We’re all on lockdown so a lot of these aren’t taking place anyway, but i saw that the Astralship had posted in the other forum, and i had to reply.
When it comes to The Astralship, i would use a long spoon.
Don’t get me wrong, the building is lovely, though it is still work-in-progress, but it’s been work-in-progress for the last 9 years.
I went along to see the place around 5 years ago, and to hear their sales pitch.
While Liam Kurmos may be a nice guy, he’s a shark when it comes to doing business.
He has absolutely NO interest in creating Co-operatives, or in running his business as a co-op.
The business structure when i first heard about it, was that he personally owns the building, and the only asset that the business has is the option for a five-year lease on half of the building, but the company structure that Liam was originally using is the he owns 70% of the shares of the company. The other 30% of the shares are for the other partners.
When i thought about the potential problems, i realised that if he got a good offer from a property developer, as he owned the company, in his role as Building Owner, he could jack the rents up, and then in his role as majority shareholder of the company, he could unilaterally decide that it was not in the company’s best interest to continue with the lease.
This would leave him free to personally profit from the sale of the building without him having to share any of the profits with any of the minority shareholders.
It also turns out that this is also a business structure used by pyramid schemes…
When i directly asked him about this, and said “What about running it as a co-operative?”, he was “polite, but non-commital”.
Later when i explicitly asked him about this again, explaining that i just wanted to make sure that no single bad actor could rip off everyone else, he explicitly refused, and said that he didn’t want to form a co-operative.
Don’t get me wrong.
The location is great, and while the building needs a lot of work, he’s under-capitalised, so he can’t afford to fund the renovations by himself.
His practical skills are limited, so it took him 4 years to get an indoor toilet installed, and as of two years ago, he still didn’t have any hot water to the kitchen, even though one of my colleagues had explained the quick, simple, and, cheap, method to install a water-heater unit in the kitchen 5 years ago.
He also used some of the photo’s that he took that weekend, and were advertising us on his website as “The Astralahip Team”…
Use a long spoon, and get everything in writing.