Re: Development budget (broad strokes)
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 07:55:07 -0800 (PST)
A good post. This is the best advertising for you. You have considered revising 
The Cohousing Handbook?


> On Feb 5, 2015, at 1:16 PM, Chris ScottHanson <cscotthanson [at]> 
> wrote:
> Peter, and Sharon,
> I rarely disagree with Sharon but I do here.
> I have found that banks are not a good source of referrals to local 
> development professionals.  It's very hard to find the right person at the 
> bank. No one wants to refer you up the food chain because they all want 
> credit for a new client.  They are inclined to sell you their loan product 
> and in doing so they are only inclined to tell you what they think you want 
> to hear. In other words they often don't tell you the whole truth as you 
> might see the truth.
> When I parachute into a new location doing land search work, which I have 
> done all over North America, I start with a local lumberyard.  Why a 
> lumberyard?  Objectivity.   I ask to speak to the accounts receivable person. 
> Then I ask the A-R person if they can recommend a couple of really good 
> contractors, their best clients, contractors who buy a lot and pay on time. 
> Contractors who survived the recession.  They are very happy to share these 
> referrals to their best customers because it helps their business long-term.  
> I do this with at least two lumberyards.
> Then I call the contractors on the shortlist and ask for their referrals to 
> local housing developers who have been successful, and have been in business 
> for a long time.  While I'm at it, I also ask if they could recommend any 
> architects, especially old-time architects who may have just retired.  I find 
> old time architects are the most honest and candid of the development 
> industry professionals, the most willing to tell it like it is, and the most 
> willing to tell stories about who is good, who is marginal and who avoid.  
> Always when doing this kind of research I look for overlap, referrals to the 
> same person or same organization from more than one source. It's amazing what 
> you can figure out over the phone in a matter of a few hours.  Of course it 
> does help that I can speak their language after 39 years in the multi-family 
> housing industry.
> Boston and north, you might try:
> Patti Lautner or Stew Mayer, (508) 962-4721
> Partners at, Communitas Development <> 
> Bill Glasser (781) 376-1801  (multifamily contractor who built JP Cohousing)
> Tim McHale (617) 797-1129 (very experienced clerk of the works)
> If I can be of help let me know.
> Chris ScottHanson
> Urban Cohousing Associates, Inc. <>
> Land Acquisition, Development Consulting & Project Management
> Ecovillages, Cohousing & Sustainable Communities
> Fifth Street Commons <>
> PO Box 1288
> Langley, WA  98260 
> (206) 601-7802 cell
> Author of:  The Cohousing Handbook - BUILDING A PLACE FOR COMMUNITY
> Available from new, used and as an eBook.
>> On Feb 5, 2015, at 9:28 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
>> wrote:
>>> On Feb 5, 2015, at 11:50 AM, Peter Goldstein <peterhansgoldstein [at] 
>>>> wrote:
>>> For purposes of member assessments, and communication with the governments
>>> of our target towns, we'll need a little more detail on project budget. But
>>> a truly detailed budget (which would depend on plenty of unknowable
>>> variables) would be a developer project, and we're far from decided on what
>>> developer we'll work with.
>> There are several budgets in a publication put together by the Mid Atlantic 
>> Cohousing association, The Developer's Guide to Cohousing.
>> Contact Ann Zabaldo at zabaldo [at]
>> On developers and budgets, advise from Gilda Iriarti who worked with 
>> cohousing on budgets for many years your best source for a developer is to 
>> talk to banks -- the person in charge of construction loans. They know who 
>> is trustworthy, and who will bring the project in on time and within the 
>> budget.
>> As with all discussions with banks -- you are asking them to finance a condo 
>> -- not a weird place where people have to cook. Just discuss construction 
>> and land unless they seem interested in cohousing. Don't try to sell 
>> something they are unfamiliar with.
>> Sharon
>> ----
>> Sharon Villines
>> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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