Ravens' Roost Cohousing, a proposed, first-of-its-kind Anchorage housing development emphasizing close neighborly ties, is one step closer to becoming a reality.
On Friday, the group signed an agreement with the Petersen Group, an Anchorage real estate development firm known for building townhomes and condominium communities, to build a total of 35 homes on more than 6 acres off Abbott Road, east of Lake Otis Parkway.
Ravens' Roost organizers hope to build Anchorage's first planned co-housing neighborhood, where residents will live in privately owned homes clustered around shared amenities and common spaces, in an arrangement meant to "revive old fashioned neighborliness."
The agreement is a tangible step toward breaking ground on the project, which has been in the works since 2011, said Terri Pauls, one of Ravens' Roost's co-founders.
"It gives us a partnership with a real high-quality builder," she said.
The co-housing model that inspired Ravens' Roost originated in Denmark. It encourages close ties between neighbors while preserving privacy, organizers say.
Eighteen households have thus far signed on to inhabit one- to four-bedroom homes ranging in price from the "mid-$200,000s to the low $500,000s," according to the group. Ravens' Roost is recruiting an additional 11 for the first phase of development, which includes construction of 29 units. Six additional units will be built in a second phase of construction. All of the units will include southern exposure, five-star energy efficiency ratings and radiant floor heating, plus access to amenities including shared gardens, a workshop, kids' play room and greenhouse.
Being able to show already-built units will help sell the final spots, Pauls said.
"The big trick is that you need to get homes built before some of the market will consider buying," she said. "They actually need to see the physical home."
So far, the households who have signed on for homes in the neighborhood are a mix of longtime Anchorage residents with a few people from Outside.
"It's made up of couples, singles, people with kids, elderly folks," Pauls said.
There's no firm groundbreaking date yet, but construction plans are being finalized and will be submitted to the municipality in January, Pauls said. Applications for utilities to the site have already been submitted.
Already, trees have been cleared from the land in anticipation of building. Some of the lumber taken from the land will be used in the structures.