Co-ops unbutton to compete with condos for younger crowd

Boards allow buying through trusts and LLCs, hire PR consultants
August 29, 2013 08:08AM

New York’s notoriously stuffy co-ops are taking off their coats and ties, trying to snag those coveted younger buyers who are much more interested in condominium living. They’re doing everything from allowing the privacy-obsessed to put the name of a trust or limited liability company on the contract — a popular option that condos give — to speeding up the application process. A few have hired public relations consultants.

And the trend is touching every part of the city and co-ops in every price range, including the most storied and exclusive: River House, on the East River, and the twin 38-story towers at 860 and 870 United Nations Plaza.

“Co-ops have to look at what they are doing,” Donna Olshan, a luxury broker and principal at Olshan Realty, told the Wall Street Journal. “The young audience out there today doesn’t care about the snob factor. If they are spending a lot of money they don’t want a co-op board breathing down their back.”

In the past, for example, a prospective buyer who claimed to have $400 million in assets would have to provide proof of the wealth before getting into the more select co-op buildings, according to superbroker Dolly Lenz, who recently left Douglas Elliman to start her own firm, as The Real Deal reported.

Now, Lenz told the newspaper, the same buyer might have to only prove $50 million of those assets, Lenz told the newspaper. [WSJ]  – Hiten Samtani