Mondragón to pay 40% more if mortgage replaces rent

Eton Harris in front of Mondragón at 91 Albert Street
Photo Credit: Sean Ledwich

A co-owner of Mondragón Bookstore & Coffeehouse said their costs will jump about 40 per cent if a plan by tenants to purchase their Exchange District building goes through.

Eton Harris said the 10 occupants of 91 Albert Street , the three-story Emma Goldman Building built in 1899, will likely succeed in their effort to collectively purchase the historic building from a private owner by October, 2010.

The result will be a 25- or 30-year mortgage that will replace Mondragón’s current $1600 per month rent with a $2250 per month payment.

Harris said Mondragón, the largest commercial tenant in the building, will be able to handle the hit. “We’ve been doing better and better each year, and the grocery store we opened last April has added an extra revenue stream that will cover the extra cost.”

Harris said once the tenants are co-operative owners of the building they will become eligible for grants from the Assiniboine Credit Union, the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, and the Manitoba Cooperative Association, which will help with legal fees related to becoming a co-operative and provide funds for building upgrades.

As co-operative owners, tenants will have more control and take better care of the building, he said.

The building’s current owner, Paul Burrows, used to be a member of the Mondragón co-operative and helped form the Old Market Autonomous Zone when he bought the building in 1995. It describes itself as an initiative to “get like-minded individuals and organizations, activists, as well as alternative worker-run businesses, together under one roof.”

Harris said Burrows is working with the tenants to find a price that’s affordable to them.

“He always wanted it to be run co-operatively and he’s in Saskatoon working on his PhD and he just doesn’t have the time anymore.”

Besides Mondragón, tenants of the building and members of the A-zone include Canadian Dimension Magazine, Dada World Data, Junto Local 91, Natural Cycle, Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre, and the Canada-Palestine Support Network.

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Sean Ledwich

  • 50 years old
  • Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • User since Oct 27th 2009, 09:36