Although the buildings were erected in 1955, Florian Gardens did not become a tenant-owned property until May 1989. As the property is nearing its 30th year as a co-op, the estate which sold for $550,000 is now worth millions.
To convert or not to convert. For several months, the board of directors has been discussing with management the feasibility of converting FGC from a low-equity to a market-rate co-op. Purportedly, the primary benefit of a conversion would be the equity return. While the profit from selling a unit under market-rate would far exceed the return residents now receive when they vacate, the possibility of suddenly incurring a monthly carrying charge that is significantly higher than what is currently being paid to achieve that result is unappealing to many members. Residents who were with FGC from the beginning will tell you that the purpose of purchasing and converting the Florian Gardens complex was to preserve affordable housing for themselves and other District residents.
At a special meeting on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, members got the opportunity to weigh in on the discussion. Although there was less than 100 percent representation by the membership, the turnout was impressive.
An article in the January issue of The Cooperator recently stated: “Cooperate apartment corporations often confront situations where a particular shareholder’s behavior is offensive to others in the building.” Truer words have not been spoken and FGC is no exception.
Even before the District legalized marijuana in February 2015, FGC’s board was receiving complaints from some co-op members about the smell of marijuana. Reportedly, it was often prevalent in the hallway on certain floors and seeping into their unit. When the city made it lawful for DC residents to possess and use limited amounts of marijuana, it created an additional revenue source for the city and satisfied the appetite of potheads, but it also added to the problem for non-smoking residents living in multi-family housing. Adamant non-smokers object to inhaling any second-hand smoke, including weed. This presents a dilemma for a board that tries to appease disgruntled non-smoker shareholders without infringing on the rights of potheads, er, smokers in general.
The governing documents of cooperative apartments and condos typically contain provisions that prohibit disruptive and illegal conduct by a shareholder. These documents usually allow for termination of a shareholder’s membership for unacceptable behavior. But when the original documents do not contain a non-smoking policy, adding one could be like finding a sophisticated supporter at a Trump rally.
In the distant past, William (Skip) Davis maintained the FGC property including clearing the snow. Alfred (Moose) Coleman performed the task in recent years. Then, three years ago, the co-op’s directors and property manager had a light-bulb moment and hired e-Landscape to handle snow removal. It was a resourceful step because during the weekend of January 22–24 a blizzard dropped 17-plus inches of snow throughout the DMV, shutting down public transportation and bringing the city to a standstill.
Shortly after the monster storm ended, the snow removal company arrived with their equipment and went to work. Within a few hours FGC’s property was accessible to pedestrians and vehicles. Additionally, appreciation is owed to a couple of co-op residents who, before the arrival of the snow removal team, took it upon themselves to shovel narrow walkways among the buildings. And one more thing — to err on the side of caution — professionals were hired to clear the snow off the roofs of the 61-year-old structures.
‘Twas the night before Christmas. The temperature outside was 64 degrees, but inside the old buildings where units lack controllable thermostats and cooks were busy preparing side dishes for the next day’s meal, it was hot as h#*l. The uncommonly warm December weather forced many residents to run their air conditioners. Ahhh!
But wouldn’t you know it, someone was not feeling the holiday spirit. A grinch stole one of the packages left by UPS in Building ’28. Another (or perhaps the same grinch) vandalized one of the Christmas ornaments in the lobby. It’s too bad that some people are so miserable in their life that they could care less about spoiling the joy for everyone else.