From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 07:12:08 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 25, 2008, at 4:29 PM, David Bellin wrote:

Well into the process, the architect/developer hired me as the Project
Manager for the development, because of my experience in construction and
affordable housing.

I think when the developer hires someone it may work better. The developer is vouching for your expertise and you have no direct responsibility since the developer has the ultimate authority.

Our developer hired Ann Zabaldo to do marketing and community development. Unfortunately, for Ann and the developer, it was their first time working together and the first time either of them had developed a cohousing community. Ann had worked on LIberty Village and he had built many multi-household buildings and many private homes. He said by contrast, building cohousing was like building 43 private homes because there are so many people to deal with.

While I think Ann did a great job on marketing and bringing the community together, and helping the developer understand cohousing, there were some hard feelings on the part of a few residents. These stemmed, I think, from confused and unrealistic expectations concerning the limitations of her role and confused communications on the part of the developer. Much more was expected and attributed to her than she was responsible for.

So even if the person is hired by the developer, it might help if the future residents if they understand the limitations and responsibilities of the Project Manager. We had many residents who had never purchased a home before or had any knowledge of the complexities of large building construction, which is hard and fraught with unexpected complexities.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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