Developer Launches Senior Co-housing Community in $21 Million Project

In the quest to find a halfway point between a continuing care retirement community and single family senior living, a Northern California development is working to bridge the gap in its latest senior housing construction.

The $21 million project in the works by Alameda Elder Communities will feature 41 co-operative units for people ages 60 and over in what the development team calls a “cohousing” community. Based in Oakland, California, Phoenix commons is a collaborative housing effort that will allow residents to participate in the design of the community as it is built.

“This is something that is for sale,” says Victoria Community Development Director Victoria Stone. “People own their units and they own a share of the community space. They will be governming and creating and managing the culture themselves.”

The model offers an alternative to CCRC-style housing, which requires an upfront buy-in, sometimes refundable, and an additional monthly fee. Rather than set overhead costs, the community will allow residents to choose their own services and amenities, as a group.

“Rather than with a CCRC where the operator [controls] costs of employees and [services], you decide what you want and pay for what you want and need as a community,” Stone says. A basic monthly homeowners’ association fee covers insurance and reserves. Additional options such as exercise instruction and even caregiving services remain up to the residents and the group as a whole.

“They decide that jointly through group purchasing power,” Stone says. “It’s more financially sustainable and socially sustainable.”

The co-housing concept has gained attention in recent months, among other senior housing alternatives to traditional models of senior housing, such as home sharing. With 90% of people 65 and older reporting they wish to age in place, according to AARP, home sharing could be one viable way for people to do so.

Phoenix Commons offers units from 630 square feet to 1100 square feet, ranging in listed price from $350,000 to $650,000. The four-story building includes three stories of resident units with community spaces on each floor, comprising 7,000 square feet of common, shared space, including kitchen, dining and a guest unit that can be used to house guests or caregivers if the residents so choose.

The project is scheduled to break ground in 2013 with an estimated launch in 2015. Marketing the concept takes on a different mission, Stone says, with shared housing being a strong pillar.

“There’s a lot of talk about shared housing,” she says. “This is taking that concept to a bigger level. Here you’re sharing your community life with 60 people.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  1. says

    Yikes! There's much to love about this idea – I'm all for sharing housing. 60 people "governming [sic] and creating and managing the culture themselves." ? I hope that the developer has in the budget working with a a professional to help the community get themselves set up and parts in place. I know how hard it can be in co-housing communities that carefully screen people before they move in. What happens when the 60 are simply there because they can pay for it? I see potential for big problems unless there is careful planning and consideration given as to how the community is started.

  2. says

    More and more, there is a growing awareness of cohousing as an alternative housing model for healthy, sustainable senior living, and the benefits of being part of one. Without friends or immediate family close by more and more seniors are seeing the advantages that cohousing has to offer for them. And who wouldn’t. Cohousing can help address the dramatic demographic and economic changes coming in our society, and sure brings about lots of exciting things to look forward to!

    With the ‘boomers’ generation approaching retirement age there is a higher demand for affordable senior housing options that support a healthy lifestyle in a sustainable way. Successful and dignified aging for most seniors means maintaining control over their own lives. Senior cohousing takes the concepts of cohousing and modifies them according to the specific needs of seniors.

    To find out more about senior cohousing:

    Here's to living in community, Thanks!

    <a href="” target=”_blank”>

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