Working closely with property management and resident-owners, the bank helps this Virginia property resolve major building problems
It was bad enough when Riverbend at Cascades Condominium in Sterling, Virginia, lost its insurance coverage because of excessive policy claims in 2014 and 2015.
But the situation worsened when managers for the 280-unit complex dug deeper and discovered numerous problems.
Engineering studies of the 20-year-old buildings, located outside of metropolitan Washington D.C., revealed that most pipes had been installed on non-insulated exterior walls. That led to pipe freezes in the winter. Roofs needed replacing. Large amounts of rotted wood allowed windows to become a source of constant leaks, creating more water infiltration issues.
Community Association Management Professionals (CAMP), which manages the property, reacted quickly to get the residential complex back on track. Led by CAMP’s Heather Graham, Riverbend sought renovation bids. Some reached as high as $5 million.
Resolving the property’s issues would mean a 22% increase in owner-members’ assessments. Moreover, restoring the insurance policy called for a premium increase of more than $100,000.
Graham, CAMP’s executive vice president and Riverbend manager, reached out to NCB, a bank that understands the needs and challenges of renovating condominium properties. Under association banking specialist Don Plank, NCB provided a loan flexible enough to adjust to actual renovation costs. That proved advantageous when Graham and Riverbend board member Peter Lanfranchi were able to get construction costs lowered to $4 million.
Faced with the large project, CAMP and Riverbend’s board of directors made communication with member-owners a priority. Regular notices were sent to the membership. Meetings were held showcasing the design and color-scheme changes. When it became apparent that a membership vote was needed for the project, the board appointed communication liaisons for each building to help obtain proxies. The vote would require at least 51 percent approval.
“NCB’s Don Plank was particularly helpful in explaining the options to the board so that they understood the importance of this entire process,” Graham recalls.
The vote passed, and the renovations have moved forward. Insulation, siding, windows and patio doors have been replaced. Water infiltration issues have been resolved. Individual residents are seeing energy savings. Work continues on exterior painting and lighting. Riverbend’s overall appearance is fresh and updated. The project also has helped increase the property values of individual units.
“The loan repayment and options were ideal for what the community needed,” notes Graham. “The residents are totally thrilled with the entire process.”
“When the bank knows that association owners are behind a renovation project, it gives us more confidence,” Plank says. “For a project of this size to work, there has to be excellent communication among property managers, residents and staff members, and you can tell Riverbend has it.”