From Matty Rhoades and Mike Kohn
Victory, at last. That’s what the folks at Norwood Cooperative are saying. After years of organizing and millions in loans from the government, the Norwood tenants have finally purchased their building at 1417 N Street NW and have turned it into an affordable housing cooperative. The October 22 celebration, Huffington Post reported, included Mayan and Guatemalan fun throughout the day.
During a decade when housing for the non-upper middle class has become increasingly scarce in the neighborhood, the Norwood was an exception. The Capital Manor Cooperative on the 1400 block of W Street NW is another example of tenants being able to buy their building and turn it into an affordable housing co-op.
When one thinks of co-op buildings, it’s usually New York City that comes to mind. But there are more than 15,000 co-op housing units in the DC area, most in the city, according to the DC Cooperative Housing Coalition.
It is important to note that their are two types of housing co-ops: those that are market-rate and those that come under income limitations for the purchasers. For example, the Capital Manor buildings are in the affordable housing category while The Chastleton at 16th and R NW is in the market-rate category. There are several other affordable housing co-op buildings in the Dupont-Logan area, according to the National Cooperative Business Association.
How Housing Co-ops Work
How does a housing co-op work? By their very definition, a cooperative is a business owned by its members. Here’s how the DC Cooperative Coalition defines a housing cooperative building:
A housing cooperative is a form of ownership in which a person purchases shares (or membership) in a cooperative corporation that was formed for the purpose of providing its members a place in which to live. The cooperative corporation owns the building, land, apartments and all common elements. The owners/ members, in turn, own the corporation.
You purchase an interest in the cooperative association that allows you to live in your unit just as you would have had you purchased any other type of real estate. One thing that can be trickier when buy in a co-op building is financing. Co-op buildings often work closely with a set of lenders as banks view co-ops differently than condos or houses when it comes to loans.
Market Rate Housing Co-ops in Dupont-Logan
In the Borderstan area, the Coalition lists eight buildings in the Dupont neighborhood and one in Logan Circle — three of them are right on the 17th Street corridor. All of the ones listed are in the market-rate category, which is the composition of the Coalition’s membership.
- Avondale Cooperative, 1734 P Street NW
- Cavanaugh Court, 1526 17th Street NW
- The Chastleton, 1701 16th Street NW
- Copley Plaza, 1514 17th Street NW
- The DeSoto, 1300 Massachusetts Avenue NW
- Phelps Place (Woodrow), 1835 Phelps Place NW
- Rutland Court Owners, Inc., 1725 17th Street NW
- Hawarden Cooperative, 1419 R Street NW