Re: Urban cohousing
From: Martin Schafer (schaferanubis.network.com)
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 1994 18:23:36 -0600 (CST)
> 
> That would depend, I think.  I remember back in college days when
> each floor of the dorm had a lounge.  All or part of an apartment
> facing the elevator or stairs could be converted into an floor
> lounge or sitting area.  You could put in a card, pool, or foosball
> table, some comfy chairs, and a kitchenette.  Or you could make a
> play area for kids.
> 
> There is a lot that can be done with an urban structure.  You just
> have to be creative about adapting the existing spaces.
> 

While you are definitely correct in the abstract (and a per floor
lounge is probably what one would do in some buildings, though
there are problems then with maintaining community through the
whole building) there are complications.

First, all problems can be overcome by a sufficient application of
money.  The question is whether you can puchase and remodel a space
that you are happy with, at a price you can afford.

Among the problems with apartment buildings are that most buildings
for sale (in our area) consist of one bedroom and studio units. 
Nothing on the market has three or more bedroom units.  Families 
will have to combine units, so your remodeling costs will have to
include a lot of wall ripping out.  Most groups are concerned about
handicapped accessibility and even if they weren't there may be
code requirements about percentage of accessible units, in order
to pull the remodeling permits.  The apartments in our price 
range were definitely not accessible.  Putting in an elevator is
a multi hundreds of thousands expense.

We originally wanted to reuse a warehouse space, but the cost of
remodeling that was even worse.  Various code restrictions, including
allowed ratios of widow area to floor space, and requirements for
a sprinkler system in residential buildings over a given floor
space, defeated all layout plans that would otherwise have made
things affordable.

Martin

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