And of course, we’ll have some folks at the Information Centre in case anyone drops in too.
But this blog post is about our Jane’s walk in Canterbury Park…
Prairie Spruce Commons will settle into a place recently re-imagined and re-developed.
The location (land) on which Prairie Spruce Commons will be built has been home to many people and communities before us.All on Treaty Four Territory.
Now an emerging medley of retails and residential, this neighbourhood of just under 8 acres was once the Property of the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle, and for a while hosted a large community garden project of Grow Regina.
This is a neighbourhood in the heart of the city where it will be possible to rely on bicycles, car-share and pedestrian modes including strollers, walkers and wheelchairs too.
The newly built retail and residential developments are integrated into the history of this place. The Bishop’s Court, St. Chad’s College, Anson House (the official residence of the secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle), St. Cuthbert’s House, and Harding House are each designed in the Collegiate Gothic style.
The entire site and its five original buildings are Provincial Heritage Property and have received Heritage Awards in the Exterior Renovation category.
The land on which Prairie Spruce Commons will be built, it seems, has never before had built structures on it but from 1994 to 1998 was part of an extensive Community Gardens project of Grow Regina.
Prairie Spruce Commons now has a compelling opportunity to plant and growcommunity in the heart of the city.
Come and join André and me for a Jane’s Walk of our neighbourhood on Sunday, May 3rd from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.We will meet at the PSC Information Centre (it’s the little building with flags on it).
People we meet consistently express their support for the concept of cohousing and the design of Prairie Spruce Commons, but we also commonly hear questions about the unit prices. We want to share the following with you to help you understand the pricing for units.
Let’s start with the costs of developing cohousing in Regina. There are two categories of costs for our project. The first category is the price we are paying the developer for the land and the building. The second category is our development overhead, or soft costs. Our chosen strategy for developing Prairie Spruce was (and still is) to buy new housing product that meets the following criteria:
designed to meet our cohousing and personal household needs;
equal to or better than the local market product in terms of quality and specification;
wholesale discounted at -10% from retail price.
Note that we have used Canterbury Commons II as our quality and specifications benchmark. Canterbury Commons II is a local retail housing product, built and sold very recently by the same developer we are partnering with.The discount allows us an additional 10% to cover our direct soft costs for marketing, membership and project management.
The resulting combination of hard costs (wholesale purchase of building and land) and soft costs amounts to the total cost for the project. This total cost is distributed proportionally over the individual unit prices. These unit prices are consistent with local prices for new housing product in Regina. Furthermore, the unit prices are calculated to ensure no profit or a loss for Prairie Spruce.
When evaluating our prices, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. First, keep in mind the desirable location and the lower long term cost of ownership that results from living within walking distance to downtown and the other amenities in the neighbourhood. For example, you can live without a car, or with one fewer car thereby saving lots of money.
Secondly, while Cohousing units are proportionally a little smaller than standard housing units, the extensive space provided by the common house amenities makes the overall square footage available to residents substantially larger. The way you should adjust for that is to apportion a square footage share of the common house to each unit and use that as a comparable unit size. As an example at Prairie Spruce, the owner of a 950 sq. ft. private unit ALSO owns a 1/27 share in a 4,100 sq ft common house. This results in 1,100 sq ft of space. When comparing to a non-cohousing product you must compare this unit to a traditional 1,100 sq ft unit.
Third, let’s consider the value and quality of the housing we are building. Our developer is building a high quality, long lasting building. In Prairie Spruce Commons this includes things like:
• better insulation (r40 walls/r60 ceilings);
• increased ceiling heights above 8 ft.;
• improved sound insulation between units (STF 50 to STF 60);
• high efficiency centralized boiler;
• in floor radiant heating and cooling;
• triplepane windows
Our Green initiatives involve things like:
• building a better building to use less fuel to heat and cool;
• including recycling and composting facilities;
• using fibre glass windows because they last longer and PVC pollutes;
• electing to not use granite countertops because of huge energy required in production;
• installing wiring for Solar Photovoltaics and future energy savings; and
• installing plumbing for Greywater recycling and future savings in waste water management
Finally, it should be noted that new housing product costs more than older housing stock. This is because new buildings are more energy efficient, better built, and will therefore last longer.
In summary, Prairie Spruce Commons is purchasing the land and building from our developer. We have designed the building and the developer has figured out the cost of getting it built. We have summed these two costs and divided the total cost into the number of units. Note, that there is no profit added to the costs before determining unit prices; the prices are set in order to fully cover the building of each unit. These prices are a reflection of total costs incurred in building Prairie Spruce Commons on Badham Boulevard.
If you are interested in living with the Prairie Spruce Commons community but feeling daunted by the prices, please talk to us. We can direct you to options for first home buyers, our Conditional Equity Memberships, as well as other purchase options we are considering.
On a cold Tuesday evening this previous week, Prairie Spruce held our first information session. It was held at the university of Regina and we had about twenty people who came to see what cohousing is all about. Dave Larue began the evening with a viewing of the new video from cohousing.ca and then presented a presentation entitled “What is cohousing”.
The presentation concluded with information about where and when Prairie Spruce is to be built. After a short break consisting of coffee and a delicious spread of baking brought by the members, we had a question and answer session. Questions about cost, where we knew each other from, why such a great idea only had 8 members, and about the common house were answered.
We left the meeting confident that we had several future associate members from amongst the attendees. We have already scheduled our next session for January 9 at Atlantis coffee. As this session has limited space we ask that all wishing to attend, register on EventBright by clicking “buy” on the right.
Prairie Spruce Commons (PSC) is ecstatic to announce that we have secured land for our future home. PSC will be developing the first cohousing project in Regina and it will be located in Canterbury Park. We look forward to developing a sharing, caring, and respectful community. PSC is looking for people to share in our community.