Re: RFPs and developers
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 09:34:29 -0800 (PST)
Paul, I don't think you're facing large problems here... just various
interests that you
need to be creative about aligning. As I see it, you really need to
understand the model
of power-sharing that CoHousing Partners and its respective creators
Hill and The CoHousing Company) have evolved. After using different business
models in high tech and then retiring from Microsoft in '05, I find their
approach very
powerful and am now applying it to a situation very similar to yours... for
New Earth Song
Cohousing (

The New Earth Song LLC (in formation) consists of 3 families that reside at
Cohousing ( and 2 families that currently live in Seattle.
We expect
to PARTNER with a housing developer to develop a for-profit project that
uses the same
basic investment and control model as CoHousing Partners. The two pieces of
land we
will develop is owned by two entities - a half acre is owned by 5 members of
Songaia and
4.3 acres is owned by a long-time neighbor that loves Songaia... in fact,
he's visiting Songaia
now, staying in one of our guest rooms. The main purpose of his visit is to
make progress
on "The Deal" (actually, just the parts that pertain to tying up, and then
buying his land
for the project)... Tomorrow, we sit down with our prospective developer,
that is working
on a Feasibility Study and... hopefully, we will make great progress on the
land acquisition.

BTW, we are being led through our first Site Planning Workshop today by an
who hopes to be the project's architect... more aligning of interests.

Like you, we have a high degree of freedom and power given the strength of
the existing
community. Songaia is a very successful, strongly aligned group with plenty
of assets,
including tremendously appreciated land values... even in this market!

As I understand the CoHousing Partners model, the (experienced) developer
the project, while the community controls the whole community, which
includes the most
important parts about the land development project, as it pertains to
community interests.
I've spent many hours learning about this model... it is really cheap for
you to get a leg up
on this by attending Katie McCamant's webinar tomorrow, just click here:

and register to participate as she shares her insights based on involvement
with developing
more cohousing projects than anyone else in the US, except perhaps Jim
Leach, who is,
of course, Katie's business partner in CoHousing Partners.

Thanks for the set-up to, once again, pitch the Coho/US Webinar, but the
approach they use
is extremely relevant to your situation... you'll also, likely, get lots of
input from others on
this listserv...

After having been part of a community that self-developed, there is no way
that I can be
part of New Earth Song unless we have a professional developer who is taking
an active,
participatory role as a true partner... I just have way too much to do and
too little time left to
devote to work to commit that many years (again) to the details of land
I'd far prefer to align interests so that our development partner - and
landowner and community
member investors - all make enough profit to have good incentives to build
community together...
all of us are serving our own, enlightened self-interests and none of us
pursuing profit without
balancing the needs of people and the planet (for more on this, learn about
Triple Bottom Line):

Craig Ragland

On Nov 30, 2007 4:32 AM, Paul L. Della Maggiora <paul [at]> wrote:

> While we are on the topic, Gabrielle and I are considering the use of a
> professional developer and builder for our proposed Footpath community.
>  I'm
> coming to the conclusion that we can maintain affordability by avoiding
> the
> many and deep potholes being new developers brings. My goal is to get an
> ecological cohousing community built in an affordable manner, not to start
> a
> career in the development and building trades

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