more thoughts on condo0 conversions from list
From: Mary Anne Joyce (
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 18:48:20 -0800 (PST)
  Dear Mary Anne,

  Hi has anyone done this? Are there pitfalls? We are talking about this in our 
East Portland Cohousing Group.We are having some ethical questions aobut 
displacing renters. Are there ways to mitigate this displacement? Anhy other 
ideas thoughts are welcome Thanks Mary Anne Joyce 
Los Angeles Eco-Village did this. They chose not to force out any residents, 
choosing instead a slow conversion process over time. That was over a decade 
ago and there are still a few original renters left, i think mostly elderly 
folks on fixed incomes.

As far as i know that part has gone ok, what's been much more challenging was 
having people who moved there intending to be part of the community and then 
withdrew from participation without moving out. That has dragged down the 
energy of the community and held up spaces that could otherwise have gone to 
new participants with energy to contribute. At their last retreat the group 
agreed to change this, i'm not sure how the implementation of that has gone so 

As far as i know this has all happened in a rental model, it's not cohousing 
and i don't think residents build equity in their units. Also there is not a 
common kitchen, or regular meals beyond potlucks, or even a room with enough 
space to seat all the residents comfortably for meetings or meals. If you want 
to talk with them i bet they'd be happy to share their experience.

See good description at the main IC website:

See the LAEV website:

The Community Alternatives apartment building in Vancouver, BC, which was built 
from the ground up as community housing, has more common facilities as i 
recall. So that would be a major thing to keep in mind if you are converting an 
apartment building, is how are you going to get sufficient common space, are 
there any BIG open rooms you can use or create--one regular-sized apartment is 
usually insufficient and cramped. The East Blair Co-op in Eugene (which is 
multi-building) finally built a common room recently after 20 years.

You might also check with the Apex in Seattle to see what their situation was 
when they started, were there other residents who were displaced and if so how 
was the transition handled. Again Apex is a limited equity cooperative, not 
cohousing. Website:

Good luck!



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Re: apartment conversion to cohousing  <? Date ?>    <? Thread ?>From: sga1 
( Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 08:32:30 -0800 (PST) 
Hi Mary Anne,    Although we have not yet converted apartments to cohousing, I 
and my  cohousing partner are in the process. The residents have been invited 
to  the cohousing community meetings--a couple have expressed interest but not  
shown up.    My thinking on this topic is this: in our area real estate prices 
are  being driven through the roof by investment purchases, people buying  
houses to rent them, save them for retirement, etc. There has been a large  
scale conversion of housing from purchasable to rentable. Although some of  the 
residents at our condo project may like renting the residences and  wish that 
they weren't going to be sold, this is the ONLY case in all of  Humboldt County 
where a rental development is becoming an owner-occupied  development; the 
renters have an unprecendented number of rentals they can  to move to, while 
the working poor of our area have nothing in their price  range they can buy 
besides the condos we are creating.    If we were sellin
 g our
 condos for exhorbitant prices or were being  exclusive, I can see why some 
class conscious people (like myself) would  have cause to protest. Instead, we 
are selling the condos at prices for so  little ($120-160K)that any renter with 
even a tiny amount of equity or a  middling to poor credit rating can get a 
mortgage.    Which is the long way of saying that it sucks to force people to 
move, but  it shouldn't be such a powerful disinsentive that you abandon or  
compromise the project. If your region lacks affordable rentals, then  maybe 
you should consider keeping a few of the units available to renters  who are 
both on limited income and wish to participate in the community.  If your 
community is awash in rentals like my own, you can trust that the  current 
tenants will land on their feet and feel proud about converting  anonymous 
apartments to a community home.    Yours in community,  Sean Armstrong        

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