Re: Self-developing cohousing vs. working with a developer
From: Alice Alexander (
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 11:41:51 -0800 (PST)
Great advice from Sharon!

I would also encourage communities to consider engaging developers who have
cohousing experience in working with forming groups (not an easy task!),
and how best to achieve designs that work in cohousing, including a common
house and common facilities.

My Durham Central Park Cohousing Community is self developed, thanks to
incredible talent and years of hard work by our co-founders. However, I
would not recommend this path for the faint hearted.

I'll add that although we self developed, we benefited greatly from
engaging Laura Fitch (Fitch Architecture) for just one Saturday, to provide
us with the tools to design our common space with our local architects;
tools that we continue to use today. Laura shared advice based on years of
creating and designing cohousing, advice not easily conveyed or understood
by those without.

PS We have two condos for sale in our amazing Durham Cohousing in downtown
Durham. Check us out
Alice Alexander
Durham Cohousing (Durham, No Carolina)

On Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 2:04 PM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> > On Dec 16, 2020, at 12:59 PM, Swenja Ziegler <zieswenja1 [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > Our budding community (Truckee River Cohousing, CA) has received quite a
> > "budget shock" when our likely developing partner presented us with
> > realistic pricing. Some in our group think that we might save money by
> > simplifying the design, building a smaller community and self-developing.
> > We would love to hear from other cohousing communities who have
> > self-developed about the pros and cons of going down that path.
> Advice from working with the early stages of two failed cohousing
> communities and a third that worked (and I live there) plus almost 30 years
> of reading Cohousing-L.
> Unless you have a professional in your group who is experienced in real
> estate development a developer will save you much more than they will cost.
> They will also know the best ways to cut costs and will have credibility
> with banks and suppliers.
> What cohousing is is real estate development. You are trying to build a
> multi-household complex that will add value in the range of several million
> dollars if you are doing market-rate housing.
> Generally, I think most groups are finding that a smaller number of units
> is not necessarily less expensive.
> I’m not a developer but responding quickly because no one else has chimed
> in.
> Sharon
> ———
> Sharon Villines
> affordablecohousing [at]
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> affordablecohousing+subscribe [at]
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Alice Alexander

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