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In early 2011, McAllen Halsey envisioned starting a new housing coop in east Austin, taking inspiration from House of Commons (a housing coop in West Campus) as well as Skillshare Austin and other groups that seek to empower people in various ways. In addition to being a fun place to live, the new coop was intended to serve as a community center that would host events and offer services to the surrounding community. Mike Gorse and Bryce Benton became involved later in the year. Michael Bluejay has been offering to make a loan on somewhat nonconventional terms in order to allow a new housing coop to be started, since getting a loan from a bank may be difficult for a new nonprofit without a history. This enabled the group to start scoping out properties with the help of Matt Rob, a realtor who worked with Mike McHone. Mike's firm was chosen largely because of Mike's past experience in helping to start some of the ICC student coops along with his knowledge of zoning-related issues that may need to be delt with. A nonprofit called Austin Area Collective Housing (AACH) was formed for the purpose of being the entity that would own a property that the group bought.

At the same time, NASCO Properties (NP) needed to sell a building in Santa Cruz and was looking to buy another property to replace it. NP considered Austin to be a favorable prospect as a place to buy a property because CHEA/Sasona was already here, although this meant that Sasona needed to be involved, since NP does not wish to work with multiple different nonprofits in the same city. There was concern on the part of some Sasoonis (members of Sasona) that starting another house would be risky and might destabilize their house again just as the house had begun to run smoothly, so it was initially unclear whether NP buying a new coop up front would be a viable option initially (another option that was considered would be to have AACH pursue a property and later negotiate with CHEA with the goal of merging the two organizations and AACH transferring the new property to NP). there was a period of discussion between CHEA, AACH, and NP, the end result being that Sasona voted to pursue expansion.

With Sasona on-board, this meant that NP could buy whatever property the group decided to buy, which meant that there would be a larger budget to work with (Michael Bluejay would have loaned out a maximum of $500,000). It also meant that there were several new people involved with the project, giving a helpful infusion of energy. Once Sasona had resolved to expand, the now-larger group resumed looking at properties. A possible candidate was a large house located on an acre of land in east Austin. There were a few apartments added on in the back of the house. Buying this property was eventually deemed not to be feasible because it appeared that the apartments would have needed to be entirely brought up to current code, meaning an unknown and substantial up-front expense for a property that was already not inexpensive for us (given that we intended to essentially use it as-is, rather than redevelop it). At that point, we considered the property that we ultimately bought, at 7910 gault Street.

history.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/28 18:06 UTC (external edit)