Home Page | Archives

DECEMBER 12, 2016


President Eileen Bendis
Pres Eileen Bendis
Proposed Budget for CY2016 -
Kande Lewandowski gave a detailed presentation of the Regency Tower Association CY2017 Budget.

The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Regency Tower was called to order by the President, Eileen Bendis.

Manager Kande Lewandowski
Manager Kande
Roll Call -
Board Members Present: Eileen Bendis, Eric Berkowitz, Steven Faigin, Fern McBride

Board Members on conference call: Richard Robins, Gene Sicoli

Board Members Excused: Abe Ben Aviv

Approval of Minutes - Minutes of the September 8, 2016 meeting were distributed and posted in advance. A motion was made by Eric Berkowitz to accept the minutes as written. The motion was seconded and passed by general consent.

President’s Report - President Eileen Bendis read her President’s Report. Click Here to read the President’s Report.

Financial Report - The Treasurer’s Report will be filed for audit.

There was a quorum of proxies to allow partial reserves for the CY2017 Budget.

Treasurer Steven Faigin
Treas Steve Faigin
Report on Reserves Vote
- President Eileen Bendis reported the Limited Proxy results as follows:

Number voting to Partially Fund Statutory Reserves: 115
Number voting to Fully Fund Statutory Reserves:     3

Secretary Fern McBride
Secretary Fern McBride

Board Vote on CY2017 Budget - A motion to adopt the CY2017 Budget as presented with partial reserves was made by Steven Faigin.

The motion was seconded

Motion passed by general consent.

*Association financial records are available in the Regency Tower office to all association members via official request. - editor*

Decorating Committee Update - President Bendis then called for Committee Reports. An overview of the current status of the redecorating project was presented Click Here to read Decorating Committee Chair Nancy Seltzer's Progress Report about the common area improvements.

Adjournment - No further business. Meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.


New Manager Chuck Linder
New Manager
Chuck Linder
The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Regency Tower was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by the President, Eileen Bendis.

Roll Call - Board Members Present: Eileen Bendis, Eric Berkowitz, Steven Faigin, Fern McBride

Board Members on conference call: Richard Robins, Gene Sicoli

Board Members Excused: Abe Ben Aviv

Manager - A motion to hire Mr. Charles E. Linder for the position of Manager for the Regency Tower Association was made by Steven Faigin. The motion was seconded and passed by general consent.

Adjournment - No further business. Meeting adjourned at 7:13 p.m.

Fern McBride
Board Secretary

Click to Top of Page


DECEMBER 12, 2016

Board President Eileen Bendis’
Message to Members

President Eileen Bendis
Pres. Eileen Bendis
Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen,

New Regency Tower Cooling Tower
New Cooling Tower
Let me begin by thanking you for being patient during our remodeling initiative with its inherent dust, noise, and a little chaos. Hopefully, in a few more weeks this will all be behind us and we will be appreciative of the new look. If you wish to criticize or complain about this (or anything else), please write the office - the appropriate person will address the issue. Don’t take it out on the employees; they have nothing to do with the work being undertaken and don’t need to have anyone complaining to them.

We had a very busy year, finishing the emergency generator and cooling tower projects - replacements that were necessary, particularly in light of the Regency Tower’s 47 year existence. Having the beach re-nourishment completed was a very pleasant surprise, and, with another year to go on the A1A road project,
New Regency Tower Beach
New Beach
we can look forward to obstacle-free driving!

New Staff Accountant Teresa Baker
New Staff Accountant
Teresa Baker
New Manager Chuck Linder
New Manager
Chuck Linder
On a sad note, our General Manager, Kande Lewandowski is leaving after many years. She will be missed, having got us through our major projects and keeping us under budget with her accounting skill, hiring some very good employees and always being courteous and gracious with residents - big shoes to fill. However, I think we have found that someone in Mr. Charles Linder (known as “Chuck”) - to fill those shoes and become our new General Manager. He has many years of experience in the condominium management business. Also, we've hired a part-time staff accountant, Mrs. Teresa Baker. I dragged her out of retirement to maintain the even flow that Kande left. I feel that Chuck and Teresa will each be a good fit for our building. I am looking forward to an easy, smooth transition and working with them. Please introduce yourself so they get to know you.

