Since August 2018, at the suggestion of Kathryn McCamant, our cohousing consultant, Haystack Heights has begun a partnership with Urban Development and Partners (UD+P) based in Portland, Oregon to oversee and complete our project. They are extremely successful commercial and residential developers with a holistic and hands-on approach that benefits communities, tenants, neighbors and the environment—values shared with the aspirations of cohousing projects.
Unique among many developers, they construct high-quality urban infill based on a long-term vision that supports the character and vitality of their city, its people and its businesses. Their commercial properties are innovative and breathtaking, as are their residential projects. Haystack Heights will be their second cohousing project after PDX Commons, their recently completed senior cohousing in
They are also partnering with the intergenerational Adams Creek Cohousing group starting up in the Columbia Gorge. In fact UD+P seems to be so enthusiastic about the idea of cohousing that they are one of the sponsors of the 2019 National Cohousing Conference to be held in Portland this spring. About twenty Haystack Heights’ cohousers will be attending the conference with a number of them staying in cohousing communities.
We feel remarkably fortunate in this partnership. When UD+P takes on a project, they put their arms around the whole venture from design and financing to construction. Although much of Haystack Heights had been designed by our group before the partnership began, some aspects are presently in the midst of being redesigned and UD+P is working in tandem with Charles Durrett, our architect. Because of UD +P we can also be confident of our financing—this is one of the responsibilities they take on when they agree to work with a project. They will also be closely supervising construction, involved in every detail and insuring that completion be as scheduled.
UD +P’s staff—especially Leslie Louis, Development Manager, and Joren Bass, Senior Development Manager—have come to Spokane over the last seven months to work meeting directly with our community, the general contractor, our landscape architect, city planners and civil engineers. They also meet weekly, and sometimes speak daily, with our cohousing Construction Interface Team (CIT) comprised of Jim Dawson (a founder of Haystack Heights), Doug Robnett (an ex-school administrator and self-taught builder), Molly Phillips (a retired architect) and Abby Roose (the Detail Diva that we are guessing will be a future architect).—with UD +P. Doug Robnett has this to say about working with UD+P:
My professional life had an over-abundance of meetings, so I’m not a big fan. But I actually look forward to the meetings with UD+P. Their team is not just superbly competent, bringing with them the full wrap of necessary skills to pull off large developments such as ours, it’s obvious that they enjoy working together as much as they enjoy the work itself. They make what might otherwise be a rocky ride into a smooth and exciting one with a vision and purpose.
CIT member Molly Phillips, former commercial architect, has this to say about our partnership:
We were very fortunate to be introduced to UD+P as our developers. We have a beautiful, though challenging site, an uncommon ownership structure (like all cohousings) and a very competitive construction market. Joren Bass and Leslie Louis have been very responsive to our concerns and have helped us reconceptualize our design, pricing and schedule. It would have been much more difficult to move forward without their expertise and willingness to take on an unusual and complex project.
Stay tuned for updates on the partnership with UD+P and Haystack Height’s CIT team: we will report monthly on their overall progress as they transform our vision into the reality of a cohousing community.