Re: Re: (common house as a) commercial building
From: Jeff Zucker (
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 15:52:00 -0600 (MDT)
    Thank you for your feedback.  I always find it useful to get a variety of
perspectives.  So often, the definition of an "expert" is someone who is not
from your area.
    Here in Arizona, the architectural company known as Cohocom has been working
to create and develop Manzanita Village for 9 years now.  It consists of myself
(Jeffrey Zucker) and Paul Moore.  We have succeeded in enabling a  small
community to be created of 14 houses on 12 acres of land , with another 22 home
sites either purchased or available.
    We have been through a couple of iterations of the common house design, with
budgetary issues driving it down from approx. 4500 sq ft to about 3000 sq ft.
We are building on a slope, so the structure ends up being 3 stories tall, with
an elevator.  That enables us to enter at the top level, from the parking lot,
and exit at the bottom level, onto the pedestrian street.  (see middle level is the main floor, where the the
kitchen and dining facilities are located.  All levels are accessible by ramp or
    The building department here in Prescott wants us to install a commercial
grade elevator.  We have been trying to argue for a residential grade elevator,
mainly to save money.  The space is available either way.
    We initially attempted to use terminology to convince the building
department that the common house was not a commercial building.  Thus, rooms
were called "computer room" rather than "office"  etc. ,  which, I believe is
perfectly legitimate.  However, the building department insisted on classifying
our building as  commercial.  (We are already sprinklering ALL of our buildings,
so that was not an issue)

    The building department insists that, IF we install an elevator, it must be
a commercial grade elevator.  They also say that, since we can get to the
building (and exit) at all levels, we don't necessarily have to have one.  But
we want one, for the above mentioned reason of being able to traverse the grade
more easily.  The issue, at this point seems to be primarily monetary.  The
community has demonstrated that they are willing and capable of coming up with
additional dollars  build the common house as designed.  At this point, it
becomes a matter of wringing a few more dollars ($20,000  +/-?)  out of the cost
of the building in order to go ahead with it.
    Any bargaining chips up your sleeve?

Jeffrey L. Zucker A.I.A.
292 Jacob Lane
Manzanita Village
Prescott, Arizona 86303



MWorswick [at] wrote:

> Sarah and Coho-L
> There are a lot of specific "commercial construction" issues that you can run
> into when designing a common house.  Having an experienced cohousing
> designer, architect, or consultant on board EARLY in the process can save
> many headaches (The cohousing company, and Kraus Fitch architects are other
> companies that do this kind of work).

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