Working woth a developer
From: Mike Malone (
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 08:29:12 -0500
On May 7, Lydia Ducharme asked about working or not working with 
developers.  Monterery Cohousing Community in St. Louis Park, 
Minnesota did not use a developer. In general, we would have 
preferred to work with one. We would have been built much quicker, 
would have spent less money, and would have been more in a mood to 
appreciate our new homes had a developer been guiding the project. I 
think it is possible for a cohousing group to be their own developer 
if  some members have considerable experience in the construction 
trades,  some members have experience in small business start-up, 
they have a ready source of capital up-front, and some members have 
the ability to perform a full time job on top of the rest of their 
I think the idea of saving money by being your own developer is 
likely to be illusionary unless you are very skillful. This is 
particularly true if you are looking at new or heavy duty retro-fit 
in an urban setting. Monterey Cohousing has both new construction and 
retrofit in a high density neihborhood.
Other members of the Monterey Cohousing, who were much more involved 
in the nitty-gritty of development can supply more explict details so 
contact me if you want to here from them. Judy Baxter who 
participates in this list is one of them.

> Date: Thu, 07 May 1998 17:33:46 -0700
> From: Ray & Lydia Ducharme <ducharm1 [at]>
> To: SharonVillines [at],
> Subject: Developer, member fees, non-profit
> Message-ID: < [at]>
> I'm a member of Wholelife Cohousing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  We have 8
> committed households and are looking around for land to buy in the inner
> city.  We have recently hired a consultant to come here from Vancouver, BC
> to give us some advice and will be using her on a as-needed basis.  Although
> we have utmost confidence in her abilities some members would rather not
> follow her suggestions "blindly".  They think we should research subjects
> ourselves so that we have some knowledge before deciding.  (Therefore, I am
> here to check out this service for the first time). 
> I have reviewed the information that has already been asked/answered on this
> mail list but would like further information.  I have 3 questions. 
> 1.  What positive/negative experiences have you had with "being a
> developer", "working with a developer" or "hiring a developer".  We were
> told we could save money and create affordability by developing it ourselves
> but some members are worried about the risk. 
> 2.   We are thinking of increasing our $1,000 (voting) membership fee to
> $5,000. Is there really a benefit at this point to increase the amount?  (I
> read about New View's land fund, is that the main reason to have more
> that you can move on land quickly?)
> 3.   We originally tried to incorporate as a "not-for-profit" but the
> application has been held up for months (I don't know what was wrong with
> it).  After speaking with our consultant, we asked our lawyer to "stop" our
> application until we decided whether or not to become a "profit" corp.  Any
> suggestions?  Is it easier to get financing?  
> I'm looking forward to connecting with other cohousing groups, thanks for
> your help. 
> :-) Lydia 
> ------------------------------
> End of COHOUSING-L Digest 487
> *****************************

Michael Malone
Cancer Control Section
Minnesota Department of Health
Internet address:  michael.malone [at]
Phone: (612)623-5670
Fax: (612)623-5520

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