Mentioned in Piedmont Post!

Thanks to Joanne Devereaux, we were recently mentioned in an article on cohousing in the Piedmont Post!

To read the full article (paywall), visit:

The Antidote to Loneliness

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote a great article about our PC community. We think we’ve found the antidote to aging as well. Life is always buzzing around here, keeping us active and excited!

Phoenix Commons in the News!

It was a nice surprise to find Phoenix Commons mentioned in the Oakland Tribune last week, with an unsolicited mention in an article about an unrelated assisted living facility in Alameda:

The upcoming completion of Oakmont of Mariner Point comes as work is also underway on Phoenix Commons, a $21 million housing project by Elder Village Development near the Park Street Bridge on the Oakland side of the estuary.

The 41-condominium project at 340 29th Ave. is aimed at seniors who want the privacy of living in their own home and a co-housing lifestyle, such as through a communal kitchen and other shared amenities. The four-story building in Oakland’s Jingletown neighborhood will have one- and two-bedroom units at prices that are expected to range from $350,000 to $560,000. [Correction: the top end of the price range is $705,000. -KT]

Elder Village Development is a part of Alameda Elder Communities, which has been providing senior housing and skilled nursing facilities for more than 40 years in the Bay Area. Its facilities include the Elders Inn and the Waters Edge Lodge in Alameda. Phoenix Commons is being built on the former site of Tiki Tom’s, a waterfront restaurant and bar that burned down in October 2010.

Comparing a senior housing community like Phoenix Commons to assisted living is like comparing apples to oranges. Yet we’re grateful for the publicity, as well as the opportunity to educate more Boomers on the tremendous benefits of aging in an intentional community. Most folks end up in an expensive, institutional assisted living environment because they lack an effective support system at home. Our members will enjoy many years of independence in their new homes, precisely because they’ll be in a supportive and age-appropriate environment with compassionate neighbors/friends – and have a lot more fun in the process!

Groundbreaking for Phoenix Commons

On a bright, crisp Thursday morning, dozens of people gathered on the Oakland waterfront to celebrate a major milestone for our community. Phoenix Commons, the Bay Area’s first cooperative lifestyle community for seniors aged 55+, officially broke ground, coming one step closer to spearheading an exciting, new trend in senior housing in the Bay Area.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and City Councilman Noel Gallo were among the many public officials, community supporters, senior housing advocates, and future community members in attendance. As guests examined a 3D model of the building, enjoyed the property’s view of the estuary, and enjoyed champagne and hors d’oeuvres, there was a sense that the future is bright for senior housing in Oakland. Mayor Quan summed up the potential impact of the project beautifully when she said, “I think we will redefine retirement and how people live as seniors.”

Coverage of the event can be found in the Oakland Tribune, and other local publications around the East Bay.

A New Type of Senior Housing in the Bay Area

Phoenix Commons in the news as a new direction in senior housing in the Bay Area.

Reporter Kristen Hanlon, of The Alamedan, interviewed Chris Zimmerman, CEO of Elder Village Development about Phoenix Commons. Read below for the full text and hear about our innovative new senior housing option in the East Bay.  For the link to The Alamedan please click here.

A new direction in senior living, just over the bridge

Kristen Hanlon
Friday, July 26, 2013 – 00:05
Phoenix Commons Exterior

Phoenix Commons a new senior living in the bay area

On the Oakland side of the Park Street bridge, in the neighborhood known as Jingletown, a new senior living community will be built on the site where the restaurant Tiki Tom’s burned down in 2010. The project, Phoenix Commons, is the latest endeavor of Alameda Elder Communities, which also operates the Waters Edge Lodge on Harbor Bay and the Elders Inn on Webster Street.

Phoenix Commons will be the first senior community of its kind in the Bay Area, according to Chris Zimmerman, chief executive officer of Alameda Elder Communities. Described as a “cooperative lifestyle community,” the complex will be comprised of 41 one- and two-bedroom units and communally shared areas.

“Cohousing is a co-op without the co-op label,” said Zimmerman. “The ideal of living together and sharing risk and everything else is really a co-op model.”

Zimmerman said the model is a common one in the Midwest and on the East Coast. In Minnesota, there are 35. In California, he said, there’s only one – the Wolf Creek Lodge in Grass Valley, which opened in 2012.

The main concept behind Phoenix Commons is the ability to “age in place” in a home that has senior-friendly universal design. Open floor plans, accessible bathrooms and kitchens are featured in each unit.

“The environment is not full of barriers, unlike the traditional home,” said Zimmerman.

Residents at Phoenix Commons will share 7,000 square feet of common spaces designed for group living.

“People are now often living thirty years past retirement, and in the aging process there are different levels, each requiring more support to remain independent,” Zimmerman said. “Successful aging requires community. If you’re living in a community where you are required to participate, you’re going to bump into people, and have casual contact which will lead to more social engagement which will lead to friendship.”

Unlike traditional senior living communities, cohousing residents decide together the amenities and services they want and need. In practice, said Zimmerman, this means “the residents have the advantage of group purchasing,” which he said is always thought of as a way to save money, but is really a way to maintain quality. That service provider knows that residents are attached to a group, and therefore there’s more at stake for them, he said.

