The meeting was called to order at 7:08 PM. All Board members (Teresa Vilar “Tere”, Bonnie Ramos, Lina Blanco, Izzy Mereos, and Al Gross), along with Manager Belinda Behar, were present, therefore, a quorum was met. Additionally, Massi Voto, our engineer of record for the 40-year project, was also present. A motion was passed to waive the reading of the minutes from the previous meeting.
The agenda consisted of:
1. the adoption of a $1,500,000 special assessment to fund – among other things – PTC repairs (concrete work), the replacement of the building’s roofs, and the waterproofing of the balconies. (A complete list of all line items is available on the Meeting Notice Memo.)
2. the approval of the loan from Banco Popular in the amount of $1,500,000 to help finance the assessment for the sake of unit owners that prefer to pay over time.
All jobs – except the roof and electrical – were awarded to our current 40-year-recertification project contractors: AG Contractors (“AG”). This was done for cost savings on the advice of our engineers (Thornton Tomasetti, “TT”) represented by unit owner Massi Voto.
The floor was given to Massi, who noted that Texidor is our contractor for electrical work. He also noted that among several competing bids for PTC work, AG Contractors was the lowest.
Regarding work being done at Jasmin Condos: their planter is being emptied and waterproofed, and a walkway constructed by Jasmine Condominium in order to assure that moisture retention problems are avoided in the future.
For the roofing work, we will likely not go with AG. We have contacted Best Roofing, and are reaching other contractors to obtain competitive bids.
The replacement of the pool area fence will be performed by Island Fence, which submitted the most competitive bid out of the 3 bids obtained.
The meeting was then opened for questions.
The floor was given to Michael Mandell (#1808) who asked what are the “scope” and “timeline” of the assessment.
Belinda answered that the scope includes the elevators (a project that has run overbudget the last few years). The timing of all projects being covered is about a year, tentatively to the completion of the roof by year-end 2023.
Michael expressed concern that not all “major items” (any project costing more than 5% of the annual budget) are being subjected to competitive bidding, because the web site lacked complete documentation on the bidding of all major projects. As an example he used PTC work, which had two bids listed. And noted that Massi had expressed skepticism about AG’s technical expertise in this area, despite which AG was ultimately chosen. Massi responded that 3 bids were obtained. And Massi has since changed his opinion on AG’s ability to complete this work, based on other projects they are currently working on with subcontractors (such as National Concrete, who do specialize in PTC work). Additionally, AG has shown greater flexibility in coordinating with other projects. In the end, TT decided AG was the best contractor for this job. In any case, TT will be monitoring the work they do to assure that it meets a high standard.
Michael asked why waterproofing was not submitted to the bidding process. Lina responded that waterproofing is part of the original 40-year project, which was already submitted for bidding, and which AG was awarded. Further, AG is already using its scaffolds to do the work, and it would be extremely inefficient to have two different contractors, each using their own platforms to perform two separate aspects of the 40-year project. Massi assured us that AG has been very accommodating with costs, and that keeping them for the waterproofing will save money.
Michael argued that waterproofing is a separate contract from the 40-year. Massi asserted that it is a change order to the existing contract.
Michael brought up that at a previous meeting TT mentioned that AG was not allocating sufficient manpower to this building’s 40-year project. Massi responded that after subsequent meetings, AG doubled the manpower assigned.
Michael then brought up two reserve accounts that are marked as fully reserved: Carpets and Paint. Tere mentioned that the budget would be reviewed in the following week at the Budget Workshop, and that if it was deemed that these items required additional funding then such funding would be assigned at that time.
The floor was given to Gabriel Cano (#1704). Gabriel expressed concern for the status of the basement renovations. Specifically: there are 3 broken PTC joints, and 12 others in need of repair. And that all expansion joints need replacing. The engineer made it seem as if these were priorities, and Gabriel is concerned that 2.5 months have elapsed since this opinion was expressed with no work having been done. Gabriel asked Massi for confirmation of this.
Massi confirmed that there are 3 broken cables, and a complete analysis has not been completed, since it is not an easy task. Our permit is being reviewed by CMB. Massi expects the permit to be awarded within the next 4 weeks, and then work will begin. This permit can be updated if any additional work is deemed necessary.
