Sandy damages one-third of Cooper Square’s, Wentworth’s Northeast portfolios

First Service Residential sets up $10M fund for emergency repairs
By David Jones | November 06, 2012 04:00PM

First Service Residential, which manages more than 200 condos, coops and rental properties in New York and New Jersey, said that it set up a $10 million fund to pay for short–term emergency repairs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based firm said the fund would provide short-term loans to fix immediate damage from the storm as more than 30 percent of its Northeast portfolio was damaged. The company manages more than 30,000 units in New Jersey and New York through its Wentworth Property Management and Cooper Square Realty subsidiaries.

First Service executives said the storm did catastrophic damage to some of its properties, including half of its 150 properties in New Jersey, particularly in the Monmouth County on the Jersey shore. The fund will help pay for urgent repairs that need to be made before insurance and disaster aid kicks in.

“I personally went out to some of the coastal properties,” Wentworth CEO Michael Mendillo, told The Real Deal. “It was heart-wrenching.”

He said about 40 to 50 buildings have “significant” damage from storm surge flooding, damage from high winds damage, power outages and other problems. He said one of the company’s properties in Monmouth County sustained more than $20 million in damage alone.

Wentworth manages a total of 700 residential communities in 13 states, most of them in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Cooper Square says about 140 of the 500 buildings it manages had some sort of damage from the storm, with 40 of them sustaining major damage. He said the major damage was in the Rockaways, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Lower Manhattan and other neighborhoods faced with storm surge flooding. He said the damages include elevators stuck in 24 feet of water, basements flooded with seawater, boilers that are damaged and flooded parking garages.

“When I went down there I visited most of the buildings in Lower Manhattan,” said Cooper Square CEO David Kuperberg. “I don’t want to say it was similar to 9/11, but it did have a lot of similarities.”

Cooper Square manages a range of condos, rentals and other properties in New York, including 111 Kent Avenue and 184 Kent Avenue in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn; 100 United Nations Plaza in the Turtle Bay section of Manhattan and numerous downtown properties.

PSE&G, the Newark-based utility company, said it still has 272,700 customers statewide without power, representing 16 percent of its total customer base. The firm said it hopes to have 90 percent of customers restored by tomorrow morning. The firm has brought in 600 additional line workers from Pennsylvania to speed up power restoration.

Meanwhile the Port Authority has restored limited service on the PATH commuter train to 33rd Street from Newark and Hoboken via Jersey City. The PATH trains to the World Trade Center remains suspended to due to tunnel and station flooding as well as power outages.