All posts by Mike Sperling

Two Victory Road Apartments on the Lynn/Salem Line Feature Community Room, Gym and Services

Senior couple sitting together hand in hand on the sofa. happy mature couple looking relaxed and content together.

Two Victory Road Apartments on the Lynn/Salem line is an ideal home for seniors looking for an independent community. The convenient forty unit property features a community room and gym. Along with the enhanced spaces, Two Victory Road Apartments offers activities organized by a resident service coordinator.

The bright community room features a kitchen, new furnishings and a large screen television. Residents help create and enjoy an ongoing activities calendar featuring a Senior Wellness Program as well as recreational activities and educational workshops. Seniors looking for a home, rather than an apartment will thrive with the new amenities and services at Two Victory Road Apartments. The goal is to create a vibrant community where seniors can enjoy healthful living and activities.

“The state-of-the-art community room, combined with programs and activities which are overseen by an on-site coordinator plus private home services create a wonderful community for senior residents. Crowninshield Management continues to strive, and be successful, at staying ahead of the curve in creating thriving residential living communities,” says Susan MacNeil, RSC Program Manager and Quality Assurance Consultant.

Seven Steps to Selecting the Perfect Property Management Company

Are you in the market to find assistance in the care and maintenance of your property? Hiring a trusted property management company can give you peace of mind that your community is well cared for. Whether you lead a condominium association, homeowners association, apartment community, single family home development, retail property, shopping center, public housing, office building or industrial park, take a moment to learn the seven steps to take to hire a trusted property management company.

Engage the services of  a property management company that is an ACCREDITED MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION ® with the Institute of Real Estate Management.
The AMO accreditation is the only recognition of excellence given to real estate management firms. The requirements are now more relevant than ever to real estate managers, their clients, and the assets they manage. To earn the AMO accreditation, real estate management firms must now meet even more standards and abide by a new AMO Code of Professional Ethics.

Make sure the property management company can manage owner and tenant funds.
For apartment communities and commercial buildings,  it is important that the  property management company has the capacity and fiduciary acumen to manage rental income, reserve funds and security deposits.

Ask if the property management company is familiar with your market and area.
Check to see how long the company has been in business and ask for references. Do your due diligence by researching the company and making sure they are specialists in your particular area, understand your target market and know the neighborhood where your property is located.

Check to see if  the company offers a robust roster of services.
It is helpful if the property management company offers services such as administrative management services, management consulting and financial management services for condominium communities, homeowners associations, and commercial properties.

Ask about customer service policies.
Typically a professional property management company works 24/7/365. Be sure that the company has a clear coverage policy in place for contact after hours, weekends and holidays.

Inquire if the company has experience with your type of property.
If you are looking for a property management company for a condominium association, homeowners association, apartment community, single family home development, retail property, shopping center, public housing, office building or industrial park,  be sure to look for a property management company with specific experience working in that field. Ask the team to share examples of how they have dealt with challenging situations and how they will enhance your property.

Get references.
Ask the prospective company for a list of clients similar to your property.  You should speak to them directly. It is a wise investment of your time to check out the company before you engage their services.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Spring is a great time to replant and refresh

A great number of condominiums in the Boston area were built in the late 1970’s and 1980’s at a time when landscaping was given little thought other than to attract buyers at the entry. Consequently many of the outdoor areas are in need of an update. Here are seven fast tips to help your garden grow.

Make sure your landscaping is being maintained by a professional landscaper. Professional and uniform landscaping are the hallmarks of a well-managed property.

Repot with resilient varieties
Remove old weather damaged plantings and replace with today’s garden varieties that are more resilient to our climate, disease and more appropriate for residential communities.

Think low maintenance
Plants that are native to the region are a great bet.  Along with saving time because they are lower maintenance, you will also save water.

Consider dwarf varieties
Tight on space?  Many professional landscapers recommend using any number of dwarf varieties to replace your old plantings.

Install hardscapes
Looking to create architectural interest in your garden? Consider structures such as terraces, walls and paths. These areas can be constructed of wood, stone, brick or concrete. Walkways are a lovely way to inspire residents to peacefully meander through gardens.

Clean bird baths
Remember to clean and disinfect bird baths. Also after thoroughly disinfecting and cleaning bird baths rinse and refill with fresh water weekly.

Consider landscape lighting
Illuminating beautiful landscaped gardens creates a wonderful ambience to light up the lives of your residents.

Rosemary Riccio Finds Home at Crowninshield Management Corp.


Needham native Rosemary Riccio has always loved property management and Boston’s North Shore and Merrimack Valley. Rosemary got involved with property management while living in Atlanta, Georgia as Operations Coordinator and Neighborhood Production Coordinator at John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods. She then served as a Portfolio Manager at  Atlanta firms Neighborhood Management Associates and Community Management Associates. Upon return to Massachusetts, she worked as a Portfolio Manager at a Boston based management firm before joining the Crowninshield team as a Regional Portfolio Manager.

