Re: Working woth a developer
From: Kathy Kelly (
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 10:50:25 -0500
     If your group is considering working with a developer talk to Jim
Leach and Wonderland Development Co. first.  As far as I can tell
Wonderland is way out in front of the pack in terms of creating a cohousing
development system which results in a shortened time to resident move in
and significantly reduced financial risk to group members.  Leach and his
team of professionals understand cohousing, consensus and real estate
development, a combo not easily found elsewhere. 
      Here in Tucson we had a short, fairly miserable experience with 2
developer consultants. We learned from that experience that we would
probably spend all of our money on advice from such consultants (who were
not sharing any of the project's risk) before we ever broke ground.  We
were delighted to discover Leach and Company and the "streamlined
development process" last fall.  Since then we've become only more grateful
that we have the good fortune of working with such talented professionals. 

     We expect to break ground October 1 and to start moving in April of
next year. We still have 18 units left (out of 36 total) and Chuck Durrett
will be in town May 23-30 to conduct our unit design workshop.    Initial
membership is only $2500 (all credited to your downpayment) and you only
need 5% of your unit cost invested by the start of construction.  Come join

Kathy Kelly
Tucson, AZ
hotline: 520.570.6052

> From: Mike Malone <mike [at]>
> Subject: Working woth a developer
> Date: Friday, May 08, 1998 6:28 AM
> 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 
> lives.
> 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
> > city.  We have recently hired a consultant to come here from Vancouver,
> > to give us some advice and will be using her on a as-needed basis. 
> > we have utmost confidence in her abilities some members would rather
> > follow her suggestions "blindly".  They think we should research
> > 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
> > 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
> > told we could save money and create affordability by developing it
> > but some members are worried about the risk. 
> > 
> > 2.   We are thinking of increasing our $1,000 (voting) membership fee
> > $5,000. Is there really a benefit at this point to increase the amount?
> > 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
> > it).  After speaking with our consultant, we asked our lawyer to "stop"
> > application until we decided whether or not to become a "profit" corp. 
> > suggestions?  Is it easier to get financing?  
> > 
> > I'm looking forward to connecting with other cohousing groups, thanks
> > 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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