Re: architects and developers
From: Diane Simpson (
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 19:35:14 -0700 (MST)

I'd hire a good lawyer first. If you're going to negotiate contracts, you want a knowledgeable attorney overseeing that aspect of the project for you.

No matter what plans you make, things have a way of working out differently from what you had expected. Does the developer know the architect? Have they worked together before? What projects has the architect done? What projects has the developer done? Is he or she popular in the neighborhood or do the neighbors have a lot of complaints about their work? Did their projects come in on time and on budget? Were either of them ever sued? Why? How much real estate development knowledge do you have in the group? Do you know what questions to ask? What are you going to do if the developer bows out on you? How much control does the developer have over your project? Where is he or she going to get the money to finance the project? How much is the developer going to charge you? The architect? what services are encompassed in those fees? How well does the developer work with the group? With the architect? With other professionals? With city or town officials? Did you get references? Try to talk for at least half an hour with each of the references to find out the strong and weak points of the architect and the developer. Find out how they propose to work with the group; what decisions the group will have control over and what decisions the developer will have control over. Also, what will be the process for mediating disputes?

One developer we spoke to early on wouldn't even cross the river to work with us, claiming that "development is a local business." That doesn't mean you can't work with a far-flung developer but it does mean you'll have to have someone who knows the local political scene work with your group--maybe a lawyer or a permitting firm. Are you in the city or the country? Makes a big difference.

Hope this helps, keep us posted as your project progresses!


JP COHOUSING  617-524-6614
"The people who surround you define the quality of your life."
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On Friday, November 14, 2003, at 06:40 PM, Karin Landsberg wrote:

We are getting ready to hire an architect and developer. What worked for your group and what would you do differently? Any input would be helpful! Also, I am particularly curious to find out the reasons groups have chosen to go with local architects and developers or ones who are more familiar with the particulars of creating cohousing.

Thanks, Karin Landsberg

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