Residents may desire to hire a professional chef to cook communal meals in the community kitchen, or hire an on-site maintenance worker. As the community ages, “the residents can make decisions on what kind of care to bring in,” added Zimmerman. “Because they will be linked to Alameda Elder Communities, they have the option of coming to one of our other facilities for care, and then returning to their home in Phoenix Commons once they are physically able to.”

The price range for the one- and two-bedroom homes will be $350,000 to $650,000, depending on the model, and there will a be an annual homeowner’s association fee of about $450, Zimmerman said. Groundbreaking is planned for this fall and Phoenix Commons will be ready for occupancy in late 2014 or early 2015.

For more information about Phoenix Commons, visit:

Oakland senior cohousing community in Oakland Tribune

Oakland senior cohousing is the first of its kind in the Bay Area.

The Oakland Tribune sat down with Phoenix Commons this morning to talk about the cohousing concept and how this new,  innovative Oakland senior cohousing project will bring people together and create a new ideal when it comes to senior independent living.  You can read the article below, or click here to read the article on the Tribune’s site.

Cohousing community model targeted toward seniors to break ground in Oakland

By Brittny Mejia, Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — A cooperative lifestyle community targeted toward seniors, a first in the Bay Area, will break ground this fall.

The project, to be known as Phoenix Commons, is being developed by Alameda Elder Communities, which has been providing assisted living services to seniors for more than 40 years in the city of Alameda.

Phoenix Commons, to be located in the Jingletown neighborhood of Oakland, is inspired by a cohousing model, that brings older adults into a community so they are not isolated, said Victoria Stone, director of community development for AEC.

Cohousing is a community model where residents can share resources, leading to a more sustainable lifestyle, Stone said. It also creates more social interaction as people get older.

“This creates a social environment where residents have a close-knit group of peers, and that’s a huge benefit to the quality of life,” Stone said.

Although cohousing projects exist in Oakland, this is the first and only senior cohousing community in the Bay Area, according to Stone.

When Robby Kiley, 70, moved to California about six years ago after the death of her husband, she began looking at senior housing available in the Bay Area. She found out about AEC and cooperative lifestyle communities like Phoenix Commons at a workshop on aging about a year ago.

Kiley said she got interested in Phoenix Commons because of the community atmosphere, which allows residents to maintain a community of people who can provide social contacts and other support.

“My next move I expect to be my last move, and I’m looking for a place that I will be until my death and such a place that my life can be managed without calling on my children and the like to step in and assist and manage,” she said.

Phoenix Commons’ residents will volunteer five to eight hours a week toward that community life, which can include cooking or planning social events.

“For me it’s great because it’s another model of an intentional community in the Bay Area,” said Neil Planchon, a founding resident of Swan’s Market Cohousing in Oakland. “I love the emphasis on seniors, and I love the fact that it’s local.”

Swan’s Market Cohousing has been a presence in the city since 2000 and includes a diverse group of residents. Planchon said cohousing is not only ecologically sound but also results in a tight-knit community.

“There’s a lot of congeniality amongst ourselves as families, by doing stuff together,” said Planchon. “The quality of life is just very high.”

The $21 million Phoenix Commons project will cost residents about $450 a month in homeowner association fees. There will be 41 units available and about 60 people are expected to reside in the community once it opens in 2015.

Although the core community has not yet solidified, the envelope of the building is designed and waiting for residents who will come in early and have the opportunity to design the community spaces within.

“We want people to join now and build their relationships and community vision together,” Stone said. “You really want to come in early and get to know your neighbors and create the vision for the community you want.”

San Francisco Business Times interviews Phoenix Commons

We are pleased to say Phoenix Commons was interviewed by the San Francisco Business Times today! The article covers the details of the project including the number of units within the building; also the article goes into a little about two of the developers, Chris Zimmerman, the founder and Jeff Zimmerman, the architect. Check out this interesting article by clicking here.

Phoenix Commons is in the Senior Housing News

Phoenix Commons was in the Senior Housing News today! The story covers our innovative Phoenix Commons cohousing  lifestyle as well as all the details of the project including amenities, general pricing, and other logistics. Check out this interesting article by clicking here.

Hey Everyone Check out the Article in Business Wire

Hey everyone check out the article about Phoenix Commons that was published in Business Wire today. Click here  for the whole story. 

Phoenix Commons wins Honorable Mention from Environments for Aging

Environments for Aging (EFA) Magazine honored Phoenix Commons with an Honorable Mention Design Award, the highest award possible for a design project which is not yet built. Describing Phoenix Commons, EFA Magazine said, “This project in progress had a lot of great features an ‘out-of-the-box’ concept, bringing it to a challenging, urban site, with great connections to shopping, entertainment and the waterfront trail are all items the designer should be commended for.”

Environments for Aging Magazine annually awards projects who merit awards for design issues and trends related to the needs of the entire aging population at the Environments for Aging Conference and publishes the honorees in their Annual Design issue.  To see the article click here.