It Just Might Work: Investment co-ops

5
39

by Anthony HarrisonAnthony Harrison

Strength lays in numbers. If there’s an idea for change fermenting in the mind of one person, it will often take the support of others in order to make it a reality, whether that support comes socially or financially.

And oftentimes, lack of funds spells the end of a dream.

“It’s expensive to be poor; if you don’t have capital, not much is possible,” Caroline Woolard, a Brooklyn-based artist, told Crain’s New York Business.

Faced with the closure of her art studio, Woolard and her attorney friend Paula Segal started the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative. Soon, about 200 other New Yorkers from all walks of life banded together in Woolard and Segal’s venture.

Some hurdles stand in the co-op’s way, including the price and scarcity of land in New York City.

However, it’s a bright idea, and one that could possibly work in the Triad.

While land and property down here isn’t necessarily dirt-cheap, it’s surely more manageable to purchase than lots in New York. If, as in Woolard and Segal’s case, some 200 Triad citizens joined forces and raised some initial support and capital, surely they could easily buy some of the vacant commercial properties around any of the three cities of the Triad.

Woolard and Segal based their co-op on the example of Northeast Investment Cooperative from Minneapolis, Minn. Each member of that co-op — similarly numbered at approximately 200 — purchased a $1,000 share and have helped open a brewery, bakery and a bike shop.

That kind of capital brought together down here could do wonders. And that’s maybe shooting a little high for the area.

But the dividends could be tremendous.

This kind of innovative idea helps everyone involved. On a somewhat modest investment, members of such a co-op could make a solid return. The co-op would also help prop up small businesses in the area. And, with more small businesses, areas of town become more attractive. Communities could prosper of their own accord and from the fruits of their own labor, not at the whims of the already powerful and and the ultra-rich.

Also, the growth could be organic, using pre-existing infrastructure and buildings instead of needlessly razing and replacing viable space.

If it can work in the big cities, where commercial property values escalate into the stratosphere, investment co-ops could probably work down here, too.

  • Todd

    Great article, i could absolutely scrape up enough $$$ to be one of the 200 participating members should someone here start up a Triad REIC.

  • grammar lady

    Strength Lies in numbers.

    • Funnily enough, I wanted the sentence to read, “Strength resides in numbers.” Funny how the editorial process works, innit?

      • Brian Clarey

        Nobody says that.

  • Troll

    Shouldn’t it be strength “lies.”