Who will live in Harwood Village Southgate?

Harwood Village Southgate is perfect for vibrant seniors and individuals with disabilities because it is fun, friendly, safe, caring, cooperative and designed for the ideal balance of privacy and social engagement.  We will enjoy shared meals together in our common house and shared chores like tending to the community garden.  Let’s meet up for coffee in our gazebo. How about a fix-it project in our workshop?  Who wants to catch a movie?


Where can guests stay?

We expect to provide a caregiver/guest suite for visiting friends and family.

Do I have to participate in community meals?

Attending meals is always optional, but you are encouraged to do so when you are able. We anticipate that participation in preparing and sharing community meals will be an important activity that will strengthen our community, increase opportunities for socialization, and reduce isolation. The frequency of our community meals is yet to be decided.

What responsibilities will I have in the community?

Our community will require each adult to join and participate on at least one work team, committee, or task force. As a self-governing and participatory community, involvement is a necessary component.

How much work is required?

Ours will be a cooperative community that relies on its members to get things done, from keeping the common house clean to facilitating meetings. This also saves us a lot of money.

Residents in cohousing communities generally contribute approximately 3-5 hours per month in an organized work system.

Other tasks may not be as organized and can be accomplished via members’ individual and collective labors of love. We will strive to match work with talent and passions.

Will I have privacy?

Yes! Members value their privacy as much as they value social contact. While shared amenities are central to cohousing, some believe privacy is respected more in cohousing communities than elsewhere. The common spaces are for playing, partying, and being together, while the individual unit is the place for retreat and privacy. The shared kitchen and dining area is not a statement that meals should be communal; rather, it is the notion that cooking and eating together can be an important and valuable way to prevent isolation and promote social interaction, as a route to remaining active, engaged, adventuresome adults.

Do I have to like everyone?

No, but to have a healthy community, people need to be tolerant and respectful toward others. Living in close proximity, we are likely to develop relationships more readily, but as in all areas of life, we will create our own circle of special friends. The group will be large enough that everyone does not need to be best friends.

What is cohousing?

Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own community. It attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions in which neighbors often do not know one another, and are unable to develop and nurture a sense of community.

Is cohousing just a Lakeland thing?

No. Over 150 cohousing developments are in operation in the United States and another 100 are in various stages of development. Cohousing is especially popular in Denmark and the Netherlands, and both countries have over 300 cohousing communities; interestingly, over 75% of The Netherlands projects are especially for seniors. You can read more at www.cohousing.org.

How much will it cost?

Typically, urban cohousing costs about the same as comparable communities. The individual units are often smaller, but the generous common space aims to offset that.

Will I own my own home?

Yes. Our neighbors enjoy a private, fully functional home utilizing universal design (ability to install an in-house lift, accessible cabinets and appliances) with a full kitchen and one or more bathrooms.

Do I also own a share of the community?

Yes. You own a share of all of the common space. The common spaces will be the hub/core/heart/hearthstone of our community and may include:
• A large gathering room to meet, play and learn together
• A kitchen/dining area to cook and eat occasional community meals
• Recreation room
• Garage or parking
…and more!

What about HOAs?

Homeowner’s association fees in existing cohousing projects generally range from $300-$500 per month. Our HOA fees have not yet been set, and will be established before sale.  Every household has a vote in the homeowners association.

How many homes are in Harwood Village?

Phase 1 provides for up to 12 homes plus generous shared spaces on our ½ acre site.

Are the homes for rent or for sale?

Homes are for sale although we do hope to offer a limited number of units for rent.

Are these units single family homes, tiny homes or condos?

The homes will be single story.  We are still working on the design but anticipate a selection of single, duplex & triplex units.

How big are the units?

We have not yet undertaken specific design, but we envision units ranging in size from 600 SF to 1200 SF.

What will the common space be like?

We plan on around 1800 SF of common space to include a large kitchen and dining area, sitting area and recreation room. Specifics will be determined during the design process.

What green features will the project have?

