Re: Do you really need a developer?
From: James Kacki (
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 19:45:13 -0700 (MST)

Joani Blank wrote:
> There are cohousing groups in this country who've built their projects
> it without a developer. And more that have done it with a developer.
> (There are even developer driven projects).
> I'm curious to know, James, if you are working or have worked with a
> cohousing group. If so, I'd like to know how you experienced them as a
> client? I'm asking for some insight into your experience working for a cohousing group. But I'm also interested to know if your suggestion > that a group might not really need a developer is based on observation of a particular situation or is it hypothetical?
James responds:

The answer is no, I have not yet completed a co-housing project, but I've worked on schematic co-housing planning and am extremely taken by the concept and hope to get more involved at some time. I was not necessarily stating that groups do not need a developer, but rather asking why they are necessary. What do they actually do? Developers, generally speaking, develop projects to make money, rather than for any idealistic concerns. It is perhaps an oversimplification, but at the root of a developers 'modus operendi' is to buy land, develop it and sell it for a profit. Not that making money is bad, we all have to do it to eat. But I presume that groups would want to minimize the costs spent on lawyers, developers, architects, engineers etc etc. and spend their valuable savings on land, construction costs, furniture, equipment etc. I am seeking your collective experience here. In my 33 years of practice, I have never once dealt with a developer, always directly with a client. I have done many types of projects including housing, and generally speaking all clients want to spend as little as possible on 'soft costs' and as much as possible on tangibles.

So, my question still stands and I'm very interested any responses that the communities may wish to offer. Those who have dealt through a developer and paid that developer, what exactly did you pay for? and was it worthwhile? What would you do differently if you were to do it again?

The same question in reverse to those who did not use a developer. How did you manage the process? How was that experience? and what would you do differently if you were to do it again?

I must restate that I am definitely not pushing any particular position here. developer or no developer; I'm just trying to learn as much as possible about this fascinating co-housing concept whose time seems to have arrived in N. America, and also perhaps contribute what I can in some as yet unknown way!!

Best wishes to you all. I'm envious of your adventure in a new/old way of living. Good luck to every one of you!!

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