About Us

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Our Story

Hello world! My name is Loren Schirber and against all prudent advice (I have a baby at home and a business and coop board that keep me very busy) I bought a 3 acre piece of land in November of 2016, a mile north of Downtown St. Paul in the Rail Road Island neighborhood on the East Side of St. Paul. My vision is to develop the land into The East Yard Cooperative Tiny Home Village. I work in the housing industry and have been watching as new homes are being built larger and more out of reach of most first time home buyers or average home buyers. The race to build larger, more elaborate and costly homes leads to pollution and is wasteful. These massive homes are expensive to maintain and more than we need, so I decided to take a chance and try to do something about it. Below, you'll see my vision for the land, but I am open to feedback and would love to hear your ideas too. I plan to post and keep the world up to date on the progress. If you are interested in purchasing a share in the cooperative and living in The East Yard or in volunteering to help, please contact me.

Our Vision

The East Yard Cooperative Tiny Home Village will be located on St. Paul's East Side at Bush and Payne Ave. We hope TEY will provide a cool, safe, affordable, eco-friendly urban living option to people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. It will be located in an urban area on a piece of land bordered by train tracks and industrial buildings (and a few homes) giving The East Yard a gritty industrial feel. It will contain 47 permanent, on the grid tiny homes that range from efficiencies at 280sf+ Loft to family units at 530sf + Loft.

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Cooperative Ownership

We hope to offer high quality sustainable ownership opportunities with share prices ranging from $130k - $162k*
* Homes are still being designed. Projected costs will be available late fall 2017.

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Intentionally Different

The East Yard will be an intentional community which will contain a cooperatively owned community center and shared resources such as community gardens, chicken coops and bee hives. Some of the key features of housing cooperatives are:
1) Owned by Members - The residents of a housing co-op are members of the co-op corporation which owns the whole property.
2) All members have an equal say in how major decisions are made – “one member, one vote.”
3) The key difference between co-ops and other kinds of non-profit housing is that co-op members are actively involved in running their housing community.
4) Each co-op member must volunteer time to serve on the Board or on a committee, or volunteer for some other co-op task. Members do not need special skills to get involved.
5) This involvement creates a sense of community and a safe place for children and adults.
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Community

At the heart of the village is the community center. This will be a space where people can gather for co-op meetings, classes or to host an event. There will be a large open floor plan centered on the kitchen. Laundry facilities will also be available. The second floor will have 2 bedrooms available for rent for guests. The developers hope to acquire and move the historic Francis M. Williams House from 656 Bush Ave. An extensive remodel will be undertaken to add a front porch and remodel the interior. Here is a rendering of what the two historic homes could look like on the new site.

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I would love to hear your thoughts and connect if you are thinking about downsizing and living tiny or would be willing to volunteer to help make this project a success.

Meet the Team

Here is the team that will help The East Yard become a reality over the coming years.

Loren Schirber

Founder & CEO

Loren Schirber grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and is one of the owners of Castle Building & Remodeling (www.castlebri.com) and The Natural Built Home Store (www.naturalbuilthome.com). Loren is passionate about sustainable remodeling and design and is an avid walker and biker. In his free time, he volunteers for the Northeast Investment Cooperative (www.NEIC.coop) board where he has learned about commercial real estate development using a cooperative ownership model. Loren is married to Jill Wilhelmi and lives in NE Minneapolis. In 2016 Loren and Jill adopted a baby boy, Theodore and started their family.
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Field Outdoor Spaces

Design Team

Jason Rathe, owner of Field Outdoor Spaces, earned his Master’s Degree in Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Minnesota and as Field owner, has found the perfect forum for expressing his interests in art, the environment and coaching and managing people. He loves this unique profession where dramatic transformations occur in a matter of days and loves to see the profound effect Field’s projects have on their clients’ lives. Jason works on each landscape design that Field completes as well as leading and orchestrating installations and insuring that each project in completed to the highest standards. He’s originally from Iowa. Employees Powering Field - Field is entirely powered by our employees’ creativity, enthusiasm and hard work. They pay their employees a living wage and provide an environment that supports and builds their employees skills and leadership. This means that you will have crews on your property who are conscientious, take ownership and pride in their projects and truly enjoy the process of transforming landscapes.

Joe Slavec

Owner

Joe Slavec is a carpenter by trade and Co-owner of Minneapolis Garage Builders (www.mplsgarage.com). Joe is the son of immigrant parents and was raised in Golden Valley, MN. Joe graduated from the of U of M, and attendee of St Thomas Master’s Program. Joe served 8 years in the US ARMY in Minnesota's famed Red Bull Division as a Tank Commander working with mechanized infantry. Joe is also an owner and producer of the movie "Memorial Day" - a tribute to veterans and their struggles and a Wright County Master Gardener. Joe is an avid outdoorsman and life member of Trout Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. Joe enjoys exploring nature with his twin daughters from Montana to the BWCA to the streams of SE MN. Joe brings practical building experience and will use his trade skills to focus and implement a utility efficient co-op system and integrate eco-friendly materials into the project.

Next Steps...

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about purchasing a tiny home in The East Yard Cooperative Tiny Home Village.