Belinda and Massi both mentioned that – while we are still awaiting approval from CMB – the preliminary work for PTC renovation has already begun.
Damarys Cano (#1704) asked if Jasmin was cooperating with the necessary work being done on their property that affects moisture retainment by our basement wall. Massi affirmed that they were. But also said that our only real solution is to waterproof our wall. While they have agreed to replace the planter with a walkway (with proper drainage) to avoid this problem in the future, there is a chance we may have to resort to litigation to get this change completed.
It was asked if Jasmin’s planters were code compliant. The answer is not a simple one: the building was abandoned until 1997, when the building was renovated. The planters were installed then, and were not original to the building. If this was done improperly, Jasmin’s insurance provider should be put on notice that a property liability claim may be upcoming. However, doing so would likely ruin the relationship with Jasmin and possibly make necessary work currently in progress (wall waterproofing) more difficult. We need access to their property to complete this. If we begin a litigious process, we must complete this work first.
Aracelis Diazlay (#510) was given the floor. She asked if there was a timeline or schedule available for all the work being done. Massi mentioned that compiling one is possible. TT meets with AG on a regular basis. Massi estimates that waterproofing will require about 4 weeks. PTC work will take longer, and an accurate estimate is not yet possible.
Fausto Alvarez (#1604) was given the floor. He asked if the assessment covers all recommendations in the engineering report. Massi answered that it includes everything except for the balcony door/window replacement and the removal of shutters. This part of the project will require a unit owner vote that is upcoming (at the Budget Meeting in November). In any case, this does not need to be included in the assessment since these costs are the responsibility of the individual unit owners.
Massi mentioned that waterproofing will include the sloping of the balconies and the tile removal that the sloping necessitates.
Another unit owner mentioned that an inspector brought in to approve interior work would not approve it until their railings were brought up to code. This was very unusual, since CMB does not require the replacement of our current railings. And the railings were beyond the inspector’s scope of work.
Rail replacement was previous discussed, but eventually postponed since new railings:
1. would delay the completion of the 40-year project by at least 1 year,
2. would likely require a unit owner vote,
3. would cost about $3,000 per unit for aluminum railings that do not significantly improve building aesthetics, and much more for glass railings.
The floor was given to Michael again. He pointed out that if unit owners are required to install impact glass, this alone would likely extend the 40-year project into 2024. However, AG and Medina have contracted to complete impact glass installations in 3 months, so there hopefully will be no significant delay of the 40-year project. And the Association has the power to impose deadlines on owners that want the work done by a different contractor.
Elvira (#404) was given the floor. She had a question about the timeline. Work is being done on her balcony currently and wondered about how she could go about getting impact glass while this work was going on. She asked when she should request work be done. Lina responded that she should contact the contractor as soon as possible.
The floor was given to Alex Penelas (#503). He asked Massi if all recommendations made by the engineer are beings addressed and if it was expected that all violations would be removed. Massi confirmed that this was the case.
Massi was given the floor to comment on the fact that if we want the 40-year completed by mid-2023, we would not have time to change the railings. TT would be happy to change the scope of work, and Massi – personally – would vote in favor of replacing the railings, however it will result in a significant delay.
Depending on what railing is chosen, a feasibility study must be done. All requiring time and money.
Izzy had a question about the basement lighting line item of the assessment and what that entailed. Belinda and Massi responded that this item was for the replacement of fixtures with LED lights.
Izzy asked, then, if we finished the 40-year in May 2023 (as scheduled) when would we begin painting? Tere answered that we would begin as soon as possible. Izzy then brought up the “Touch Up Paint” line item, and why it was necessary if paint would begin soon after the 40-year’s completion.
This item is for painting as work is completed to not leave exposed stucco as work is ongoing. Izzy questioned the need for this. However, Massi confirmed that the paint was a necessary sealant.
A motion was made to adopt the special assessment. The motion was seconded. All were in favor and the motion was passed.
One owner mentioned that “walls-in” insurance covers special assessments. However, this may only apply to special assessments that result from hurricanes or other unexpected events.
One last question was asked about the bicycle room and whether it was cleared and organized. Tere mentioned that next year we will be organizing this room.
A motion was then made to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded. All were in favor and the motion was passed. The meeting was adjourned at 8:23 PM.