On 10 May 2010, we agreed to liquidate the assets of EcoReality and to wind up operations of the co-op.
Through nearly five years of trying, we have not been able to attract the investors needed to pull this off. But perhaps a miracle can still occur:
- We are in a position to have an equal partner who wants either to share this land with the current investors (Carol and Jan), or who wants to help us proceed with plans to involve others.
- We have made a proposal to Islands Trust, the local land-use planning body, for additional farmer dwellings and agricultural businesses, but this cannot possibly happen in the time we have, so this strategy needs to be combined with additional investment. We conservatively estimate a 25% return on investment if the rezoning goes through, but that is by no means a done deal.
- We would love to hear from smaller investors who can't swing the entire remaining mortgage. We already have two parties who are willing to put money in, if it will put us over the top.
While there is reason to think we can pull this off by changing tactics from a co-op to a strata corp, We found that the stress of coming up with a balloon payment was having an increasing impact on our physical, emotional, and mental health.
At this moment, the sun is shining and there's just enough thin, whispy clouds to make the sky interesting. The goats are basking, quietly chewing their cud while lying in the bright sun. A gentle breeze is swaying Carol's carefully tended flowers outside my window. We just laid out and debugged the garden irrigation system, and plants are popping out of the mulch here and there. And my desk is wet with tears.
It's so tempting to give in to "blamestorming" at this point. There are so many things each and every one of us could have done, done better, or not done. But that's a topic for a calmer time, in retrospect.
It is easy to look outside for reasons this has failed. We came into this land at the top of the real estate market bubble. Then a key investor backed out, due to family illness. Then the US real estate market crashed, followed by global financial collapse. Many people who were interested in becoming member-investors found themselves illiquid, and unable to proceed. What we had hoped to avoid ended up consuming us.
But it's not my style to sit back and point fingers. We suffered a crisis in leadership -- not too little, but too much! Everyone wanted to grab the wheel and steer. And I let them. And I let them down by letting that happen. I'm not sure what I could have done differently, but it's clear that what I did was not right, or not enough. And I apologize to everyone who believed in me.
--Jan Steinman 00:24, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
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