Mountain View Voice

News - March 22, 2013

Co-housing community breaks ground

by Daniel DeBolt

After breaking ground last week, Mountain View's first co-housing project will soon provide a different sort of lifestyle to 19 households at 445 Calderon Avenue.

Over 60 people attended the March 15 groundbreaking ceremony, including city officials and those who have put down a deposit to live in the community. One of them, Katherine Forrest, said she was looking forward to being able to walk to downtown, Caltrain and the Stevens Creek Trail, while sharing common areas with neighbors "I'll know and get along with."

She said the community is still seeking four households — 15 of the 19 condos being built on the site have prospective buyers.

In recent weeks around 50 trees were removed from the site to make way for the three-story buildings. Thirty-six of them were dead or dying olive trees, Forrest said. The late 19th century farmhouse on the site, known as the Bakotich house, will be moved up to the sidewalk and restored as part of the project. Forest said the old home was recently found to have a completely rotted porch, which will have to be rebuilt.

Forrest said 43 new trees will be planted on the site, 20 of them fruit trees to recreate the Bakotich home's original orchard setting.

Those who have signed on to live in the site range in age from their late 40s to their 70s but "there's no age restriction on this," Forrest said. "We're certainly expecting there will be a lot of kids around. Some of (the prospective buyers) have grandkids locally."

As in other co-housing developments, each household owns its own condominium and has a partial interest in the common house, the land, and the other shared amenities. Decisions will be made by consensus through a homeowners association that will be formed once the project is built, according to the group's website.

The group estimates construction will be complete early in the fall of 2014. Prices aren't cheap, ranging between $1.12 million for the smallest available — a 1,750 square-foot, three-bedroom flat — to $1.46 million for the largest, a four-bedroom unit with 2,090 square feet.

There are two other slightly smaller four-bedroom units available. Adding cost to the project is a secure underground garage with an elevator, and the restoration of the historic Bakotich house for a meeting space and a guest room, possibly for an on-site caregiver.

The price seems worth it to Forrest.

"I've been a suburban dweller for 35 years, rattling around in this house with a huge yard and swimming pool and I don't need that," she said. "Now I can have shared responsibility for that kind of thing. When you are looking for somebody to go for a walk with or go to a film with, there's always somebody around. To the extent you want to be private, you can be private. I really like that combination."

For more information, visit mountainviewcohousing.org.

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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