Jim Price - Ocean Place CondoJim Price is the Treasurer of the Ocean Place Condominium Association, which includes 256 units and approximately 500 residents in Lauderdale by the Sea, Florida. Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, Jim attended California Western University obtaining his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1968. Jim worked several jobs in the medical field and in mortgage loan administration before making his way to Florida in 1985. He has been on the Ocean Place Board for seven years, and served as President for two years.

Jim enjoys living near the beach and likes spending his time in the water. He has always enjoyed the beach lifestyle, which is why he made Ocean Place his home. Jim decided to become involved with the Ocean Place Board because he wanted to protect the owners’ investments in their homes.

This past week, I sat down with Jim to discuss his experiences working as the President of the Ocean Place Condominium Association.

Ashley: Ocean Place was originally an apartment building. Tell me about the transition from apartment to condo.

Jim: The change from an apartment complex to a condominium association in 2004 went very smoothly. The developer bought the condo building and he maintained the building during the process of turning it over to the owners. I was one of the first people who bought a unit from the developer. After renovations were made, a management company was chosen, and everyone was a part of something wonderful. I came to be on the board in 2007, which was right after the turnover took place. The first thing the board did (since we were the first board) was settle a developer warranty dispute which involved going through reams of paperwork, spending hours with our attorney, and ended with a 12 hour mediation. After that we changed our management company (previously handled by the developer). After interviewing three management companies, we chose to go with Campbell.

Ashley: Did your community experience issues with the housing crisis, including foreclosures and delinquencies? How did the community handle this?

Jim: The housing crisis and subsequent foreclosure disaster really took a toll on the community. With the downturn of the market, our delinquency rate for most of 2009 exceeded 20%. Many of the units were in foreclosure or already bank owned. Through time, and various techniques we have reduced that delinquency rate to under 2%. These techniques included: setting up payment methods for delinquent owners, obtaining a million dollar line of credit for restoration so we did not have to increase the monthly dues or have a special assessment when people could not afford it, and constant monitoring of delinquencies by the board and management to identify actions that could be taken. Budgeting well and establishing a great line of credit was crucial in those tough times.

Ashley: Has your community gone through any rough spots, if so, how did you overcome these?

Jim: The biggest problem for our community, aside from the housing crisis, was Hurricane Wilma. This hurricane caused a lot of damage due to the lack of hurricane shutters on the condos. Only six out of our 256 units had them. After repair, and proper budgeting, we were able to prepare and get shutters on all of the condos in the event of another hurricane. The damage from Wilma was about $400,000. This included, broken windows and patio doors, as well as landscaping and perimeter walls. Funds were available from the capital contribution account from the conversion. We now have a hurricane plan to prepare the condo and the residents for future storms. The plan includes, securing the building, clearing the patio furniture and other exterior items, securing all computer equipment, files and documents, resident preparations, evacuation routes, the nearest hurricane shelters and local emergency phone numbers.

Ashley: What initiatives have been taken to make Ocean Place more energy efficient?

Jim: Energy efficiency is a high priority at Ocean Place. We use reflective exterior colors and roofing to minimize heat, as well as window film to ensure the residents are getting the most out of their air conditioning. We implemented magnetic chillers which have saved us $30,000 per year in electric costs, and $10,000 on annual maintenance service costs. We also started using LED light bulbs to minimize the use of energy. We monitor our energy usage monthly and are constantly discussing further steps to reduce our consumption.

The Ocean Place Condominium Association has been managed by Campbell Property management for 7 ½ years. Mary Grebla has been there from the beginning of the relationship and is the Manager.

“Jim is very knowledgeable of the operation of Ocean Place and always considers what is best for all unit owners when making decisions for the association. He is a pleasure to work with, and both the management and staff appreciate his dedication and always helpful attitude,” said Mary.

“Meet the Director” is an ongoing series where we recognize an outstanding Director from a community association in South Florida.

Serving on the Board of a Community Association is a challenging and often thankless job. There are thousands of dedicated volunteers in South Florida that have stepped up to lead their communities and we hope this series serves as a reminder to us all – to thank those that have invested their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live.

by Ashley Dietz, Marketing Director, Campbell Property Management