Nasty Rusting Bicycle
You've got to be Kidding
Just a few last minute notices. There are still a few bicycles that are not tagged. This is the last warning before they are donated. There is a minimal yearly fee just so we can keep a handle on who owns the bikes. We have had people move out and forget bikes that sat there for months, just rusting away. Also, when was the last time you looked in your storage locker on your floor? If you have no idea what is in there, you probably haven’t missed it and don’t need it. Some are so cluttered; take time to clean them out, please.

That’s it! Thanks again for your patience. Happy Holidays to all!

Eileen Bendis

Click to Top of Page

Special Update

Old Regency Tower Rooftop Cooling Tower
Old Regency Tower Rooftop Cooling Tower
September 30, 2016 - As you are doubtless aware, our cooling tower project began on Wednesday, September 21. The old cooling tower that powered our air conditioners was shut down on Thursday, September 29 at 8 AM, and service was scheduled for restoration some time during Tuesday, October 4. Since rooftop construction is wholly dependent on weather conditions, delays due to high winds or rain would be announced immediately. If provided the opportunity, it was strongly recommended that residents “Get out of Dodge”.

Spot Cooler
Spot Cooler
For those of us who anticipated remaining in residence, the association arranged for the rental of room size air conditioning units called spot coolers. These units were made available for rent directly from the vendor. Those interested were exhorted to contact the office with the number of required units. The weekly rental fee included delivery, set-up, and removal. Since the days had often been brutally hot and the evenings uncomfortably humid, they were recommended for placement in bedrooms, especially for residents burdened by respiratory or coronary issues. The estimated cost was $400. A final agreement would be executed between the unit owner and the vendor. Each unit could cool one large or two standard rooms. A quick response was requested - as time was short.

Although most of our owners were pleased that the cooling tower project was finally underway, some had expressed confusion about the project’s scheduling and others thought we were moving too fast. Since our May 2016 Cooling Tower Report, a series of planned and unplanned events dictated how – and why – the project was finally launched. This report will help fill in some blanks.

Why Now?

There is no such thing as a “good time” to lose air conditioning in Florida. During the past year, scores of owners were questioned about scheduling the project. An overwhelming majority made one of two recommendations. We were admonished to avoid the “dog days” of late June, July and August as well as the extended Holiday Season from November through March.

While it is clearly preferable to schedule the project when the fewest people are in residence (over the summer months), that is also when the weather is most brutal. Temperatures are cooler in January and February, which explains why the occupancy rate skyrockets during those months, as the building fills with visiting friends and family. The annual influx of our “snowbirds” begins in late October and early November, extends through the Holiday Season and wanes in late March and April (as the temperatures in “second” homes grow increasingly comfortable).

That leaves two “windows of opportunity”: from mid-September to mid-October – or from May to mid-June. Ironically, although the project commenced during one of these seasonal “sweet spots”, it had little to do with data harvested from “pool talk” or elevator debates, but a more compelling factor – your wallet.

Regulatory Rat Traps

While crawling through City of Fort Lauderdale design review, a wide variety of permitting issues were addressed. Akin to swimming in molasses, more than a year was spent negotiating two specific requirements that would have exploded project costs. Fortunately, we began the replacement process while the tower is still fully functional and serviceable, affording us sufficient time to contest costly regulatory mandates with no ostensible benefit.

SPEC Structural Engineer John Evans P.E.
SPEC Engineer
John Evans
Click to SPEC Engineering website The first major obstacle was resolved in March. As detailed in our May report, design review initially required evacuation of the cooling tower into a sanitary drain. Like most high-rise structures built 40 years ago, we have a rooftop storm drain and a sanitary drain in the garage (where our domestic water enters and leaves the property). Building a sanitary drain on the roof that extends to street-level could cost several hundred thousand dollars. Fortunately, our consulting engineer, John Evans of SPEC Engineering, negotiated an acceptable work-around. On March 30, 2016, the plumbing examiner charged with vetting our project’s drainage plans approved the use of a vent stack with an increaser. Evans estimated the cost at roughly $12,000.