By following the requirements of modern building codes, our project will be more energy efficient than the homes where most of us live today. The project also may be built to near-LEED1 standards and may make use of solar photovoltaics or other renewable power sources to reduce electric bills. Storm water will be harvested onsite to the extent possible, and only EnergyStar or better appliances will be installed, where possible.

Are there any cost savings associated with this style of living/community?
  • Lower cost of maintenance than large single-family homes
  • Sustainable building practices will likely reduce utility and other costs
  • By combining resources, the community will be able to afford energy-efficient heating systems and may include solar panels
  • Consideration for the local climate, natural daylight, and optimizing solar orientation make for highly energy efficient buildings
  • Less reliance on cars
  • Studies show cohousing residents drive 25% less and own fewer vehicles
  • Public transit to and from downtown and other areas of city
  • May be able to have no car, or one car rather than two
  • Uber and Lyft available in the neighborhood
  • Bicycle storage/parking provided
  • Practical benefit of knowing that there are people close by in case of an emergency
What about noise containment?

Our structure will be built with ample sound insulation to minimize noise between individual units as well as common spaces.

How can I get involved?

There are several ways you can get in on the fun with Harwood Village, Inc.  You could become a neighbor, donate needed funding, donate your time and expertise by volunteering, help spread the word or come to one of our virtual or in-person events.

Are there any openings?

We are currently working on our first community that is conveniently located near downtown Lakeland, close to Southgate Shopping Center.   Neighbors can walk to everything they need – Publix for grocery shopping, ACE Hardware, Starbucks, restaurants, medical – the list goes on.  Public transportation is just steps away.  It is even an easy walk to beautiful Lake Hollingsworth.

How do I know if I would like Harwood Village?

We encourage participation in our coffees, potlucks, and other social events (see website for details)

Why should I get involved now when so much is undecided?
  • you will have time to develop the ties that determine the characteristics that shape our community. We are creating a community, and then we’ll construct a building around it.
  • you can participate in the design process and be a voice in advocating for a design meets your needs and wants. Those groups who have completed their projects say that the design process is a key community-building exercise
  • early members will be able to participate in the development of various policies that will shape our community life
Is this a care facility?

No. We do not offer skilled nursing care, medical support or memory care. We are not a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), nor a retirement home or convalescent facility. We are a group of active adults who have chosen to live in a tight-knit community of caring, helpful friends. We believe this will enable many of us to stay in our homes longer than if we lived in isolation.

Do I get free care or help if I get sick?

Harwood Village is not a continuing care facility. However, as with any group of friends or neighbors, we expect that people will help each other in informal ways. Also, someday a guest suite might be used to house a shared caregiver if the community chooses. Any costs for ongoing care will be borne by individuals.

How will this be different from traditional retirement housing?

Harwood Village will be designed, owned, and operated by our members.  Decisions effecting the community will be made by the Membership. No corporation or non-profit organization will be making decisions for us. Most importantly, Harwood Village is an intentional community. For us, a strong community is an explicit goal, not the lucky coincidence of having good neighbors.

Is this co-living?

No, co-living involves much more sharing of spaces.  In cohousing communities, each individual has their own full residence but shares communal areas such as gardens and gathering spaces. With co-living, each person has their own bedroom and maybe a bathroom, but shares all other areas of the residence – kitchen, dining room, workspaces.

Is this a commune?

No, a commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property, possession and resources.

Can I have a pet?

Pets that are a match for an urban, shared environment are fine. Specific policy details are under development.

What is Harwood Village Inc?

Harwood Village, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non profit organization based in Central Florida whose mission is to create independent living communities which embrace the diversity of seniors and individuals with disabilities. We attract funding from public and private foundations, granting organizations, individual donors, and will hold regular fundraising events. We do not fund our organization through the development projects we build—our communities are built through a combination of donor funding, foundation funding, and buy-in of our neighbor-owners.

What is Harwood Village Development LLC?

Harwood Village Development LLC is a member-managed, limited-liability company formed to accumulate capital to create a community project in Lakeland, Florida.  Once construction is completed, Harwood Village Development LLC will be restructured as a condominium HOA.

What is Harwood Village Southgate?

Harwood Village Southgate is an independent living community where neighbors own their homes and a share in the common spaces.

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