Re: Another unsuccessful attempt
From: Jerry McIntire (
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 19:09:54 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Ann,

Thanks for the good wishes and encouragement. The good news is that the
five core members who made this decision are all still friends, and we made
the decision without any conflict among ourselves. I'm a bit disappointed
to say that everyone has moved on quickly to separate housing situations:
two of us in our old homes, two are buying homes in town, and one is buying
a corner of the property to build their home at retirement in three years.

To answer your questions, we were self-developing because of the tight
finances we had. We didn't approach a developer (other than others who had
experience with self-development, who were all quite helpful!). I don't
think any developer would have been interested because we are a town of
5,000 in one of the poorest counties in Wisconsin, two hours distant from
Madison, so the likelihood of a successful development wasn't high.

Our location/small population was the single biggest factor in our demise,
I think. In this case, "location" includes not being near a larger city
with higher incomes.

Very few people build new homes here because the existing housing is so
inexpensive, and there is little demand as growth is slow.

We spent five years building a cohesive, high-functioning group. We lost
some people. When there were four member households, we bought the property
in spring of 2014. Another household joined us, but one was not enough for
us to go forward or continue marketing, so at the end of July we decided to
throw in the towel.


On Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 3:05 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:

> Jerry — I’m so so sorry to hear about this.  This is, indeed, a painful
> juncture for a group and its members.
> I’m wondering if you would be willing to share with us the challenges you
> faced as a group.  I see that financing was one of them.  Did you, for
> instance, try to find a developer but were unsuccessful?  If so, why so you
> think that was?
> What was the group’s development strategy?  In addition to Diana Leafe
> Christian did you retain the services of other cohousing professionals?
> Was your site owned by one of the members?  Or did you purchase it
> outright?   At what point in your development time line did you purchase it?
> Excuse the geographically challenged here (that would be me) … Viroqua is
> a very small town.  Is it close to other population centers?  Do you think
> the more rural nature of the area contributed to the challenge of enrolling
> people in your project?
> Not to be a Pollyanna about it all — but I am — from the ashes rises the
> Phoenix.  THIS iteration of your cohousing community didn’t make it.  There
> are many ways of establishing a cohousing community.  Even an EcoVillage.
> I would urge you to look at the other models of collaborative living that
> are affordable and doable for your group and do that.  While purchasing a
> tract of land and building from scratch is certainly ONE way to create
> cohousing it is by far not the only way.  And not the most affordable way.
> I remember the loss of my first love, Jerry.  Not a pretty site was I.  I
> know your disappointment firsthand.  Happily, I went on to have many more
> loves.  Just like you will, too.
> Best --
> Ann Zabaldo
> Takoma Village Cohousing
> Washington, DC
> Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
> Falls Church, VA
> 703.688.2646
> > On Aug 25, 2015, at 12:55 PM, Jerry McIntire <jerry.mcintire [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Sad but true, the rural cohousing group that we were part of in SW
> > Wisconsin has decided to disband, sell our property, and wish it had
> turned
> > out differently. We never had more than five member households. Despite
> the
> > interest of a couple more prospective members, we grew tired of hoping
> for
> > seven more (we've been at this for six years) and were not able to
> finance
> > the development of lots on our own. Despite careful attention to the good
> > advice in Diana Leafe Christian's book, Creating a Life Together, the
> > market does not seem ready for cohousing here.
> >
> > Our twelve acres with an existing house will be for sale very soon, about
> > $215,000, though one member family is negotiating to buy two acres and
> > build their new home because the location is wonderful. That would leave
> > ten acres and a house, at a lower price.
> >
> > This has been the most disappointing experience I've had since the loss
> of
> > my first love at 15. Thank you to all of the helpful members of this list
> > who have answered so many questions and shared so many informed opinions
> > over the years. Onward and upward...
> >
> > Jerry McIntire
> > Former project manager
> > Stone's Throw Ecovillage
> > Viroqua, Wisconsin
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> >
> >
> >
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