Prairie Spruce Commons met this weekend with a daunting task. We found the unit prices that we were getting to be too high. Recognizing that we have to be able to sell the remaining units we were left with two conclusions; first that we would have to get rid of our most expensive units in favour of smaller more affordable units and second that we needed to trim the budget to reduce the overal cost of the building. Having to give back some of the wonderful features we have designed into this building was a highly charged and emotional task. Would people want to cut things that were dear to me or are the things I think we should cut dear to others.
It was a tough two days, but in the end we had trimmed a few areas where we had made rooms bigger than they needed to be, confirmed some things that we have always planned to cut and removed an initiative that we had reconsidered. But Wait!
In addition to the cutting we also found some things that we felt were underspecified and needed to be improved. We allocated additional money for improved windows, allocated new money to adopt a geothermal cooling loop on the advice of our mechanical engineer, and we are requesting a quote on upgraded shingles.
What came out of these meetings was a reconfirmation of our intent to build a building that is above and beyond what is normally built. We have chosen to spend extra on things like insulation, windows, heating infrastructure (in floor radiant), geothermal cooling and we are still persuing grey water recycling. We are prepared to add Solar Voltaic panels when the time is right and we have a long term maintenance view choosing long term investments over short term savings.
We have found that on a square foot basis, when you include the massive amount of common space, our units are in line with other condos on the market. The big difference is that we are cohousing! We have chosen not to build swimming pools or pool rooms. Instead we have built usable spaces and have chosen to build with the future in mind.
This is what the building will look like.The best parts, of course, are the parts you can’t see: the people that will make up this community.