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Cooperative housing to open for senior citizens

BY RACHEL GREEN | NOVEMBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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With the concept of co-housing on the minds of many Iowa City and Coralville community members, a cooperative project made specifically for seniors is in the works in Coralville.

A company called Vintage Cooperatives is in charge of a cooperative campus going up Coralville.
While there are senior cooperatives in other areas of the United States, Josh Cowman, the president of development of Vintage Cooperatives, said the group is very excited to create a community in Coralville.

“The cooperative concept seems very popular in the area,” he said.

A groundbreaking for the building will begin in 2015, and it is expected to be completed in 2016. The project, which is called Crossing Commons, will be located at the intersection of Kennedy Parkway and Camp Cardinal Boulevard.

Cooperative housing is an arrangement in which residents of a housing unit own a share of the building, which allows them to live in the housing unit. It is based on membership and allows residents to use all areas of the building.

Iowa City is trying to build a co-housing community, which differs from a cooperative community because it is made up of separate houses for the residents, who all have use of shared facilities in the neighborhood.

In the Coralville cooperative housing, there will be standard amenities given in the purchase of all of the residences, including energy-efficient heating and cooling and large walk-in closets.

“It’s all about the cooperative lifestyle,” Cowman said. “There will be lots of common areas, there will be raised garden plots, which are senior friendly. The doorways are 3 feet wide to make room for walkers and wheelchairs.”

According to Vintage’s website, when the founder of the company, Jeff Ewing, was a child, his grandfather was paralyzed and had to live alone. Ewing wanted a way for his grandfather and grandmother to be able to live together in a home-like setting.

Ewing then dedicated himself to creating communities and homes with comfortable, home-like living spaces.

Tyler Cowman, the marketing manager of the Vintage Cooperatives, said the cooperative building would be three stories with an underground parking garage and have 60 units built in it.

Cowman said the group is in the reservation process, and pricing the models is about a month-and-a-half away.

He also said owners of the units will be able to personalize the inside of their homes however they want to.

“They pick their unit, and then personalize the inside of it,” he said. “We wanted to come down here and give Coralville folks the idea that even in this stage of their lives, they can still handle their own money and live on their own.”

Cowman said the cooperative housing will not only help seniors but also other people in the Coralville area.

“It opens up the housing for younger couples in the area,” he said. “We know seniors took good care of their homes, so they will be able to sell well on the market.”

Josh Cowman also said the cooperative housing can benefit the local economy.

“It opens up the door to do volunteer work,” he said. “It also offers employment opportunities.”
Iowa City resident Harry Olmstead said he was interested in what the cooperative housing has to offer.

“It becomes [a good thing] when you’re in your own home and are with like-minded folk,” he said. “I’m disabled, and having a facility that is handicap-accessible is important to me.”


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