WINDOM PARK — The newly-formed Northeast Investment Coop (NEIC) signed its first purchase agreement on Dec. 13, tentatively agreeing to buy the vacant former furniture store at 2504/2506 Central Ave NE.
The NEIC already has an agreement in place to sell half of the space to Recovery Bike Shop, which currently rents out space at the Eastside Food Cooperative across the street. After performing major renovations, the NEIC hopes to rent out its 6,500-square-foot remainder of the prime Central Avenue real estate to a sustainable, independent, locally-owned business at $12-14 per square foot.
At a Dec. 16 open house a spokesperson for the NEIC said they had 83 fully-paid members and another 27 pledged to invest $1,000 in the cooperative. Soon the NEIC will offer non-voting shares of $500 at a 2 percent dividend and $5,000 at a 4 percent dividend to help reach its goal of raising $300,000 by the March 13 deadline to close on the property.
The NEIC incorporated in November 2011and voted on its bylaws and nine-person board in late March. The concept of a for-profit cooperative has appealed to many Northeast residents who wish to improve lackluster storefronts in their neighborhood and invest their money in local projects the community can benefit from.
“My retirement and my mutual funds, they're not locally spent,” said Amy Fields, president of the NEIC. “What can I do with my money and still make a decent return, but have it be good for me, and my community, and my neighbors? I think that's something that really resonates with people.”
The NEIC will be hosting an information session for prospective members on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Eastside Food Co-op. Also, board members will be available for informal chats Mondays starting at 10 a.m. at Diamonds Coffee Shoppe and Thursdays at 7 p.m. at The Coffee Shop NE.