Funding for the Common House
From: Scott E. Bogard (
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 14:22:56 -0500
The Cohousing group of Ann Arbor has just started building and we have been
struggling with how much more things are going to cost then originally
planned.  Apparently, nobody in our group has taken Builder Math 101, so we
were in the dark over how builders view the cost of building more versus
the cost of building less.  In short, if you add to your units in any way
the costs go up like any normal person would guess who is building a new
house or condo.  However, when you cut back or scale back your units (such
as lesser decks or fewer windows) the building costs hardly come down at

Anyhow, in our struggle to get our individual units built, which meant
getting a bank loan, we decided to remove the construction and hence cost
of our Common House from the contract to build the individual units.  Now,
we are faced with a deadline.  The bid from the builder is only good for
another 10 days, at which time his costs and hence our cost for
construction of the Common House will probably increase.  The main
questions we are struggling with are:  a) do we go ahead with the already
professionaly designed, and programmed Common House? b) if so, how do we
finance its construction?, and c) what are the possible benefits/drawbacks
of waiting on the Common House (Some people in the group are advocating we
scale back and reprogram the Common House)?

As designed our CH is approx. 7500 sq ft for a 40 unit (approx. 80 person
community).   The current bid on the CH is roughly 425K with some room for
reductions, as we have already learned our reductions and the builders
reductions don't always meet at the bottom line.

If anyone out there in an existing community has any advice it would be
greatly appreciated.  Also if anyone has any idea of the potential income
that rental space within a Common House can generate that information would
help too.

Thanks in advance,


* Scott E. Bogard                   *   Voice: (313) 936-1069      *
* Sr. Research Engineer             *     FAX: (313) 936-1068      *
* Engineering Research Division     *  e-mail: sbogard [at]   *
* University of Michigan            *   snail: UMTRI      Rm 204   *
* Transportation Research Institute *          2901 Baxter Road    *
*                                   *          Ann Arbor, MI 48109 *

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