Playa del Mar & Galt Ocean Club - Walled Cooling Towers
Playa del Mar & Galt Ocean Club - Walled Cooling Towers
Far more elusive, the second obstacle was still being negotiated when the May report was released. Plan examiners had demanded that an aesthetically acceptable “screen” be erected around the cooling tower, a code requirement for construction visible from any public right-of-way. Given its rooftop location, only a category-5 hardened wall would suffice - at an estimated cost ranging to $100,000.

Playa del Mar
Playa del Mar and Regency Tower
Since the only public right-of-way from which the old cooling tower was visible is a 40-foot stretch of Galt Ocean Drive in front of Playa del Mar, after several screening alternative were rejected, we proposed relocating the planned tower from its former site at the edge of the building to the middle of the roof, where it could no longer be seen from the street. Following another inexplicable rejection, our engineer conferenced with Fort Lauderdale Interim Assistant Building Official Victor Blanco, who reversed course and approved the revision on July 15, 2016.

Click to Smart Air Systems website Since this strategic adaptation was anticipated as a possible regulatory remedy, it was included in the Association’s 2015 Assessment Report, and fully funded as a contingent expense. Our engineer and contractor Smart Air Systems agreed that relocating the cooling tower would require a new support stand anchored to the roof, additional piping and new electrical lines. After calling on subcontractor J.S Steel Fabricators to price out building the stand, and consulting with their Electrical and Plumbing subcontractors, Smart Air estimated the additional cost at $40,000 – a no-brainer – as it would obviate the need for a $100,000 “eyesore wall”. Unfortunately, the contractor didn’t realize that the crane included in their bid was already stretched to its maximum capacity. They would need a larger, more expensive crane to reach the middle of our roof.

Crane Crap Shoot

Drain Components Under Lower Driveway
Drain Components Under Lower Driveway
Click to J.S Steel Fabricators The north and south parking decks that cover our garage are structurally insufficient to support the weight of the larger crane. Since the heavier crane would also threaten a system of French Drains, catch basins and a gravity well interred in the lower driveway, our engineer enumerated our alternatives: the crane could either be staged in the street or on one of the two adjacent association properties. Since northern neighbor Playa del Mar also has a below grade garage, their deck would be equally vulnerable to collapse, so they were not an option.

Staging the crane in the street is marred by two adverse impacts. First, an even larger crane would be required to lift the new tower across the broad span from Galt Ocean Drive to the middle of the roof, which would hike the cost by an additional $40,000 - $45,000 (as estimated by several crane operators).
Huge Hunter Merchant Crane
Huge Hunter Merchant Crane
Second - setting up on the public right-of-way would require another city permit, and given concerns expressed by Fort Lauderdale design review about damaging underground utilities, the permit application would also require extensive evidentiary documentation (underground x-rays, engineering reports, etc.) and add an unknown number of months to the approval process. Resigned to being saddled with an unavoidable additional expense, on August 1, Smart Air Systems submitted a change order for the extra costs. After a year of battling with the City to cut regulatory costs, we had no intention of passing a chunk of the hard-fought windfall to a contractor.

Our neighbor to the south - Galt Ocean Club - has no sub-grade garage. Their unit owners park across the street in a rented underground garage located beneath Winn-Dixie. If we could prevail upon the Galt Ocean Club Board of Directors to approve use of their parking deck as a staging area, its close proximity to our building would allow us to use the smaller crane, avoid the permitting delays, reverse the significant incremental cost, and shred the Smart Air change order.

A Good Neighbor

Winn Dixie Garage Entrance
Winn Dixie Garage Entrance
Regency Tower and Galt Ocean Club
Regency Tower and Galt Ocean Club
At a preliminary meeting, Galt Ocean Club Administrator (manager) Israel Gonzalez advised that their Board didn’t want to pay for possible damage repairs and wait for reimbursement. Our engineer suggested that we provide a modest financial reserve with which they could repair likely impacts to their pavers, perimeter wall, planters, landscaping, etc. Israel also asked if we could commence construction as soon as possible, and complete the project prior to an October influx of returning Galt Ocean Club snowbirds

Galt Ocean Club North Deck
Galt Ocean Club North Deck
As recommended by their Board President in mid-August, we packaged a formal request to their Board with a site plan indicating where the crane would be staged on their deck. The request included protective protocols for their residents and a plan to indemnify property damage. We also agreed to add their association to the crane operator’s liability coverage. After several weeks of negotiations, the Galt Ocean Club board conducted a vote to determine whether we could use their deck. On September 5, we were notified that they had agreed to help us remedy this dilemma, despite the substantial inconvenience to their own members.

