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Friday, January 27, 2023

First Florida cohousing, eco community to sprout in Gainesville

<p class="p1">Andrew Kaplan shows a potential buyer an architectural rendering of the upcoming cohousing community, which will be located at 4500 NW 27th Ave.&nbsp;</p>

Andrew Kaplan shows a potential buyer an architectural rendering of the upcoming cohousing community, which will be located at 4500 NW 27th Ave. 

Families looking for a more community-based and eco-friendly style of living might be interested in purchasing a home at the first official cohousing community in the state of Florida.

Gainesville Cohousing is planning to build a community of 24 houses, which will provide families with an opportunity to live in a close-knit society with shared resources, said Judy Broward, a future resident and current community planner.

With cohousing, individual houses reside in a general area and share common facilities. It’s a cooperative community where members are expected to participate in the maintenance of the property, and in return, will be given the opportunity to contribute to society decisions, Broward said.

The 4.75 acres of land located at 4500 NW 27th Ave., where the community will be built, was purchased last month after a two-year search, Broward said.

She said the houses will be small, ranging between 800 and 1,600 square feet. The prices will vary between $125,000 for the smaller units and a little more than $200,000 for the larger ones.

There are 12 committed families, and Gainesville Cohousing is seeking 12 more. It hopes to get more young people and create an intergenerational community with people of all ages, Broward said.

The building process is expected to begin in a year and will take about five months to complete, said Burt Kempner, a future resident and community planner. He said what makes this cohousing community different is that it “isn’t in the boondocks.” Rather, it’s within walking distance of the Thornebrook Village Shopping Center.

“My wife and I have been looking for a cohousing community for years. One day on a whim, we decided to Google it, and this popped up,” Kempner said.

Architect Andrew Kaplan said the goal is for dwellers to function in the city while remaining tied to their sustainable living philosophy.

Kaplan will be living in the community with his wife, Cheryl Kaplan. He said the units will be solar-powered using energy collected from the common house, which will provide resources that community members will share. There will be a laundry room, a large kitchen and dining room, along with a playroom for the children.

The community will also have a pool, garden, playground and a paved area where the children can “play ball and ride their Hot Wheels,” he said.

Cheryl Kaplan described the living situation like an “extended family.”

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“It’s the kind of place where if someone breaks their leg, the entire neighborhood flocks to their side,” she said.

[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 3/18/2014 under the headline "First Fla. cohousing, eco community to sprout in Gainesville"]

Andrew Kaplan shows a potential buyer an architectural rendering of the upcoming cohousing community, which will be located at 4500 NW 27th Ave. 

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