Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cooper Lofts Dayton Ohio

First, some background. I am a resident at the Cooper Lofts in Dayton Ohio. These lofts were design and built by the same company, or companies using similar methods, to the Cannery Lofts, The Ice Lofts and the Merc Lofts.

These places are beautiful (at first glance) warehouse conversions in central downtown Dayton. The Ice and Cooper Lofts are conversions and extensions of existing Dayton buildings and the Merc is actually a renovation of an old DP&L power plant on Third Street.

If you are considering purchasing a unit in one of the buildings I would strongly caution you to think twice about the inherent problems. You may deeply regret your decision.

The thing about loft living is that you are faced with the worst of both a stand-alone house and an apartment building:

  • In an apartment building you are protected by a lease and supported by an arbitrating party that is bound to all by legal requirements of reasonable action and protection from harassment and nuisance. In a loft you are protected by the bylaws, which the "condo association" is, by all appearances, able to change at a whim with little or no regard for non-owner resident's protection.
  • In an apartment building no one can make claims of ownership and declare, from a self-righteous platform, that they do what they like on the property they own. In an apartment, ownership is centralized and all are bound to reasonable requirements of respect by that central party. In a loft all residents (or most at least) are owners and are therefore afforded a feeling that they can do whatever they want regardless of the negative impact on the quality of life of other residents.

In short, you have all the problems of an apartment (close proximity, lack of privacy) and all the problems with a house (bad neighbors, property ownership issues) without any of the advantages of an apartment (central authority, neutral party to provide arbitration) or of owning your own house (personal space, privacy.)

The so-called "Condo Association Board" exists only to protect the offices of the board and the friends they keep among the property owners. The members of the board will take whatever steps required to retain control -- including voting in modifications to the bylaws to make protest illegal.

Be very careful dealing with Cooper Lofts, you may be fooled initially but once the honeymoon wears off you will be sorry you got involved.


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