Cooperative Village, Manhattan, New York City
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Cooperative Village is a community of housing cooperatives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. The cooperatives are centered around Grand Street in an area south of the entrance ramp to the Williamsburg Bridge and west of FDR Drive. Combined, the four cooperatives have 4,500 apartments in twelve buildings.
The cooperatives were sponsored, organized and built by trade unions, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, as well as the United Housing Foundation, a development organization set up by the unions in 1951.
The cooperatives followed strict Rochdale Principles, with one vote per member, irrespective of the nominal value of his shares. Resale of shares was restricted; members moving out of the apartments had to sell their shares back to the cooperative at the buying price, minus a flip-fee. After the original financing structures governing the apartments were phased out, beginning in 1986, the shareholders of each cooperative decided in separate votes in 1997 and 2000, to abandon the limited equity rules and free the resale of shares, in some cases increasing the value of apartments five-fold. To keep the maintenance fees low for original tenants, many of them retirees, a high flip-tax is charged, up to 17.5% of the gross sales price for "first sales" and up to 8.5% for "second sales". In a similar instance, the shareholders at the Penn South sister cooperative in the Chelsea section of Manhattan voted to continue operating under limited equity rules.
The Amalgamated Dwellings, one of the oldest housing cooperatives in the United States, was the second cooperative sponsored by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, after the successful Amalgamated Cooperative Apartments in the Bronx. The six-story Art Deco building with 236 apartments was designed by the architects Springsteen & Goldhammer and was completed in 1930 at the site of a former printing plant. The building covered one city block, with a protected garden in the center. The design was intended to provide direct sunlight to all rooms, something that was missing from the typical Manhattan tenements. The cooperative also had a library, an auditorium, a nursery, and a gym. The apartments were priced at $500 a room, with monthly maintenance fees, including repayment of the mortgage, at $12.50 a room.
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