Nine Island owners hear from two more management companies

Time for the live blog coverage at Nine Island Avenue, where condo owners Thursday night are hearing from two more companies that want to manage the Belle Isle condo: Atlantic and Pacific Companies, and CSI Management Services.

The two companies tonight already manage luxury buildings. Nine Island already heard proposals from KW Property Management and the Continental Group, which has managed Nine Island for a dozen years. The board told Continental it intended to end its contract at a tumultuous meeting last month.

First to present: A&P. Their representative, Jay Pietrafetta, said they only manage real estate and they are family run,  founded in Miami Beach.

He described the quality of the website they would create, where residents can pay your dues (direct debit or by credit card) and request services.

Association treasurer Jim McLean said unit owners were more concerned with the issue of building cleanliness, not accounting procedures.

Randy Weisburd, the chief operating officer, said A & P will address that issue, but that cleanliness problems are often a  sign of deeper problems. He said that when they took over Bentley Bay and the Waverly, they quickly found problems more serious than the initial issues that led to them being hired.

He said that during a walk-though at Nine Island, his staff noted inefficient lighting and maintenance shortcomings that were costing the association extra money. He said the building needed a manager who walks the property, housekeeping staff that works on a detailed schedule, and a plan to staff and care for the building.

Pietrafetta said A & P would save the building money in the long run. They start with a 90-day “transition module” to get personnel and procedures in place, from hiring staff to the building manager. “We test and trouble-shoot to find the right kind of people.”

Then the management contract begins, with specific deliverables and deadlines. Resident feedback is very important, he said.

Weisburd said their company manages 20,000 units. In his four years with A & P, they have only lost four projects. “We spend all of our time keeping our assignments.”

Weisburd was asked if building management would attend meetings at night. He said they would.

“Each regional manager manages eight or less properties,” he said. “Each has to be at each property at least half a day a week.”

Former board treasurer Bill Siegel asked about A & P’s management of the Bentley Bay and the Waverly. Weisburd said the Bentley Bay had a high delinquency rate, and they brought it down from 58 percent to 21 percent. He said the Waverly has been a challenge, with a change in board 40 days after they took over, and an issue with a manager who had to leave because of a medical issue.

Siegel also asked about their experience with older buildings that have structural maintenance issues. Weisburd said they have taken on comparable buildings to Nine Island and done well.

Board President Jeff Stokols asked what buildings were comparable to Nine Island. Weisburd mentioned One Island Place in Aventura

McLean asked if the current Nine Island employees would have to be absorbed by the management firm — and Weisburd said that was their policy. McLean asked was the “burden rate,” or markup, was for employees carried by the management company.

Weisburd said that rate is 25 percent for blue collar employees, and 35 percent for white collar employees.

Representatives from CSI Managment gave an overview of their company, which started overseeing commercial buildings for major companies before beginning property management in South Florida. Among the properties they manage is Fisher Island and the Ocean Reef Club.

Principal Mark Blackburn said the company has 2,500 employees. He said they manage units that range in cost from $300,000 to $3 million. Blackburn was joined by Director of Operations Katharine Olivia-Effon and Senior Property Manager Josh Toomey.

Blackburn said the company was interested in managing Nine Island for a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to get a foothold on Belle Isle and later take over management of all the buildings on the island. That would bring more economies of scale, he said.

“We excel in areas of preventative maintenance,” Blackburn said.. ” …we preserve the life of the building, to promote the happiness of the residents. Our level of support on site is unsurpassed.”

He said, “You will see immediate changes as far as cleanliness….we inspect, go over all service contracts, and training for staff.

Effron said now is “a perfect time in the economy to renegotiate vendor contracts.’’ She said Nine Island would be offered to choose from three candidates for a building manager.

Toomey, who oversees operations at Fisher Island, said he said he came from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and helped bring CSI a luxury hotel hospitality appoach to condominium management.

Effron said their firm has experience with pool deck and garage structural issues.

Blackburn said the company has lost two associations durring the last couple years, and they add five to seven condos a year. They only handle condos.

“I know we can turn this building around,” he said. ..”Our goal is to take over all the buildings in this cluster here….We have to perform, we need to do that.”

McLean asked what they would do about the employees who are currently employed by the building. Blackburn said they would prefer to hire legacy employees rather than have them remain separate from the management company. He said CSI doesn’t charge an additional “burden fee” in addition to health care, workman’s comp and social security.  He said they recommend that valet and security services be outsourced, but they don’t insist on it.

Blackburn said that as an additional service, CSI can provide conscierge services such as maid service, limo service, restaurant reservations because of a company it owns that provides hotel services.

Bill Siegel asked the to share another building they managed that had issues similar to Nine Island in terms of pool structural problems. Blackburn and Effron cited a building in Hallandale, and they offered to go their with board members.

The CSI representatives also touted the website the would make available for Nine Island, and how it provides for payments online, online concierge service for maintenance requests and other services.

One response to “Nine Island owners hear from two more management companies

  1. Pingback: Nine Island management proposals provide service distinctions, but no clear difference on cost « Belle Isle Blog

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