After 40 years of being one of Madison's largest and most successful alternative housing co-ops, Lothlorien Co-op is at risk of being sold due to repair costs from a major fire that occurred in September 2013, leaving the building uninhabitable and displacing the 30 adults and four children who were living there at the time. Our fire insurance is falling far short of covering all of the damages, and so the board of directors for the local co-op community is moving to sell this beautiful 100 year old lakefront castle to a developer, which will mean it will be knocked down and turned into high cost, high rise housing.
The board has serious concerns about how hard it will affect their overall operating costs to take out more credit to repair the building, as it will raise resident's rents throughout the co-op community and put them at risk financially if another catastrophe occurs. So unless we can find ways to offset the repair costs, they are likely to sell our house to protect the larger co-op organization.
Many believe that this is a horrible mistake, as Lothlorien has provided not only a creative, freethinking home for students, families, activists, artists, working people and so many others, but also a community hub, hosting bands, benefits, travelers and social activism groups, as well as helping to create both charities and businesses in the community over its 40 year span as a co-op. Lothlorien offers one of very few low cost housing alternatives in the downtown Madison area, and the building itself contributes to the historic nature of the neighborhood, which has been being overtaken by the type of gentrified high rises that are likely to take its place if it is sold.
We believe that this house is worth much more as a co-op, serving the community, than any amount of money developers can offer. We have been trying to work with the board and the community to come up with options, including bringing costs down by doing as much of the labor as we can ourselves, getting grants for energy efficient development, and are looking into selling bonds for the repairs.
And so, we are asking for help. Any donations we can get will help offset the repair costs, bringing the expense and risk to the larger organization down, and making it more likely that this amazing piece of the Madison community does not become yet another high priced apartment complex.
If the board of directors still decides to sell Lothlorien and we have raised enough money between this and our other projects to make it possible for us to buy the house, all funds will be put towards that. If they decide to sell to anyone other than its members, all donations will be returned. We will be starting up an escrow account to hold all funds until a decision is made.
A project of The Friends of Loth, comprised of house members and supporters throughout the community. Friends of Loth is an independent organization that is not directly affiliated with any other organization, including MCC.
For more information, visit, https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofLothhttps://www.facebook.com/lothloriencoop
or our event discussion pagehttps://www.facebook.com/events/691762950887472/
For more pictures of Lothlorien, its people and community, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lothloriencoop/
If you would like to donate offline, checks can be made out to friends of lothlorien, and sent to po box 732, madison wi, 53701.