Nine Island management proposals provide service distinctions, but no clear difference on cost

CSI's Josh Toomey addresses Nine Island board members Boris Klopukh, Jeff Stokols, Michel Wehe, Blanka Rosenstiel and Mora Israel.

Four management companies have pitched Nine Island Avenue board members and unit owners on managing the Belle Isle condo, and distinctions have emerged on style and services, but not on price.

Thursday night, Atlantic and Pacific Companies and CSI Management Services outlined their approach to building management. You can read the live blog of those proposals here. On April 22, unit owners heard from KW Property Management and the longtime management firm the new board decided to jettison, the Continental Group. Summaries of their presentations are here.

After Thursday’s meeting, board president Jeff Stokols told your Belle Isle Blog that the board would decide at its Tuesday meeting on the company it prefers, and then negotiate a price and services package. Then the board would need to decide if the cost and range of services suit the building and its owners. Some board members indicated they’d like a better idea of how the companies compare on cost before choosing, so it will be interesting to see how that decision goes.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Nine Island residents can watch it on the internal cable channel.

Here are some observations and distinctions your Belle Isle Blog gleaned about the companies and their proposals on key topics:

  • Goodbye Continental Group. This firm is so outta here. Of course, this whole exercise started with the board’s decision to give them the boot. But Continental’s presentation showed two important truths — they failed to provide Nine Island with any of their own service improvements, and they lag behind their competitors are in what they offer.
  • Online Services. KW, A & P and CSI all pitched up-to-date websites for Nine Island that would allow residents to pay maintenance fees online, request services, and generally handle business after hours.
  • What happens to the current staff? Unclear. It’s a given that the employees who work for Continental will be costly to keep. Unit owners would be billed 30 percent of each of their annual salary to keep someone on Continental’s payroll. As for the 20 Nine Island employees who are paid directly by the association, all three competitors offered different approaches. KW indicated a willingness to keep all the Nine Island employees (they work in security, valet and front office), and did not say they would have to become employees of KW.  A & P said its policy is that those employees would have to become employees of the management company. CSI said that often, employees from the previous administration do not survive the transition, and that it preferred to bring whoever stays on to their payroll, though that is a negotiable issue. They also indicated a clear preference to outsource security and valet services. Both CSI and A&P indicated that its not unusual for employees from the old management to falter under the new management.
  • How they charge. A&P and KW indicated their fee structure includes a “burden fee” tacked on above an employees salary (this includes workman’s comp, insurance, taxes and profit). A&P put this amount at 25 percent for blue collar employees, 35 percent for white collar. CSI indicated they did not bill this way. They include salary and insurance costs, but separately charge a management fee.
  • Scale of operations. Continental is the biggest, overseeing more than 1 million units in 3,700 residential communities, ranging from planned communities to high-rise condos. A & P said it manages about 20,000 units, including such developments as Canyon Ranch, Bentley Bay and the Waverly on Miami Beach. They work with The Related Group and Lennar, among others. We don’t have a hard number on how many units CSI manages . They started as a commercial property manager, and got into condominiums later. They handle Fisher Island, Ocean Reef, Deering Bay and Anchor Bay in Hallandale, among others. KW manages 120 buildings, and 70 percent of them are in South Florida. They include Quantum on the Bay, 900 Biscayne, the Marquis in Miami and such older buildings as the Flamingo, Maison Grande and Decoplage on the beach.
  • Experience with construction management. All of the firms said they had experience with buildings like Nine Island, which has a major pool deck/parking garage issue ahead of it. CSI gave the most specifics on how it handled similar projects, including the Anchor Bay condo in Hallandale. KW said it had some similar experience, including ongoing work at the Charter Club in Miami.
  • Extra stuff. CSI has a concierge service through which unit owners could do everything from book a massage to hire maid service. It doesn’t cost the association extra (residents pay for what they use and CSI makes money on that) but it seemed like a unique offering. A&P is a Miami Beach based company comprised of principals who grew up here and attended Beach High. All of the companies said Nine Island was wasting money on inefficient lighting. None (except Continental) said they do not own any companies that do such work as landscaping or construction, and that helps them negotiate better prices for services. CSI’s principal, Mark Blackburn, gave an interesting answer when asked why the company wanted Nine Island’s business: Because they want to do all the buildings on Belle Isle. So Nine Island would be the place they bring everyone else to show what they can do.

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