“I love that Crowninshield is a family-owned business. The minute I joined the team I felt like I had been here for years. It is a wonderful company with a vibrant young staff. I am so impressed with their internship program that allows college students to gain experience by working alongside property managers ,” said Rosemary.

Ms Riccio is graduate of Endicott College in Beverly.  Rosemary is a CAI member and has her CMCA and AMA designations. She and her husband, Jim, live in Haverhill with their two daughters.  Along with gardening and spending as much time as she can on the beach, Rosemary is an avid Patriots fan.

How A Resident Service Coordinator Helps Seniors Age in Place

“Our Resident Service Coordinators (RSC) help seniors age in place safely and with dignity,” says Susan MacNeil Quality Assurance Consultant and Program Manager at Crowninshield Management Corp. MacNeil has worked at Crowninshield  for over a decade and sees the myriad benefits having RSCs on property has for residents ages 62 and older. The oldest resident onsite is 107 years old and enjoying living independently with help from the resources coordinated through her RSC.

Along with connecting residents with a network of services available in the greater community through federal and state entitlement programs, the RSC often helps residents gain access to a medley of other services and resources such as food assistance, transportation, personal care assistance, medical help and assistance navigating the health insurance and healthcare systems. “Residents have a buffet of choices available to them and can customize their own menu of preferences based on their own individual needs,” says MacNeil.

“Families get great peace of mind knowing that their parents are well cared for and tended at the properties managed by Crowninshield,” says MacNeil. “Since our team is onsite and develops relationships with the residents we are aware of daily behaviors and can detect key indicators when something is not right and alert family members or access assistance for those residents who do not have families,” says MacNeil.

The onsite concierge services also include education and wellness programs that provide socialization such as cooking demonstrations, stress reduction lectures, fitness programs, balance series and art classes. Ongoing training is a key element in the success of the RSC’s. Crowninshield provides all-day workshops on a quarterly basis for its RSCs where they learn about new programs available to residents, obtain educational information and get updated on trends.

“Our goal is to create healthy, vibrant and engaging communities where residents feel safe, happy and connected,” said MacNeil.

The Polka Dot Door Dilemma

As a property management company with decades of experience, Crowninshield Management Corp. is an expert in assisting condominium complexes in creating harmonious communities. One of the challenges we sometimes see is helping residents who have recently sold their single family homes and moved into a condo understand that they are now part of a larger community.

While it may have been acceptable to paint black and white polka dots on the front door of their single family home to celebrate the family Dalmatian, it most likely will not meet the Association’s design standards. “A lot of people come from their own homes and need to now be sensitive that they are part of a larger community,’” says Bob O’Leary of Craftsmen Restoration. “They need to understand that being part of a condominium community they need to take the whole into consideration and things like color coordination are important,” notes O’Leary.

Some condominium communities have a design committee whose responsibility is to insure that projects meet specified architectural requirements. A goal of the committee may be to create design standards so the community retains a cohesive look. Residents who are thinking about making modifications to their units should send the plans to the design committee to make sure they are in compliance with the architectural standards.

It is important for Associations to educate residents about the design protocol in their community. Thanks to modern technology, there are many ways to deliver information through newsletters, blogs and e-mail. To quote Steve Jobs,”Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” At Crowninshield, we believe condominium communities should look and work in harmony.

Crowninshield Management Corp. and All Care VNA Create Wellness Program to Help Seniors Age in Place

wellnessctrResidents of Kings Beach Towers in Lynn and Tannery II in Peabody have a reason to celebrate healthy living this fall thanks to a new program launched by the property management company, Crowninshield Management Corp. The Wellness Program is the brainchild of Crowninshield President Deborah Collier-Comins and Sue MacNeil, Program Manager for the Resident Service Coordinator programs at these sites.  This partnership was developed with All Care VNA, a leading health care provider in the greater North Shore. Crowninshield Management is dedicated to finding ways to help seniors age in place. “It is so fulfilling to see seniors enjoying life at our properties. Our goal is to enable them to continue living life to the fullest at home by bringing them needed services, thus avoiding having to go onto higher levels of care. The Wellness Program will offer residents education and access to professionals who will empower them to stay healthy and safe in their own homes,” said Collier-Comins.

Residents of Kings Beach Towers in Lynn and Tannery II of Peabody, recently attended community meetings at their properties where the Wellness Program was explained by Sue MacNeil of Crowninshield Management Corp. and All Care VNA staffers Lana Durocher, Mary Sullivan and Mary Donovan. Along with refreshments and a tour of the newly created Wellness Center at each property, residents were given a handout about the program and an opportunity to ask questions. The residents received the program with great enthusiasm.