Click to Campny Roof Maintenance We moved expeditiously to take advantage of this opportunity. Pending Galt Ocean Club approval, general contractor Smart Air (and electrical, mechanical and plumbing subcontractors) was prepared to mobilize, as was Campany Roofing, a roof maintenance outfit charged with performing on-site repairs to membrane penetrations. Smart Air still had to schedule the crane, which could not be done until a commitment was received from Galt Ocean Club. Once the contractor and the crane operator locked up a date, Manager Kande Lewandowski pumped out scheduling notices for residents on September 12 – detailing dates and duration of the impending project.

Opening Bell

Twin Towers Take Flight
Twin Cooling Towers Take Flight
Click to Hunter Merchant Crane On Monday, September 19, consecutive pre-construction meetings toggled between the Rendezvous Room and the roof; enabling our engineer to effectively integrate contractor and subcontractor work schedules. On Wednesday, September 21, J.S. Steel mechanics began assembling the new tower’s mid-roof support stand. After each section of the support base was affixed to the roof, our roofer restored membrane integrity to the attachment site, as our warranty is conditional on the roof remaining waterproof.

Twin Cooling Towers on Roof Stand
Cooling Towers on New Roof Stand
On Tuesday, September 27, a fleet of enormous vehicles and a “helper crane” descended on the Galt Ocean Club north parking deck, where a crew of Hunter Merchant Crane mechanics began assembling the huge crane. After extending the 80-foot crane an additional 160 feet, the new twin cooling towers staged on our deck were flown to the roof on September 28, and attached to the new base. Once the old tower was disabled at 8 a.m. on September 29, Smart Air technicians expunged its content while a team of electricians and plumbers disconnected the electrical and drainage lines. The old tower was later guided into the lower driveway parking deck, where it was disassembled by a demolition crew and prepared for scrap disposal.

The New and Old Cooling Towers
The New and Old Cooling Towers - What a Difference
On Friday, September 30, the crane on the Galt Ocean Club parking deck was dismantled and removed. Manager Kande Lewandowski organized a staff cleanup of the staging area and took a damage inventory that will be addressed at their Board’s discretion. At an ad hoc Friday evening progress meeting with the contractor, it was mutually concluded that the work might be completed by Saturday night instead of Tuesday, as originally planned.
Kande Watches Project Unfold
Kande Watches Project Unfold
Once the weekend overtime was authorized, a crew of mechanics and electricians shrugged off an early Saturday morning shower and spent the day connecting the new tandem cooling towers to the drainage lines, the upgraded electrical controls and the condenser pump in the Maintenance Room. After bleeding air from the lines and troubleshooting start-up procedures, the new system became operational at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening. From 7 to 9 p.m., Lewandowski and Board President Eileen Bendis led a team of security staffers through our hallways, and conducted a floor by floor reboot of two hundred closeted A/C units.

In contrast with the two-week timetable announced prior to commencing construction, the project was completed ten days after the September 21 launch date, a new record on the Galt Mile for a cooling tower replacement. More importantly, since the six days planned for the actual switchover was halved; those of us in residence only had to “sweat it out” with fans and spot coolers for less than three days. Working closely with our engineer to quickly resolve construction issues, our contractors had exceeded our expectations. We also had a secret weapon.

