Re: urban cohousing
From: Sanda Everette (
Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 12:56:44 -0500
> > Matt Lawrence listed urban cohousing:
> >
> > >Doyle Street - Emeryville, CA
> > >Southside Park - Saacramento, CA
> > >N Street CoHousing  - Davis, CA
> > >Marsh Commens - Arcata, CA
> > >Monterey CoHousing - Minneapolis, MN

> > Don't forget us!  Cambridge Cohousing, in Cambridge, MA.  We have 41 units
> > on 1 1/2 acres, which seems incredibly dense in comparison to other
> > projects, though our site was zoned for 53 units when we bought it.

We have made several postings but don't seem to be included in lists of
urban cohousing.  As a retrofit project, I suppose what we are doing
does not quite fit the cohousing model.  Another difference, is that one
family took the risk to buy the property without having more of a group
together first.

After a slow start, I am pleased to report we are making progress.  By
the end of the month, we will have community oriented folks in three of
the four units. 

It is also exciting to report that it is a very ethnically and
financially diverse group of many ages.  I know achieving ethnic
diversity has been an issue for many cohousing groups.  I think the
opportunity to start as renters makes it easier as well as the
reflection of the diverse population already living in the SD Bay area.

We closed escrow on a 4 plex building in February (next door to the 4
plex in which we are renting...waiting for a lease and for thw owner to
be ready to sell, he has promised first right of refusal) and got our
first community oriented renters shortly thereafter.  Two of the other
families in the building gave notice in the next two months as they were
not interested in the community concept and decided to move on.  We had
two empty units by the first week of April and began advertising for
community oriented folks, mostly on the internet.  In case you don't
know, this is a very tight real estate market with rentals going quickly
and high rental prices (not quite matching the high ownership
costs--this is one market where it is often cheaper to rent then to
own.)  We turned down many people who were not interested in
community...financially scarey but kept our eye on our dreams and
goals.  It was surprising that we were able to connect with a variety of
folks that were interested in community...and gardening (one of our
focuses) with mainstream advertising.  We thought we had one community
oriented family committed for a 2BR unit but a few days before she was
to move in with her daughter, she realized she was not ready to move
away from her current situation.  The person who was our roommate, after
much going back and forth, decided to rent the apartment a few days ago
and will most likely decide to buy in as a partner.  He spent a lot of
time working out the numbers and possible costs to create a partnership
to own this building and working out spots for common spaces.  Or first
renters may also be interested in "buying in." Last weekend we finally
found wonderful renters for one of our 3BR units from a regular
newspaper classified ad.  There is only one unit left, currently rented
by folks not interested in what we are doing, waiting for a future

Oh ..... and we have gardens started and I bought chicks yesterday.

Sanda and Brian Everette
San Mateo Cooperative Community (Urban retrofit cohousing)

Toward a sustainable lifestyle: 
grow some of your own food and/or know the gardener who is growing it.

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