CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- Adults 55 and over who want to combine a retirement lifestyle and home ownership will get a chance for that when the Village Cooperative of Cedar Falls opens.
The way has been cleared for St. Paul, Minn.-based Real Estate Equities Development LLC to build a three-story, 50-unit complex in the Pinnacle Prairie development in Cedar Falls.
The cost of the project is about $9 million, said Steve Jahnke, sales and marketing director for Real Estate Equities Development, which opened similar facilities for seniors last year in Mason City and Marshalltown.
In all, the company has built 12 cooperatives in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Village Cooperative of Cedar Falls will have 50 one- or two-bedroom units with layouts ranging from 874 to 1,416 square feet. Each is maintenance-free and includes a laundry room, storage area and a private balcony or patio.
"It's designed for people who want to maintain their independence, but it's also a community," Jahnke said.
The facility will feature party rooms, a fitness room, a guest suite, elevator, woodworking shop, landscaped gardens, free wireless Internet, secure entrances with security cameras, a heated parking garage and a car wash.
Each resident will own a share of the cooperative, which is a major difference between this concept and other senior-living establishments, Jahnke said.
"As a cooperative, the members control every aspect of ownership," he said. ‘The cooperative will also employ an on-site resident services coordinator as well as offer courtesy services."
Diane Robert is the sales coordinator, with an office at 3630 University Ave., Suite B., in Waterloo.
Construction on the project could begin as early as September if at least 30 buyers have signed up for units. Construction will wait until next spring if that number isn't reached in time to build in the fall, Robert said.
"We're now at 19; these are pretty solid people," Robert said. "The math looks pretty good (for building in the fall)."
Project manager Shane Wright said interest has been plentiful.
"We have had a great response; we've had over 200 people contact us showing an interest in possibly making a move," he said. "But there are several steps you have to take."
The cooperative concept is gaining traction, Jahnke said.
"There's about 97 senior housing cooperatives in the country, and 75 are in Minnesota," he said. "Every town in Minnesota has a cooperative."
Iowa is following suit, he said.
A $500 refundable deposit is required from applicants.
"That basically gets you a priority number to select a home," Jahnke said. "Once they do that, they'll sit down with Diane Robert, and she'll go over the advantages of cooperative housing. It's our opinion this is the best senior housing value in the market, short of if you need services or assisted living."
As for other costs, each unit comes with an ownership share in the facility.
"Residents own 100 percent of the building," Jahnke said.
Shares cost $40,000 to $80,000 and appreciate 3 percent annually, he added.
There also is a monthly fee starting at $800 and rising, depending on the type of unit purchased, Jahnke said.
"They cover the expenses for the building, and about 65 percent of that monthly fee is tax-deductible," he said.
Robert said many would-be applicants who visit with her are most curious about what living in a co-op situation means.
"I say a cooperative is a collective group of people who own shares and everybody has a say-so in what happens there," she said. "They're voting members. And, each member of the board are residents."
Anyone interested in the project can call Robert at 266-1111.