New condo management team helps WallStreet Tower owners navigate large repairs
As a luxury condo development in the heart of downtown Kansas City, the 20-story WallStreet Tower offers an unmatched view while offering nine distinct floor plans, 9- to 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, state-of-the-art kitchens, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Built in 1974, the building was formerly an office tower that once housed Mercantile Bank but was renovated into condos in 2004.
The condo board began experiencing challenges with its previous management firm after multiple issues with water damage that virtually consumed all of the Reserve Funding Account. As a result, they approached Copaken Brooks to assume control in 2011. The building’s existing elevator system and façade condition was immediately identified as in need of modernization and repair, and the Reserve Account needed to be replenished. The Copaken Brooks team created a multiple-year strategic plan with the board to address these items.
The Copaken Brooks team engaged an elevator consulting group to identify the full scope of work needed and the financial impact it would have on the WallStreet Tower owners. Over a two-year period, the team solicited multiple bids for the elevator work and arranged for a study to be completed by an independent elevator consultant at no cost to the condo owners. During that same time, a façade study was also conducted to understand the project cost and to include it with the elevator modernization for one special assessment.
The total estimated reinvestment to the property was $3 million. While the building owners were initially surprised at the full scope of the work, the Copaken Brooks team was successful in negotiating a loan for the building, which allowed the owners the opportunity to pay in a one-time lump sum or by paying in monthly installments over 10 years for their portion.
“Because of the relationships Copaken Brooks has, we were thankful we were able to facilitate this kind of plan for the condo owners,” said Amelia Adamo, senior property manager at Copaken Brooks. “It allowed them to tackle this in a much more manageable way, which I’m sure was a huge relief.”
The team also coordinated a large-scale educational effort so owners could better understand the scope of the repairs, and to provide transparency around vendor selection. This included town hall meetings to discuss the amount, meetings to choose the new elevator interiors, special assessment discussions, and groups canvassing the condo community to explain the rationale for the costs. The team produced numerous informational sheets and lists of frequently asked questions to ensure every owner was informed of each step in the process.
To complete the repairs, the condo board needed to pass a Special Assessment and secure owner approval for financing the projects. The Copaken Brooks team coordinated the messaging and individual accounting so each owner could clearly understand the need and financial impact, as well as the continued deterioration to the property if the work were delayed.
While a vote of 67% was required to pass the Special Assessment and the financing package, the board was able to have both issues approved with a vote of 75% of the owners.
The façade work was completed first, with repairs made to the exterior metal, new caulking applied to every window frame, and a complete repainting of the entire metal exterior. All four elevators in the building were also replaced—modernized to new, more efficient models with upgraded cabs that also provide an increased energy savings throughout the year.
Finally, to ensure the owners were able to budget for future building maintenance, Copaken Brooks arranged for a third-party consultant to create a reserve study and identify any additional areas that would need attention over the next 30 years.
“While these types of projects are challenging, we’re thankful we had a property management partner with extensive experience, vendor networks and project management expertise,” said Keith Gary, WallStreet Tower board president. “The trust established in our normal day-to-day working relationship enabled an effective collaboration throughout the process of successfully completing the projects. Our community is thrilled with the improvements.”