I have just completed a 15 hour Course offered by the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Dept (CPED). This is part of their B-TAP (Business Technical Assistance Program). The first thing the Instructor told us is that success in the real estate business is based on creating a network of contacts, people you can call on to do what you yourself might not be able to do whether legal work, planning, designing, financing, advertising, or construction. Hey, this is true of cohousing as well, We're going to succeed with a little help from our friends!
The course is aimed at getting more small developers involved in building the "missing middle" of the housing market. There are a lot of single family home builders, and a lot of mega developers who build the big luxury condo or apartment buildings, but the medium density is missing.
I really enjoyed learning more about the "game" of development played with the Minneapolis rules. I hope it will help us get cohousing built.
The class included 30 people, and we were pretty diverse, in age, sex, race, and what type of business the person was pursuing. The instructors expected that a lot of those in the class would buy existing 4-plexes, 8-plexes and manage them or build new ones. We looked at site selection, acquisition, due diligence and entitlements (entitlements means city permission). We were assigned to find out as much as we could about a specific property with all the websites of the local governments for taxes, special assessments, zoning, and local area plans. Then we had to figure out if we could build an apartment building there, how big, how many units and still follow code. Then we learned about financial feasibility by creating a pro forma - a financial spreadsheet document that helps you find out if you can build the project, rent the space and not lose money.
So now Becca's head is spinning, So glad that Bassett Creek Cohousing is working with Katie McCamant and John Kalmon, our coaches for the game ahead. Look here If you want to take the course.