The Secreat Weapon

Maintenance Chief Charlie Davis
Maintenance Chief Charlie Davis
In addition to their regular duties, our staffers went the extra mile to expedite the project and smooth the inconvenience for those in residence. While in constant communication with project planners, Manager Kande Lewandowski raced between the office, the roof, the lower deck, the Maintenance Room, the Front Desk and the Receiving Room to vaporize project roadblocks. Maintenance Chief Charlie Davis provided the contractors with equipment and materials as requested. Chief of Security Eddie Rodgers assisted their crews with cordoning temporary danger zones, which his security staffers restored for use by our residents afterwards. Vehicles neglected by owners exploring last-minute departure plans were either jump started or fully recharged, as residents who appeared distressed were escorted to their homes and contacted again later to check their condition.

Chief of Security Eddie Rodgers
Chief of Security Eddie Rodgers
Incidents concerning the project or our residents’ well-being were immediately reported to association officials and our manager. In turn, they followed up with a timely call to our engineer, a contractor, or a resident who requested assistance. Using this “early warning system”, our engineer and planning team were able to resolve potential obstacles before they could delay the project. It paid off. On Sunday morning, while those in residence expressed a combination of disbelief and delight with the early completion, out-of-town owners called or emailed to confirm that air conditioning was restored three days ahead of schedule before returning to their South Florida homes.

We owe a debt of gratitude to our neighbors in Galt Ocean Club, which we will repay in kind when they need our help. Their sacrifice unraveled a Gordian Knot of regulatory delays and saved us a bundle. Throughout the project, our board and manager aspired to three goals – replacing the aging tower, minimizing the inconvenience – and staying on budget. These objectives were met. While the common areas undergo a long-awaited modernization, preparations will commence for a concrete restoration to rehabilitate our balconies, building columns and expansion joints. For a preliminary update – stay tuned.

Post Script: Mother Nature’s Acid Test

Click to Hurricane Matthew Click to Hurricane Matthew A few days after our A/C was restored, Hurricane Matthew battered the South Florida coast. While those who remained in residence were understandably fearful of the fierce devastation threatened by the offshore cyclone, the newly expanded beach absorbed the high-energy storm surge, our impact glass windows and doors repelled the windstorm onslaught and the new rooftop cooling towers – unscathed by 130-mph winds – provided uninterrupted control of our environment throughout the ordeal. This was no “happy accident”. Among the reasons why City officials approved eliminating the requirement for a wall around the cooling tower were plans submitted by our engineer demonstrating a substructure fortified to withstand hurricane-force winds.

Before and during the storm, employees, association officials and residents took care of one another – like a family. Thanks to staffers directed by Manager Kande Lewandowski - who efficiently implemented the Board’s Hurricane preparation protocols – a cursory post-storm inspection of the entire association property (including the roof) revealed negligible damage. More on this later...

Click To Top of Page

Annual Holiday Fund for Employees

The Holiday Season has once again brightened our lives, providing an opportuninty to share our blessings with those who help maintain our home and protect our families. We are asking everyone to contribute to the Regency Tower Employees’ Holiday Fund for 2016. This fund shows our appreciation to all members of our staff for their ongoing efforts to make living at the Regency Tower safe, comfortable and pleasant.

The total amount received will be divided among all members of our staff. Although many residents give more than the suggested minimum of $100, anything you contribute will be greatly appreciated. These distributions are solely funded by your generosity, and are never subsidized by association resources. We thank you for your timely response to this request.

Please make your check payable to the “R. T. Employees’ Holiday Fund” and deposit it into the HOLIDAY FUND box on the Security Desk. If you are not in residence, please mail your contribution addressed to: Regency Tower Employees’ Holiday Fund by December 1, 2016 so that distribution may be made at the Employees’ Holiday Party in December.

Our committee wishes you and your family a joyous Holiday Season, as well as happiness and good health throughout the coming year.

