|Re: The $200,000 invisible wall||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: James Nordgaard (jimnordgaardyahoo.com)|
|Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 11:40:39 -0500|
I think one big factor, or at least two big factors that contributes to this kind of wall are; retrofit vs. new construction, and cities with high (astromonical) real estate values. Building new housing is always going to be costly. Retrofiting an existing building, if a suitable place can be found, is often less costly, and far more flexible in allowing diversity in unit size/costs. Monterey Cohousing, in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, is fortunate in finding a building to retrofit into 8 units, and still have 6,000 square feet of common space left over. The community also built 7 new townhouses, making it a mixed use community of 15. The costs of the units in the old building ranged from under $30,000 to close to $100,000. The new townhouses ranged from about $100,000 to about $160,000. There hasn't been much turn over, but there are built-in rules limiting the appreciation, so prices of the units shouldn't ever skyrocket. There are shortcomings to retrofiting of course. First is overcoming the common suburban "repulsion" against anything "old". Second is the time and energy involved in retrofiting. This I would call "community-building," which you simply don't have when the community starts when everyone moves into prefinished new constuction (unless you are forced to be developers of the project). Also, it may be hard to find a suitable existing structure; but every city has these, it just takes time to find them. There can be enormous costs to retrofit of course, especially if you have to bring a structure up to modern standards. However, to one's advantage is a city or county eager to have a property finally occupied and producing tax revenue, instead of being a perpetual burden. The property Monterey acquired costed a lot to retrofit, and will continue to be more costly to maintain in the future (than new contruction), however, since these costs are borne over time, instead of up front, retrofit still allows much lower income households than new construction. The final problem, which is obviously not a problem in Minnesota, is cities with skyrocked real estate prices. Once again, retrofit can often be a better deal (and allow a diversity of household incomes), especially if it's in a redevelopment zone. So I would urge anyone in the process of starting a new cohousing community to STRONGLY consider retrofit, or combination retrofit and new construction, especially if you are concerned with a having a income diversified community, one not contributing to urban sprawl, and one whose members have a strong common bond to the community (the physical part, and well as social), from the beginning. == Jim Nordgaard /\ jimn [at] jriver.com /\ www.jimn.org J. River, Inc. - Monterey Cohousing Community - Green Party of MN _________________________________________________________ DO YOU YAHOO!? Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com
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