Highlights of the program include:

  • education and wellness workshops on topics such as Managing Diabetes, Dealing with Chronic Pain, Strength Training, Balance,
  • 24/7 access to healthcare assistance
  • specific hours at Wellness Center staffed by a registered nurse, and
  • health clinics such as flu shots and blood pressure checks and other immunizations.

All residents were encouraged to fill out a health tracker with pertinent medical information so that the Wellness team can best assist them in managing their care. “Our goal is to allow our residents to enjoy the highest quality of life in the comfort and security of their own homes. We are so excited to partner with All Care VNA to deliver this program at Kings Beach Towers and Tannery II. By adding this new component to our long lists of amenities, it helps us further achieve our ultimate goal of providing a Full Service Living Senior Housing Community,” says Collier-Comins.

Building A Healthy Living Community

At Crowninshield Management Corp. we are fortunate to have valued relationships with hundreds of trustees. Each and every day our team listens and responds to the needs of our clients throughout New England. Although many of our residential complexes differ in size and needs, all properties share a common goal to create a healthy community. We reached out to a few trustees to share how they strive to create a vibrant community.

Community Environment

Tips from the Trustees at Crowninshield

William Neff, a trustee at Bishops Forest II in Waltham, Massachusetts with 81 units feels lucky that the residents in his community “are all about the place.” He points to two key ingredients to building a healthy community, a well-functioning board and a strong property management company. “Our board is small. We have five members, but we all care about our neighbors and the community,” says Neff who notes that everyone is both motivated and intelligent.” He adds that the property manager fits in with the community and has a relationship with the community as a whole.

Needing a Dedicated Trustee & Property Manager

Terry Wilkins, a trustee at Village Green West Condominium in North Andover, agrees that you need dedicated trustees and a competent property manager, but adds that you also need community interest as well. She also notes people typically don’t care about things as long as they are going along fine. “When you have a crisis like ice dams or needing a new roof, people get interested,” says Wilkins who notes that you can’t always give people what they want. “Balancing keeping people happy and being responsible to the trust agreement is what it is all about,” she says.

“It is our pleasure to work with active boards to enhance their communities. The Crowninshield team is here as a resource to brainstorm, troubleshoot and provide guidance. We have over four decades of experience in all aspects of property management,” says Deborah Collier-Comins, Crowninshield Management Corp. President.

Communication is Key to a Healthy Community

Good communication is also a key ingredient to building a healthy community. Ongoing, clear communication helps people feel more engaged and invested. There are so many tools available today online to help get your message. It is important that everyone feels part of the process. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Software Project Manager Finds Flexibility and Family at Crowninshield

2hA1q_pl84qOd6C3myb_WKHqNuoYhdioPiEesdGMQK4When Tina Phinney joined the Crowninshield Managament Corporation over two decades ago, she loved the family feel of the company under the leadership of Larry Collier. Although times have changed, Tina was hired as an Accounts Receivable Manager, she still likes the warm feeling she has when she comes to work. “Although Crownishield has grown since I first began, it still feels like a family,” says Tina.

Doing “a little bit of everything” at Crowninshield

She is currently the Software Project Manager where she gets to do “a little bit of everything.” “We feel fortunate to have Tina as part of the Crowninshield team. She takes enormous pride in her work and is a true perfectionist. Our clients and staff greatly benefit from her expertise and energy,” says Deborah Collier-Comins, Crowninshield Management Corp. President.

Supporting the Crowninshield Team

Tina is presently working on implementing a paperless Accounts Payable automation system as well as supporting the Crowninshield team on various projects. Tina and her husband Stephen reside in Malden and have a daughter Jessica.

Crowninshield Employees Enjoy Team Building on the Ipswich River

Babe Ruth astutely summed up the importance of team building when discussing the game of baseball when he said, ”The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

Baseball is like Business…

The same principles that build successful baseball teams also apply to creating prosperous businesses. Since its founding over forty years ago, Crowninshield Management Corp. has encouraged its staff to participate in company outings and team building events to better understand how the many departments can work together as a problem solving unit for its clients.

Team Building: Sports & Employees

In the spirit of team building, employees of Crowninshield Management Corp. enjoyed a kayak excursion on the Ipswich River. All employees of Crowninshield were invited to take place in the kayaking event in an effort to promote team building and boost employee morale . Employees who did not want to participate in the kayaking or were unable to joined the group for an afternoon luncheon on the river.

Team Building Activities Go a Long Way

Crowninshield has many departments within its property management company including an accounting department, a condo division, a commercial division and an apartment division. The Ipswich River outing which started in Ipswich and went to Topsfield and Middleton included a kayak excursion followed by lunch. The experience was enjoyed by many members of the Crowninshield team fueling the team with great energy and ideas to bring to their job each day!