Please keep in mind that many of our employees extended themselves far beyond their respective “job descriptions” before, during and after every emergency. Their actions contribute heavily to moderating the inconvenience and damage costs for the hundreds of problems that pass unnoticed because THEY DO THEIR JOB SO WELL. This is an opportunity for each of us to personally show our gratitude and reward their dedication. Please DON’T ALLOW IT TO PASS without having done so - editor

Employee Holiday Fund Committee

Ofelia Alleguez
Shirley Hopkins
Cathie Lenz

Click to Top of Page



Decorating Committee
Nancy Seltzer

Decorating Committee Chair Nancy Seltzer
Decorating Committee
Chair Nancy Seltzer
At the December 12, 2016 Regency Tower Budget Meeting, Decorating Committee Chair Nancy Seltzer gave a progress report about the common area renovations at multiple locations in Regency Tower. Although addressed to the board, it is meant for YOU! Prior to commencing construction, Decorating Committee members met with several Board members and the manager to devise protocols for minimizing the unavoidable inconvenience to residents and / or disruptions to association operations. With the help of our staff, they've worked to cushion these adverse impacts, and are making a tough situation more tolerable.

See below for the latest info about the many improvements currently underway. - Editor

December 12, 2016

Dear Regency Tower Board of Directors,

Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to give you an overview of the current status of the redecorating project. For ease of understanding, we will provide the project update by category.

Furniture and décor - Furnishings for the lobby and Rendezvous Room have been purchased. Items that need to be ordered: Garage level furniture and game room items.

Lobby Flooring
Lobby Floor
Flooring - All flooring has been purchased and 95% of the flooring installation has been completed. Additionally, we purchased flooring for the office and the security station in the garage level. This was done in order to ensure that the office flooring matched the lobby and the security station flooring matched the garage level rooms (elevator lobby, laundry room and garage level bathroom)

Appliances and fixtures - All appliances and fixtures have been purchased. This includes; Rendezvous room appliances and bathroom fixtures (lobby and garage level).

Built-in cabinetry - Cabinetry includes: Security desk, console table in lobby, table in mail room and new partitions for the lobby level bathrooms. All items, except the partitions, have been paid for in full or partially.

Cabinets - Cabinets and granite counter tops for the Rendezvous room and game room have been paid in full. We are waiting for the walls to be repaired to install the Rendezvous room cabinets. The game room will be started after the lobby level has been completed.

Window treatments - Solar shades for the Rendezvous room and silky silver shears for the lobby area have been paid for and/or ordered.

Doors - Doors will be three panel glass doors with the exception of the game room which will be one glass panel. Doors will be installed at the entrance to the first floor residences, Rendezvous room, exercise room and office. Lighting Fixtures – All lighting fixtures have been purchased. Electrician will be starting on the project Tuesday, December 13, 2016.

Lobby Ceiling
Lobby Ceiling Glows - What a Difference!
Ceiling Tiles - Ceiling tiles have been received and paid in full. Garage level, lobby level and residential levels one through seven have been started and are close to completion.

Painting - Painting will take place at the end of the project.

Elevators - Renovation of elevators will begin on January 18, 2016.

Wall treatments and mirrors - Wall treatments and faux painting will begin after all repair/construction has been completed in the lobby.

Removal of mirrors and trim - Removal of mirrors and trims has been completed.

Plumber - Work on the lobby level bathrooms has started. Plumber is expected to return on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 to complete men’s room plumbing.

Electrician - Electrician will be starting on the project Tuesday, December 13, 2016.

Designer - The designer has been onsite daily and has been coordinating services as well as meeting with committee members.

Respectfully submitted,

Regency Tower Design and Decorating Committee

In her May 2016 committee report, Decorating Committee Chair Nancy Seltzer made an impactful observation. She said, “Currently the highest per square foot price that has been received in Regency Tower in the past 12 months is $234 per square foot. In both Regency South and Riviera, sister buildings with the same floor plans but not as ideally located as Regency Tower, the highest price per square foot in the past 12 months was $279.”

Seltzer concluded “At $43 per square foot higher, Regency South and Riviera units command almost a 20% premium over the unit values in Regency Tower.” While Seltzer surmised that the project would “create a renovated, contemporary environment that owners will be proud of,” a palpable boost to unit values should also resonate with every Regency Tower owner. For a sneak peek at the endgame, click on each of the two renderings of the completed lobby provided below. - Editor

View from the Front Entrance View from the Lobby Security Desk
Click on Pic to Enlarge Click on Pic to Enlarge

Ask your realtor how an updated lobby impacts the value of your home.

Click to Top of Page



Home Page | Archives

Click to Top of Page