Retrofit Cohousing Panel for National Conference in NC
From: abigail weinberg (
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2014 20:23:15 -0800 (PST)
My Name is Abby Weinberg and I am working on retrofitting a church into 20 
cohousing condos in Philadelphia for Wissahickon Village Cohousing (WVC).  I am 
very new to this game and hardly an expert, but would be happy to offer my 
experience to the greater good at the conference.  I really look forward to 
meeting many of you at the conference! 

Also, the model my group is using is a bit different that how I understand 
traditional cohousing development to go.  We are working with a developer who 
was planning to retrofit a church into condos before he ever met us.  We think 
that the developer decided to contact us because the church has a pre-existing 
industrial kitchen and "cafetorium" on the lower level which he recognized 
might be good for cohousing.  Since the church is in an excellent location AND 
because the developer was going to assume all of the financial risk of 
development, our group decided to try and work with him.  We have been meeting 
for over a year with him and he just got zoning approval and will be closing on 
the purchase of the church next week.  He has a agreed to let our group have 
exclusive right of sale (i.e. - try to sell all units to cohousing-minded 
people) for 6 months *IF* we buy 7 units in the first 30 days of sales.

The Pros include: We only put in money when we buy our units and we have a real 
developer doing all the hard development work that we don't really have to pay 
until we purchase a unit. 

The Cons include: We give up a lot of control - especially over design... 
Although he has been very receptive and generous with his time, the developer 
is clear that whatever he builds needs to be marketable beyond the cohousing 
market in case we can't sell all the units and he needs to see the remaining 
units to "civilians." 

There is more to the story, but hopefully you get the idea. I am curious to 
know whether this is as novel a way of doing cohousing as I think it is, or if 
other communities got built this way.

Abigail Weinberg
Community Coordinator,
Wissahickon Village Cohousing
Home: 215-842-0268  Cell: 734-474-6958  
abbyweinberg [at]

Cohousing: Building a better society, one house at a time!



Message: 1
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 15:30:35 -0800
From: Jane Calbreath <jane.calbreath [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Retrofit Cohousing Panel for National Conference in NC
Message-ID: <D081449B.DDB7%jane.calbreath [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain;    charset="ISO-8859-1"

Dear Cohousers:

I am a Coho US board representative serving on the conference committee for
next year?s CohoUS National Conference taking place in Durham, North
Carolina in May 2015. We have scheduled a panel session on ?Retrofited
Cohousing? and I am  interested in connecting with cohousers from existing
retrofit communities to participate on our panel. We are specifically
interested in people who are located in the eastern part of the US, and feel
free to contact me if you are interested or have a recommendation of someone
who would be a good spokesperson for this presentation. Kevin Wolf from N
St. Cohousing in Davis, CA has already agreed to be part of the panel. We
would like to cover the legal issues and the process that are involved.

Thank you in advance,
Jane Calbreath
California Rep
Board Member 

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