Two of the Largest Co-ops to Undergo Seismic and Accessibility Renovations

The Co-op plans to embark on significant seismic and accessibility renovations of two of its largest co-op houses, Casa Zimbabwe and Cloyne Court. These retrofits will make the buildings safer, as well as offer more housing options to people with disabilities. The plans include extensive improvements specifically aimed at people with vision, hearing and mobility impairments.
The renovations will cost a total of $13.25 million, and are scheduled to begin on Casa Zimbabwe in December 2006, to be completed by fall 2007. Work will begin on Cloyne Court in 2008 once work is completed on Casa Zimbabwe. All residents of the two cooperatives will be guaranteed housing in one of the other 19 cooperatives located throughout Berkeley during the time their house is under construction.
The Co-op’s central offices, including the Central Kitchen that delivers food to the Co-op’s 16 room and board houses, are housed in the same building as Casa Zimbabwe, and will also be displaced during the construction work. Co-op officials are committed to preventing any disruption in the USCA’s student services, including the essential food deliveries.
These projects will be funded through a combination of non-profit bond financing and fundraising. In anticipation of these and other projects, rates for living in the cooperatives went up 12% this year. Co-op officials anticipate that they will go up again next year by 5%, and will probably continue increase by a similar percentage over the next few years in order to pay off the loans.
The Co-op continues to provide quality, affordable housing to college students. Co-op General Manager, George Proper said, “These retrofits are necessary to improve the quality of life in these houses, including their accessibility. Once complete, these renovations will make our cooperative community safer and more accessible to all.”
Casa Zimbabwe houses 124 students and is located at 2422 Ridge Road. Cloyne Court is the largest co-op, housing 149 students at 2600 Ridge Road. Both are located in Berkeley, California.