When the Developer Leads the Way (Linda Herman, Jim Leach & Eric Cress)

Presented by Linda Herman, Jim Leach, Eric Cress

Session Description

As groups form to create a cohousing community, a big question to answer is - do you need a developer? And a separate but related question is - can you build a successful cohousing community if the project is developed by a developer, not the community? In this session, we will examine 3 different cohousing project scenarios in which developers were involved: A) Phoenix Commons in Oakland, CA in which the developer initiated and developed the project, B) Silver Sage in Boulder CO, in which the developer obtained the land and developed it with the community (a hybrid approach), and C) PDX Commons in Portland OR, in which the community hired a fee developer to develop the project with them. We will look at each project individually, exploring each projects' process and role of the developer and the community. This promises to be a lively and informative presentation and discussion.

About the Presenters

Linda is the principal and owner of Linda Herman Consulting, a development consulting firm that provides the expertise to plan and manage the development process for mission-driven organizations, non-profits, and cohousing communities. Unique in the industry, Linda blends a designer’s sensibility with a project manager’s pragmatism. Her responsibilities on projects include client relationships, goal setting and visioning, team selection, development of the master budget and schedule and management of the entire project process. LHC recently completed the 41 unit senior co-housing Phoenix Commons in Oakland and is working on an innovative model for senior cohousing coupled with residential care. Linda is a Certified Senior Cohousing Facilitator, LEED Accredited Professional, and Allied member of the American Institute of Architects.

Jim Leach is the president of Wonderland Hill Development Company and has lead the company in developing over 20 cohousing communities in Colorado, California, Arizona, and Washington. He is a builder with over 50 years experience in the design, construction and development of sustainable, planned neighborhoods. Jim and his wife Brownie live in Silver Sage Cohousing in Boulder, Colorado where they have been creatively participating in and learning about the senior cohousing living experience for the past ten years.

Eric Cress, Urban Development+Partners
An engineer and designer by training, Eric is drawn to innovative new ideas that make our communities better places to live. At UD+P, Eric concentrates on acquisition, development, finance, and property management. He oversees budgets and the acquisition-to-construction phase of new projects, and he initiates loans for our private real estate funds. Before UD+P, Eric was a project manager at Pacific Bay Investments in Berkeley, California. Prior to that, Eric managed engineering projects for Cypress Semiconductor, Maple Optical Systems, Leapfrog Toys, and the National Science Foundation. Eric holds eight patents and has published several papers related to this work. He earned an MBA with a focus in real estate finance from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, as well as BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University.

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