Roof replacement: $25,000 to $250,000, depending on size.

Boilers and burners: $100,000.

Elevators: $15,000 for refurbishing the interior; $100,000-plus for replacement.

Full-time doorman: $62,000 annually per unionized doorman; to cover all shifts, a building needs at least four. Security guards cost less and are expected to do less. TERI KARUSH ROGERS

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