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Senior co-ops: The new housing rage

Real estate trend spreads from Midwestern states

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In the United States, trends generally start on the East or West Coast and move inward. But once in a while the reverse happens – the innovation begins in the Midwest and ripples outwards. One such example is senior co-operatives – otherwise known as "senior co-ops." This modestly sized, low-rise, multifamily housing that began in Minneapolis about 30 years ago is still largely a Minnesota phenomenon, but they are slowly spreading to other Midwestern states as well as further a field in Texas, Arkansas, and even Alaska. Senior co-op residents rave about them. Of greater interest to this columnist, senior co-ops seem tailor-made for aging baby boomers who famously want to do things their way, be in control, flout tradition, confound expectation, and never grow old. This was my conclusion after touring a number of projects in the Minneapolis area at the invitation of Miller Hanson Partners, a Minneapolis architectural firm that has designed more senior co-ops than any othe...