by GREG SIERING
After years of planning, Bloomington Cohousing, Indiana’s first cohousing community, is finally becoming a reality. The brainchild of lifelong friends Janet Greenblatt and Marion Sinclair, the intentional community near the Southeast YMCA will feature 26 privately owned homes, a common building, community gardens, and other shared amenities, all designed to reduce homeowners’ environmental footprints and expand their sense of community.
Greenblatt and Sinclair originally purchased 2.5 acres at the end of South Maxwell Street, then added another adjacent acre, all while gathering community support, laying out the initial plans for the neighborhood, and securing city approval for the development. Recognizing they didn’t have the time or expertise to fully develop the project, they looked for a developer to take control, and approached local builder Loren Wood, owner of Loren Wood Builders.
Wood says he didn’t consider himself a developer, so he initially declined taking control of the project. But, after learning more about cohousing and Greenblatt and Sinclair’s vision for the community, Wood saw how the project aligned with his values and those of his company, commenting that, for him, “building community” has always meant more than creating physical structures. “I want to contribute to the fabric of our community,” he says. In light of that, Wood personally purchased the land and development rights from the founders. Then Loren Wood Builders began building the neighborhood.
Wood says he knows housing in Bloomington will sell, but he wants to make sure the homes in the Bloomington Cohousing neighborhood are sold to people invested in community living. Sinclair died in April, and Wood says, “We’re trying to do justice to the development that Marion, Janet, and others had envisioned.”
As of August, six of the 26 lots had been reserved. The first 10 homes will be built this fall, clustered in the southern part of the development so early residents will have a sense of community from the start.
Five floor plans are available—from the 920-square-foot Green Bungalow to the 1,416-square-foot American Foursquare. All homes can be built with basements, and all will be pre-wired for solar panels. A limited number of homes will have detached garages that can include an upstairs accessory dwelling unit. Pricing depends on the model and finishes, but Wood anticipates homes will start at around $250,000.
For more information, visit bloomingtoncohousing.org.